Yosemite National Park

Generally in a day you could cover the valley floor and one or two of the shorter mountain/waterfall hikes, however, ideally a two day stay on site would be best to cover a fair portion of the popular areas as well as chances for sunrise and sunset photos and revisiting areas at different times of the day. In saying that, if you’re on a tight schedule, a “summary” tour of the park is doable in about half a day.

Yosemite National Park - one of the many lookout spots on the way in

Firstly, the place is vast, not just in a physical sense but in a commercial way to accommodate the masses of tourists, for the most part its all 2 lane, one way bitumen roads with plenty of spots to pull over. On the way up and over the mountain range its single 2 way roads but still plenty of lookout spots. Travelling in late May, early June will still see plenty of thick snow at the top of the mountain areas. Temperatures were high single figures (Celsius) in these areas but were quite warm on the valley floor, around low 20s. So while you’re active you can easily get away with shorts and t-shirt for most of the day, though temps drop off fast once the sun slips behind the mountains.

On the valley floor, you can actually drive to most of the major sights. This is definitely the quickest way, but of course everyone has the same idea and you will get caught up with those inconsiderate types holding up traffic, triple parked trying to get photos from their car. Even if you choose not to park somewhere, unfortunately there’s no escaping them because of the one way ring road layout of the park. There is a shuttle that loops this ring road but for a relaxing experience and access to extra areas minus some of the strenuous hiking or traffic headaches you can’t go past hiring a bicycle.

The bicycles are hired from the Yosemite village, which is the central point for visitors. Take your pick of mountain bike, cruiser, tandems or even ones with trailers for around $10 hour or $28 for the day. Helmets are included for the safety conscious. Yosemite Lodge is also the major hub for tourist information, eateries and a grocery/souvenir store. The store prices are all reasonable and service was friendly and quick. There’s even free ice water (:

Yosemite National Park - Mirror Lake

For the most part, the ride is quite easy with very little variation in inclines so no prior triathlon experience is required. The steepest part you’ll encounter will be the path up to Mirror Lake but its only a short run before bicycle access is restricted. There are racks at this point but no locks or chains are provided, just make sure you remember which bike is yours! We marked ours with a napkin and rubber band around one of the hand grips (:

The rest of the walk up to Mirror Lake is quite steep. This is where you thank yourself from packing that extra bottle of water 😉 From Mirror Lake you get the classic view of Half Dome and some nice white water river action so make sure you have the camera and tripod ready.

Yosemite National Park

The bike path crosses over the river a few times so plenty of scenic moments can be had. If you have the extra time, head on over to Yosemite Falls, if not you can still see it from the path.

Yosemite Falls

Travel tip: If you’re travelling in the off season, road closures are always imminent around the park and access will be limited so check the forecasts and updates on the Yosemite park site.

Yosemite National Park

After a quick frolick in the snow at a rest area along side a biker gang, we were heading down the mountain and out to the bay area. Next stop… Milpitas!

Yosemite National Park

Milpitas 2011 – Great Mall
Yosemite 2011 part #1 – LA to Oakhurst via Bakersfield
Yosemite 2011 part #2 – Yosemite National Park
San Francisco 2011 part #1 – Arrival
San Francisco 2011 part #2 – Shopping – Haight, Downtown SF
San Francisco 2011 part #3 – Chinatown
San Francisco 2011 part #4 – Japantown
San Francisco 2011 part #5 – Alcatraz
San Francisco 2011 part #6 – Fisherman’s wharf, Golden Gate Bridge

Complete Yosemite 2011 photo gallery here
Complete San Francisco 2011 photo gallery here

Well our plans of a bbq dinner up at the KP cliffs came to an abrupt halt when we heard the thunder and saw the severe weather warning on bom.gov.au. But after seeing the blazing red sunset, we thought we’d chance it and make a run to try and capture some of mother nature’s fury.

After nearly an hour of getting saturated, camera n all, and blown around, it was time to get out of there. Luckily I managed 1 half decent shot out of the 50 something shots I took!

larger size here