Sunday 4 December 2016
Waking up in Yosemite. I opened the curtains and had a look outside. Looks like it’s going to be another beautiful day. And yes, there’s still plenty of snow out there.
When we step out of our room this is what we can see
When we look over to the next block of hotel rooms we can see this, such a beautiful setting
We had breakfast in the food hall and I managed to get a flat white from the Peet’s Coffee outlet it in there. The Peet’s Coffee I went to a few days ago didn’t do flat white but this one does, so that’s great for me 🙂
With breakfast done we went to the bus stop to catch the free shuttle that services the Yosemite Village area. The bus stop is near the hotel reception and also near our room. We were able to get on a bus that was just about to leave, so no waiting. We want to do the small walking trail to Mirror Lake and afterwards another short trail to Lower Yosemite Falls.
The Yosemite Valley Lodge shuttle stop near the reception is stop number 8 and we were headed to stop number 17, the head of the Mirror Lake trail.
Going past the Yosemite Village store
Once we got to the head of the trail we left the bus and just started walking. Our plan was to walk to the lake and back which is about 3.2km round trip. You can also do the loop but that is about 8km round trip.
We crossed Tenaya Creek
There was a couple of deer just off the trail, they didn’t really take any notice of us at all
Here you can see at the bottom of the photo that the path was a little icy
The trail was mostly east to walk though the last stretch was a little steep and my so not fit body was huffing and puffing a bit at the top of the incline. It took us about 20 minutes of gentle walking to get to the lake.
Mirror Lake – full of water and ice and snow. Apparently by the end of summer it will be dry.
We stopped here for 10 minutes or so and then turned around and walked back the way we came.
Walking down the icy path was slippery and after floundering trying to keep my balance I managed to fall flat on my back. K just stood there and laughed. And laughed. And I just stayed flat on my back. I tried to get up but there was no point as I knew that if I tried I would just slip over again. K had to come step on my shoes so they wouldn’t slip. We laughed for a few more minutes and then kept walking. Very carefully.
Back at shuttle stop number 17 we waited about 15 minutes for the next bus and rode it back to the hotel as we needed to check out by 11:00am.
We were able to store our bags at reception then we had a look around the hotel buildings near there and had a look at the gift shop for a while.
After that we walked to the Lower Yosemite Falls for a closer look. We didn’t walk the whole trail, just to the falls.
Close up of the falls – can you see the rainbow in the water?
We turned back and walked to shuttle stop number 6
Crossing over Yosemite Creek
We jumped on another shuttle bus for just one stop to stop number 7 which is in the grounds of the Yosemite Valley Lodge but a few hundred metres from the dining hall and reception buildings. From here we walked further away from those buildings along the path to Swinging Bridge which crosses the Merced River.
The view from Swinging Bridge is stunning. Yosemite Falls in the background and from here you can still see the rainbow in the water. You can also see the rainbow in the reflection in Merced River.
The view in the other direction from Swinging Bridge
We then headed back to the lodge and the dining hall in particular for some lunch. We had plenty of time so we lingered a little, then collected our bags from reception and made our way back to the meeting point to be picked up by the tour bus for the return trip to San Francisco.
Some last photos from the area
Our tour bus arrived and the driver got out, lit up and then rested it on the wheel of the bus. Classy. Today’s driver was a different guy than yesterday.
There was K and I plus another family from yesterday’s tour group and all the rest of the people were on today’s one day tour. We had to wait for them all to get on the bus to find out where the spare seats were. This time we were seated towards the back of the bus which didn’t give much opportunity for photos.
Not long after 2:30pm we left the Yosemite Valley Lodge for San Francisco. We took a different route leaving Yosemite, along Northside Drive, El Portal Road and then on to Big Oak Flat Road. There were quite a few good views on this route but it was very difficult to take photos.
After a while there wasn’t any snow on the side of the road anymore or any off in the distance either.
Woods Creek along Golden Chain Highway
Somewhere a little while later we stopped for a dinner break. K and I opted for Wendy’s as neither of us had had it before. After the break it was just driving back to San Francisco with many people on the bus having a snooze. Instead of going straight back to the city, once we were on the Bay Bridge we got off at Yerba Buena Island and drove to Treasure Island for a gorgeous night view of San Fran.
Once back in the bus it was drop off time. We were the last to be picked up yesterday morning and we were the last to be dropped off tonight. It was a bit of a wild ride through the streets of San Francisco and I was really glad to be off the bus for the last time. We walked the short distance back to my hotel. K called an Uber and left soon after to go home as she had to go to work the next morning.
We had such a fantastic weekend in Yosemite which is such a beautiful area. The snow everywhere made it looks so pretty and magical. I can’t help but want to go back there at a different time of year and then I think it won’t be as pretty without the snow. In winter some of the places in the park are closed so if I am ever lucky enough to come back I want to be able to see those areas too.