Wawona Hotel and Mariposa Grove

Good Friday, April 3rd ~ Last day inside Yosemite National Park

Wawona Hotel

Wawona Hotel

Our final night inside Yosemite National Park was spent at the Wawona Hotel. Located outside of the Village, but still within the park boundaries, this historical lodging has a few quirks, but the ambiance and location more than make up for them.

Wawona Hotel

Wawona Hotel

For the second time ever, we booked a room with a shared bathroom. Kind of seems to be a theme here at Yosemite. This Victorian era hotel is listed as a National Historic Landmark. 

Lobby of Wawona Hotel

Lobby of Wawona Hotel

Our destination today is Mariposa Grove to see the Giant Sequoia’s, about a 10 minute drive from here. We had been warned to arrive early in the day as the parking lot fills up. Thinking we had allowed plenty of time, we were disappointed to arrive at the base of the mountain and get turned around by rangers.

Parking lot was full

Parking lot was already full

Driving back to the hotel, we parked in front of the Pioneer History Center, and took the free shuttle bus to the grove. It probably would have been smarter to have done this initially anyway.

Map of Mariposa Grove and trails

Map of Mariposa Grove and trails

We decided to take a 1-2 hour hike up to see The Bachelor and Three Graces, Grizzly Giant, and the California Tunnel Tree, then return via the dirt Outer Loop Trail.

During the summer, the tram will continue further up the mountain, but this time of the year it let us out at the lower bus lot near the Fallen Monarch.

1

Fallen Monarch

The first part of our walk was on a paved path. It was crowded, and I felt irritated by the noise and confusion. Children were running, screaming, beating the trees with a stick.

OMG, I have turned into THAT CRANKY OLD WOMAN!

Honestly, I do love children and am thankful that they were getting to enjoy the great outdoors as well. I was just having a momentary lapse.

OK, breathe deeply… 

Hang back, let the crowds pass on by.

I wanted to embrace these magnificent trees in silence. I did not want to share this moment with “others”. I selfishly wanted it all to myself.

“It is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes a claim upon men’s hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air that emanation from old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

There is something wonderful about walking past these giant trees. I have long considered the forest my church, and among these majestic beauties, I feel as though I am in a natural cathedral.

“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.” ~ John Muir

Tim is dwarfed by the size of the tree trunk

Tim is dwarfed by the size of the tree trunk

The Bachelor and Three Graces

The Bachelor and Three Graces

“The Grizzly Giant is a giant sequoia in Mariposa Grove, located in Yosemite National Park. The tree has been measured many times, most recently in 1990 by Wendell Flint. It has a volume of 34,005 cubic feet (962.9 m3), making it the 25th largest giant sequoia living today.” ~ Wikipedia

Probably one of the most popular things to see is the California Tunnel Tree. This is actually the second one within this grove that had its heart cut out so that vehicles could pass through, making it a tourist attraction.

California Tunnel Tree #2

California Tunnel Tree #2

The first one has now died and toppled over. It broke my heart…

The good news was that once we passed this spot we turned left toward the dirt path which makes up the Outer Loop Trail. Very few went this direction, so we had the forest mostly to ourselves. Peaceful and quiet.

Ahhhh, now I’m a happy camper…

As enormous as these trees are, their pine cones are quite small – about the size of an egg. We learned that fire can be a friend to the forest. The sequoia has a very dense bark, that protects the tree itself, but the heat causes the pine cones to dry out, open and drop their seeds to start the next generation in motion.

Small egg sized pine cones from the giant sequoias

Small egg sized pine cones from the giant sequoias

Also this time of the year, the rare red Snow Flower can be found popping up. We were so excited to find dozens of them spread throughout the grove.

Snow Flowers

Snow Flowers

Gratitude Moment: Today I am grateful for my love of nature and for the calm I feel when amongst the trees. But just like being in a place of worship, I prefer being there alone, or with dear ones who can also appreciate the moment. They strengthen me, and give me comfort.

How about you? Do you find comfort and solace amongst the mountains or trees? Our best friends love the beach. Which do you prefer?

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About Tim and Joanne Joseph

Hi and welcome! We are Tim and Joanne Joseph and we have just embarked on our "next chapter". At a stage in life where traveling the world, taking pictures, and sharing our adventures with friends and family will be our dream come true.
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20 Responses to Wawona Hotel and Mariposa Grove

  1. Mike Alesko says:

    Since you asked us Joanne, yes I’ve always found great solace among the tress, especially those in the mountains. Loved your metaphor about the trees being a cathedral. I could feel the majesty from your photos.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ginny Schaw says:

    It’s the forest for me too. I remember part of a camp song that began, “I know a green cathedral, a magic forest shrine……” I wonder if there are more children at Yosemite during Spring Vacation!

    Like

  3. Thanks for this great post. I leave for Catalina on Sunday. What do you recommend to visit on Catalina?
    Shine On

    Like

    • There are a LOT of options. Great water activities, scuba, sailing, glass bottom boats, rent a Segway, bike or golf cart to explore. Go for a hike, zip line, shop along the water front. Visit the casino, museum or gardens. You can’t go wrong there. Enjoy!

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  4. We travel all the time, but in the beginning we did no have a vehicle so we had to make sure that our 32 ft. Motor Home fit in the parking lot of any place we wanted to visit. Now we pull a car on a Dolly so we can venture away from Miranda. Love you blog. Feel like I traveled all over Europe with you. Thanks.

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    • That is one of the things we are trying to figure out about getting a RV. We would prefer to not pull a car behind, have it big enough for two people, yet still not be restricted to go anywhere. The Sprinter is interesting, but the price tag is not.

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      • They are all a money pit! Insurance, warranty, gas prices, etc. The convenience is what you pay for. I love having my own bed. We figure 50 cents a mile to travel. We workamp to supplement our social insecurity and that pays for two or three nights on the road. Do a lot of research. If we had it to do over again we would have kept out 25 ft. trailer and Chevy express van. Maybe upgrade the trailer. Good luck. Safe travels.

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      • Thanks for your input. We are still in the research mode. I have a feeling there will be some trial and error in finding the right fit for us.

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      • On my blog you will find some of our trials and errors. Unfortunately the errors are still happening. We laugh at ourselves a lot because we think that we have done everything to get ready to get on the road and lo and behold, we forgot something. We had a woman run after us at the last park to tell us that we forgot to put the wheel up on the Dolly. We would have ruined it in just a few miles.
        Most campers are very helpful with advice and with helping out newbies. Good Luck and Safe Travels.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I am equally calmed by ocean and trees/mountains. But, like you, I prefer no crowds and silence. Years ago (early 70’s), when I camped in Yosemite in springtime, the valley was nearly empty. So sad to have so many people tromping through, but if only they could appreciate in silence and take good care, then it wouldn’t be so bad!

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  6. Aunt Beulah says:

    Yosemite: one of my favorite spots; you captured it wonderfully. I need to return.

    Like

  7. I love snow flower. It’s elusive sometimes but interesting.

    And yes the crowds can be frustrating there. They are even worse in the summer. I posted about that a while ago. Apparently the consensus is that it’s still worth going! 🙂 I’m glad you enjoyed your trip!

    https://bulldogtravels.wordpress.com/2015/02/13/is-yosemite-overrated-2/

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  8. I didn’t realise until I moved to Scotland (having grown up in Oregon) that actually I prefer the forest to the ocean, at a pinch. I had always thought the two went together, because in the Pacific Northwest they are so often right next to one another. In Scotland, you almost always have to choose between the ocean in one direction and the forest in the other!

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    • Christine, thank you for your insight. I agree with you regarding Oregon. Both settings are amazing. The ocean is so powerful, huge, sometimes threatening and can hypnotize me. It can also bring calm. But for me the mountains are a sanctuary. A place for healing, deep thinking, a connection with nature. I am most at peace there.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. The snow flowers look gorgeous, I’ve never seen anything like that ! It’s so difficult to chose between coastline, forest or moutains… I think I love everything as long as it is raw nature 🙂

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