Friday, October 27, 2023

More Yosemite!

We love Yosemite and will take any chance to go, even though it's usually not on the way to anywhere.  We have to purposefully decide to be there, and once there, appreciate the opportunity.

Previously we booked campsites in the valley.  This is of course convenient to all the valley trails and resources.  However, without electric hookups (plus needing to go east over Tioga Pass on the way out), that would be an interesting challenge for towing Howie with the Rivian.  We opted to camp at Hodgdon Meadows and explore from there.

And Robyn was back in our lives for the trail work fun (and more!), yay!  It's always a summer highlight to play in the mountains with her.

John and Robyn had a sightseeing day available before their trail work week started.  None of us had been to Hetch Hetchy yet and we were all excited to do a little hike around the shoreline.  The dam, although perhaps not the best of ideas in the first place, is quite impressive:

Hello raven!

The giant drop down the other side of the dam and water gushing out of a hole:

A tunnel, how fun!

It was such a lovely day and I am again reminded that we were so lucky for good air quality in California this summer (not to be taken for granted!):

Beautiful views and granite rocks in all directions:

And waterfalls!  There was still a ton of water falling out of the mountains - hmm, maybe from snow melt?  Robyn taking a picture of a flower in front of the falls:

For the next few days I had Howie and Tug-E to myself (although Robyn and John and trail work friends occasionally popped up to surprise me and say Hi!).

I drove over to Yosemite Valley a couple times to run on trails, connect to cell service, and shop at the little market.  Yosemite Falls was quite magnificent, so glad to get to see it:

Just moseying along a trail near the main road, looking ahead at what appears to be a dog.  Maybe a couple dogs.  Oh wait!  That's a bear -- and 2 cubs -- full stop:

They were moving slowly away from me, so I felt OK taking the time to try to get a better picture.  This one is highly zoomed and cropped, and not great quality, but wow that's an adorable cub that kept standing on its hind legs to look around:

Finally I went through the brush to the road to make a wide bear berth.  We've had the best kind of bear encounters this summer - from far away and non-scary.

A look at Bridalview Falls as I continued my run around the valley:

The ever-iconic El Capitan, always grand and stunning:

Whenever I have a chance, I poke around on the FKT site to see if there are any routes available for wherever we're going.  Yosemite has a bunch of interesting ones, some too technically difficult for me and some with times I'm never going to beat.

I was pleasantly surprised to find one called "rim to rim to rim", or in the case of the variant more likely to be popular, "river to river to river".  I.e. start in the valley, climb to one side, come down and repeat on the other side.  Great idea!  And without a woman's time (at the time).  Two ladies have done it since, and I can see this one growing competitive because it's an excellent concept.

Tug-E (our Rivian) gets to participate in another FKT, yay!  I used it as a resupply spot in between the two climbs:

Ready to cross the Merced River and head to the north side:

Rocks on the Yosemite Falls trail, easy for climbing but they made the descent rather slow (for me).  Also an easy choice for which side to do first while I was fresh.

Enjoying the view and the thunderous noise and the flying water droplets of the Upper Falls:

It's a calm stream above the falls, and I sometimes wonder if the water molecules have any clue what's about to happen to them:

Self explanatory:

I saw a group of tents on the flat granite near the overlook, and hmm, that would be an amazing place to stay overnight!

Lovely view from the north side:

Back down, resupply complete, now starting up toward the south rim.  With another wonderful look at Lower and Upper Falls:

The 4-Mile trail is much easier, with a wide, clear path and a good grade for speed-walking uphill.  And stairs even:

It was a short (not required) detour to Glacier Point, and since I wasn't pressed for time I made a point (literally?) to take it.  So stunning.  Such a view on a clear day!

The run down was super fun, and I'm thrilled to have gotten a Yosemite FKT (didn't know that would ever happen).

A few other pictures on the FKT website:

One of several Rivian-provided level 2 (and free to all EV's) chargers in the valley, much appreciated!

On another day, I went on a run around the Tuolumne Meadows area.  There are a gazillion trails in this park and it was lovely to have time to see a couple more.  Starting the morning near Tenaya Lake:

Heading up Murphy Creek and gawking at the miles and miles of open granite:

For a little while the only thing that mattered was the mosquitos, what the heck?  I guess a wet winter created a mosquito-friendly summer filled with little swamps and pools of water.  Good reminder to start carrying my head net.

I continued on to join the PCT for a ways, finding another awesome waterfall near Glen Aulin camp:

I was lucky with the lighting on this one!

The Tuolumne River just keeps falling and falling, one cascade after another along the PCT:

I crossed the Meadows and then followed a little-used trail parallel to Tioga Road.  Plus a tad bit of bushwhacking to return to the truck.  Not all trails are in the same great shape, which shouldn't be surprising based on the amount of snow this year and the number of trails in the park to maintain.

One last valley trek, up the Mist trail.  This one has way higher usage, of course.  And it's way wetter - time to briefly risk the camera for a couple photos:


Meanwhile, Robyn and John were being useful.  Clearing trails and invasive species was the goal for the work week.  John enjoys a few days of sawing now and then, thank you!

They also got some instructive nature talks and history discussions about the park, that's cool too!

With any luck, we'll be back to Yosemite sometime in the future to explore some more!

Monday, October 23, 2023

Post O-fest + Yosemite part 1

After all the orienteering excitement, we hung around the Truckee area for a few more days to recover and help collect a few checkpoints from the rogaine course.  We didn't carry a phone or camera during the rogaine, so it was nice to have the chance to take some pictures at a leisurely pace.

John waded across the shallow river near our campground and climbed up the west side of the plateau to grab some of the further-out points we hadn't made it to:

Nice view of the Sierras (also note - still snow in the mountains at the beginning of August):

Glad we didn't come across this field of rocks in the dark:

Another bunch of interesting rock shapes:

Hey, it's the Western States Trail - although not part of the 100-mile race:

Looking down at Olympic Valley where the Western States race starts - maybe someday we'll get there...

Back on the road again!  We took a wandering route through the foothills and stopped at an RV park to charge up the truck overnight.  It happened to be right next to "Frogtown" where the jumping frog contest of Calaveras County is staged.  Funny the things we find when we pause at random places around the country:

The park is all-in on the Mark Twain story, complete with a statue of the man (we happened upon Mark Twain references here and there all summer, in Nevada and California):

Onward to Yosemite!  John got on a trail work crew there for the first time, a nice opportunity since we didn't have enough time in Montana this year for his normal trail work options.  We stayed at Hodgdon Campground and did some runs and hikes on the trails nearby.  It was a new area for us and a good chance to see things outside Yosemite Valley.

Carlon Falls, very pretty:

You know John could NOT resist this:

Admiring the giant sequoia trees:

Shortcut back to the campground:

I stayed on the trail and did my own staring up into the sequoias:

The next day I took the trail up to Tuolumne Grove and admired the trees some more:

Thank you beautiful trees!

The iconic Tunnel Tree, and thank goodness we don't do this anymore:

Hey!  Look who just showed up!

Time for more adventures with Robyn, yay!