April Fools Day (April 1st) ~ Yosemite National Park
I woke up this morning feeling surprisingly rested, invigorated, and ready to get out and do some exploring. After my initial apprehension of staying in a tent cabin with no bathroom, I found that it was really not a big deal. The shared bathrooms and showers were convenient, “relatively” clean, and we managed just fine.
In fact, we enjoyed ourselves and the setting so much we hustled to the office first thing this morning to see if there were any cancellations that would allow us to spend one more night here in the park.
The answer was YES, so we grabbed the opportunity and will stay put. And since there was nothing else in Yosemite Village available, we simply gave thanks that we could enjoy more time here.
Yay! One more night in a tent!
In case you did not see the description and pictures of our tent cabin at Curry Village, you can check it out here.
Curious to see how “the other half” lived, we drove over to check out the Ahwahnee Hotel.
Royalty, movie stars, dignitaries, and the rich and famous have all stayed at the Ahwahnee. Costing $1.5 million to build, and opening with a grand gala in 1927, this “Premier Lodge” became the apex of accommodations within the park boundaries.
But this distinction comes with a price. Rooms start at $339 per night for the hotel cottages, which may or may not have a view. The classic hotel rooms also start at $339 and go up to $575/night for junior suites or $1071-$1149 for a suite.
My tiny tent cabin at $89 is looking better by the minute! (And YES, that is still a lot of money to spend to sleep in a tent!) Location, location, location!!!
During World War II, the artwork and fine furnishings were moved into storage and the hotel was turned into a Navy convalescent Hospital.
Our walk today was to explore the Yosemite Falls area. There are wonderful, paved walkways that cover a lot of the valley floor, making much of the valley friendly for walking, pushing a stroller, riding a bike, or even wheelchair accessible.
Yosemite Falls itself is the tallest waterfall in the United States and ranks 5th in the world. Consisting of three parts: Upper Falls, Middle Cascades, and Lower Falls, for a total height of 2,425 feet. Just FYI, the tallest is Salto Angel in Venezuela with a 3,212 foot drop.
We came across a plaque where John Muir once had a cabin. He spent two years here in 1869 as a lumberjack. It was during his time in Yosemite that he fell in love with the mountains and nature, leading him later in life to advocate for protection and preservation of our natural resources, even founding the Sierra Club. It was largely due to his efforts that Yosemite was officially set aside as a National Park in 1890.
It was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1984.
The park itself is almost 1200 square miles (roughly the size of the state of Rhode Island), but most of the 3.7 million visitors that come here every year spend the bulk of their time in the Village area which makes up only 7 square miles of the park. As you can see from those numbers, the vast majority of the park is sparsely populated.
If you have the time, see the major sites, and then try to visit some of the other areas of the park. A couple of years ago, when spending some time in the Mammoth Mountain area, we took a day drive and entered Yosemite NP from the east side at Tuolumne Meadows. You can check out my post from that day here.
Our weather could not have been more lovely. Cold at night, but warming up to be short sleeve weather during the daytime. A few mountain wildflowers were starting to pop open. The Mountain Dogwood were beginning to bloom.
I could not help but once again gaze longingly up at Half Dome.
Back in 1972, I visited Yosemite for the first time and much to my credit, I climbed to the top. Yep, back then I had the legs and stamina to make that trek. To this day I remember the thrill, sense of accomplishment, the view, and the fact that I could not walk for the next three days afterwards.
It is a 14-16 mile round trip trek, with an elevation gain of 4800 feet. On average it takes 10-12 hours, some take much longer. If you have the stamina, it is a memory you will not soon forget. Click here for information on permits, preparation and safety tips.
Gratitude Moment: Today I am grateful for not letting the opportunity to hike to the top of Half Dome slip past me when I was still fit enough and able to do so. I am thankful that I am still healthy enough to travel to my heart’s content, even if I am no longer scaling mountains…
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