Horseshoe Bend and Yosemite

After the pricy stay in Carmel-by-the-Sea, I sought out a cheaper campground. I found one on Lake McClure that was run by the Merced Irrigation District.

It was a lovely campground. They had just about every sort of camping accommodation you could think of, from very undeveloped to paved sites with electricity, water and little shelters with picnic tables.

I ended up at a site that was in an older part of the campground. I still had electricity and water, but my shelter and table were quite a bit older. But, there were beautiful trees and maintenance workers were busily cleaning up the park.

They were very accommodating. In fact, the ranger even brought me a burn barrel so I could have a campfire.

I did my part by helping to take care of some of the branches they were cleaning up. Team effort!

One of my reasons for camping here – in addition to a cheaper campsite – was to visit Yosemite National Park. When the ranger brought me the burn barrel, I asked him for directions to the park. His directions took me hippety-hopping all over the back country. It was pretty, but I am sure glad I didn’t need any assistance along the way. I didn’t see anyone after I left the main road.

I got to the road leading into the park. I picked up information at the tourism office and filled up my gas tank and headed up the road toward the park.

It is interesting how these different entities exist in close proximity. They all have different uses and different purposes.

Aren’t these rocks incredible? I wish I knew what they were. I need a geologist to travel with me!

The road wound its way up the valley, following the Merced River. Some stretches were rather smooth.

Other sections had robust rapids.

At the entrance to the park, you pass a natural gateway. I continued along until I came to an amazing sight – a place to park!

Oh, okay, the parking spot was nice, but the view of El Capitan is what really caught my attention. I stopped and looked and read the plaques. One said that I might see a climber if I looked closely enough. One of these days, I am going to get binoculars!

I’m not sure, but this might be a climber. I zoomed in on the photos and I decided that this might be a climber. On the other hand…I don’t think so.

On the opposite side of the valley was Bridalveil Fall. According to my ultimate source (Wikipedia), the waterfall is 617 feet tall and flows year round from Ostrander Lake.

I had to go explore.

The water was just gushing!

I walked up to the base of the falls. They were very concerned with our safety.

Yes, it looked like there was a strong current.

There was another sign, right at the end of the path. Oh, you can’t read the sign?

I’m happy to oblige!

The mist coming off the falls was intense. I was drenched! It was hard to find a place to have a photo taken in front of the falls.

I offer to you this photo of my wet glasses as evidence of the dampness.

Also according to Wikipedia, the Ahwahneechee tribe believed that inhaling the mist of the falls would improve one’s chance of marriage. If that is true, I guess I should start planning!

I returned to Bart and had a little picnic while enjoying the sights.

I headed off to see what else I could see. There might have been many other things to enjoy on my quick trip to Yosemite, but unfortunately I couldn’t find anywhere else to park. The traffic was incredible and they were working on roads all over. There were signs warning us to follow the detours and not to rely on GPS.

After battling traffic and confusing traffic patterns I decided to proclaim a touristic victory and head home. After all, I still had to drive back to camp, and the route was going to require my complete attention.

I decided that it was not a good idea to try to retrace my route for my return trip. For one thing, I wasn’t sure how I had gotten there. I took California Highway 49 on the way back.

Oh, that was quite a trip! The road was steep and full of hairpin turns. I mean, some of the turns were so tight that they recommended driving 10 mph. I was grateful that there was this turnout for me to catch my breath.

Hey! Would you look at this! The marker was put up by E Clampus Vitus. I wrote about them in my post about going to the dentist.

Just to refresh your memories, according to Wikipedia, the members of this group are called “Clampers”.  The Ancient and Honorable Order of E Clampus Vitus (ECV) is a fraternal organization dedicated to the study and preservation of the heritage of the American West, especially the history of the Mother Lode and gold mining regions of the area. The fraternity is not sure if it is a “historical drinking society” or a “drinking historical society.”

After this road, I could have used a historical drink, myself.

As I mentioned earlier, I need to travel with a geologist. I saw these rocks across the road that had fractured off the road cut. They were quite lightweight, but then, again, the pieces were small.

As I was getting read for the descent to the lake below, this hawk swooped in front of me. In fact, he obliged me by doing it a few times so I could get a decent photo.

Just a few more miles and a bunch of hairpin turns and I was back at camp.