Travel

USA Sept 2010 – Mountains, Lakes and lots of trees… Must be Yosemite!

Yosemite 1

A 7am alarm call and the sleepy Fletches drag themselves over to the Alabama Hills Bakery & Café for breakfast. Seems like our sleep patterns are finally adjusting to US time… The breakfast options are very “egg-heavy” as usual, so I’m excited to spy a “No-Egg” Breakfast on the menu.  Unfortunately, I can add now Biscuits & Gravy to the list of US breakfast options I don’t like; I miss my good old English Fry-Up! (In fact, if someone could enlighten me to exactly what this Gravy is, I’d appreciate it… Or maybe I’m better off not knowing).  However, the hash brown & the bacon were lovely, and Mr Fletche enjoyed his Ham & Egg sandwich immensely.

It’s time to leave lovely Lone Pine behind, with the mountains dominating this little town. A bit more time and we could have wandered the Alabama Hills, visited the Film Museum, climbed Mount Whitney… but instead we head the Fletchemobile north towards Yosemite.

We take a quick stop in Bishop, although we can’t be tempted by Erik Schat’s Bakery so soon after breakfast. The Mammoth Scenic Loop was closed, so after a quick detour through Mammoth Lakes Town itself, we turned off the 395 to take in the lovely June Lake Loop.

Bishop, California
On the road…Bishop
Lone Pine to Yosemite
Driving from Lone Pine to Yosemite
June Lake, California
June Lake Loop

Mr Fletche is determined we can’t visit this part of the country without seeing Mono Lake, and thus standing in the footsteps of the great Sir David Attenborough. The car park is currently under construction, so we parked the Fletchemobile as directed and walked to the Lake via the Visitor Centre.

This is a fascinating place, and the tufa formations are amazing; it would have been nice to spend a little more time and walk closer to the lake, but Yosemite – and Whoa Nellie Deli – are calling…

Mono Lake, California
Mono Lake

Mr Fletche cannot understand why I am so keen on purchasing lunch from the equivalent of a motorway service station back home. But once we park up and see the views over Mono Lake, it is clear why this gas station is nothing like a Welcome Break on the M42…

We pick up supplies, including two Whoa Nellie Deli freshly made sandwiches, and head back to the Fletchemobile. We decide to savour our huge sandwiches once we get to our destination, and head off onto the Tioga Road.

I guess as far as Trip Reports go, it is impossible to describe the journey into Yosemite on the Tioga Road. Every twist, every turn, every incline reveals yet another breathtaking view; we pass lakes, meadows, mountains, more trees than I could count in a lifetime… This is simply the most stunning drive I have ever had the good fortune to witness. Every corner provides another photo opportunity.

Tioga Road, Yosemite National Park, California
Stopping for a quick photo opportunity…
Tioga Road, Yosemite
Tioga Road, Yosemite
Tioga Road, Yosemite National Park, California
Tioga Road, Yosemite

We stop at Tenaya Lake to stretch our legs – it would be so easy to spend hours here at this serene, peaceful lake, dipping our toes in the ice-cold water – and then scramble up the rocks at Olmstead Point to get our first proper view of the Valley and Half Dome. We consider this to be our very first Yosemite hike!

Valley View is, I assume, the little sister of the more famous Tunnel View, and provides an amazing sensation of the elevation gain – lots of people were taking photos. It seems a shame that if you were driving in the opposite direction out of Yosemite then you just might miss this spectacular vista.

Olmstead Point, Yosemite
Olmstead Point, Yosemite
Valley View, Yosemite
Valley View, Yosemite

We save the Valley itself for another day, and head on the CA-140 to the Yosemite View Lodge. The road to the Lodge from the Valley continues to be twisty and turny, and follows the Merced River. The size of the “Lodge” surprises me… it’s like a small holiday resort, not the one or two buildings we were expecting…

Yosemite View Lodge
Yosemite View Lodge

Its 6pm, the whole evening is ahead of us! Except – we’re exhausted. We tuck into our Whoa Nellie Deli sandwiches – which are excellent by the way, and feels like the equivalent of a three-course-meal – crack open a beer and contemplate if it’s really too early to go to bed…

7:30pm. The Fletche’s are tucked up in bed fast asleep.

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