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Wednesday, April 05, 2017

A Needed Break

By Suzanne O'Connor

Everyone needs a break. We really needed one, more than usual and so we took a few days last week, drove up and hit the hiking trails in Yosemite.

Having been to Yosemite well over a dozen times, we thought we’d seen everything. But this year, because of the massive snowfall this last Winter, there were more waterfalls than I had ever seen. We didn’t know half their names and I stopped counting at 22.

Of course, there was Bridal Veil, Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls and Vernal and Nevada Falls…. The well-photographed staples in the Valley. These were flowing at spectacular water levels.

We also saw The Cascades (3), Wildcat Falls, Silver Strand Falls, Ribbon Falls & Horsetail Falls on El Capitan, Senitinel Falls, Staircase Falls, The Royal Arch Cascade, Wapama Falls, Lehamite Falls, Snow Creek Falls, Illiouette Falls and other falls that I couldn’t document. There was literally water and flowing creeks everywhere.

We’ve previously hiked this park from the High Country and Tuolumme Meadows to Hetch Hetchy and back again. With this being a short trip and the high country off our list, we decided to hike up the Mist trail up to Vernal Falls hoping to make it to the top of Nevada Falls. But it was so incredibly wet, cold & slippery, we didn’t continue and re-routed to the less popular John Muir Trail where we were eventually stopped by deep snow. In our twenties, we might have trudged on. But we’re not and didn’t want to end up a statistic.

We consoled ourselves with a pre-planned dinner at the Ahwahnee Dining Room, (now renamed The Grand Majestic Yosemite Hotel - don’t get me started on that fiasco). You usually can’t get in there without early reservations. But we got lucky. Honestly, the Ahwahnee Diningroom is a great old school, rustic, yet elegant venue with some really awesome food. Highly recommend the salmon.

We didn’t stay in the park. Last minute reservations at the hotel and lodge are impossible to come by. So we stayed at the Yosemite View Lodge which is just outside the park in El Portal (25 Minutes from the Ahwahnee). Though not cheap, the rooms are adequate with little kitchenettes and a view of the Merced River that is hands down…. Awesome.

I normally wouldn’t post about a quick weekend trip, but Yosemite is at it’s most spectacular this year. I wouldn’t want any of you to miss out. So I strongly encourage you to go! Even with so many of the pine trees dead from the Bark Beetle infestation. If you can take a couple of days and drive up before June, you’ll be rewarded with spectacular waterfalls unlike anything in the last 30 years. It is really something to see.

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