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Re: Accessibility question (Happy Isles)

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Accessibility question (Happy Isles)
April 20, 2009 05:49PM
I'm bringing my Mom to Yosemite again in early June. We were there last May. She is 90 and in a wheelchair. I appreciate the extent that the park has gone to to accomodate wheelchair-bound visitors. I've been studying the accessibility guide but I can't get a clear picture in my mind of the Happy Isles area and its accessibility. That is one part of the park we did not make it to last year and I'd like to get there this time.

I know we can get a temporary placard and drive to the Happy Isles Nature Center, but last year we had no trouble taking the shuttle bus around the valley with my Mom in her wheelchair. Since you can take the shuttle bus to stop #16 right near the Happy Isles Nature Center, what would be the advantage of getting the temporary placard and driving to it?

From what I have read, the Nature Center at Happy Isles has a paved nature trail around it, which leads to the bridge to the Happy Isles themselves. But once you get on to the actual Happy Isles, are the trails on it paved? Would they be suitable for wheelchairs?
Thank you for your help.
avatar Re: Accessibility question (Happy Isles)
April 20, 2009 06:11PM
The Happy Isles area should be fine for a wheel chair.
Re: Accessibility question (Happy Isles)
April 20, 2009 06:12PM
You can park in the lot right next to the restroom, but indeed that's just a short distance from the bus stop.

The advantage to the car is that in June, you can expect crowded shuttles at times, and it might be more difficult with a wheelchair. But since you've been there and know that, maybe the bus would be more to your liking.

A lot of the trail is paved, as I remember, and should be fine for wheelchairs, including over some of the bridges (I've taken a bike in there, and they're only allowed on paved trails, so I assume it was fully paved). The Merced should still be up and roaring at that time, so it should be a pleasant experience.

The whole area of the shuttle loop to happy Isles and Mirror Lake is paved, so you could also browse along there as far as you want. Mirror Lake also has provision for handicapped access, in case you didn't know, though there are no paved trails beyond the restroom/view area.



Gary
Yosemite Photo Galleries: http://www.pbase.com/roberthouse/yo
avatar Re: Accessibility question (Happy Isles)
April 20, 2009 06:17PM
Quote

The advantage to the car is that in June, you can expect crowded shuttles at times,

When I road one coming back from Sierra Point at the end of March we had a packed shuttle. In fact after the Mirror Lake stop we didn't even have standing room left.
Re: Accessibility question (Happy Isles)
April 20, 2009 06:50PM
Thanks very much! The shuttle bus actually seemed easier and more convenient than trying to drive around and find parking, get her in and out of the car over and over, etc. As far as Mirror Lake, I would be able to take her to the edge of the lake in the wheelchair but not on any trails, right? I read that Mirror Lake is gradually becoming a meadow as the years pass.
avatar Re: Accessibility question (Happy Isles)
April 20, 2009 06:56PM
The MIrror Lake shuttle stop is at the bottom of the road to Mirror Lake. I wouldn't want to push a wheel chair up that hill. So driving (with a disabled placard) is your best choice.
avatar Re: Accessibility question (Happy Isles)
April 20, 2009 07:07PM
Is there anything at Glacier Point for wheelchairs? The accessibility guide mentions a 300 yd switchback trail. Sounds challenging.
One option not given much attention in the guide are the bike trails. You might find a nice point to point section of bike path that would be interesting and worth the effort.



The cure for a fallacious argument is a better argument, not the suppression of ideas.
-- Carl Sagan




Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/20/2009 07:19PM by Frank Furter.
avatar Re: Accessibility question (Happy Isles)
April 20, 2009 07:17PM
Quote
Frank Furter
Is there anything at Glacier Point for wheelchairs?

I remember there being disabled parking there and the paths are all paved.
avatar Re: Accessibility question (Happy Isles)
April 20, 2009 07:43PM
Bob,

There should be no problem at Glacier Point. There are some mild inclines on paved areas but most of this site is wheelchair accessible.

Jim
avatar Re: Accessibility question (Happy Isles)
April 20, 2009 08:56PM
My recollection is that if a person is wheelchair bound and provides their own wheel power with muscles they can go anywhere with no restrictions. Nothing motorized and no pushing by another. I know this might not apply to your mother but I thought I would post it to see if there is any more information outthere on my impression.



Old Dude
avatar Re: Accessibility question (Happy Isles)
April 20, 2009 09:12PM
The Accessibility document states the following:

Wheelchair Rental
Manual wheelchairs and electric scooters can be rented seasonally at the
bicycle-rental stand at Yosemite Lodge and Curry Village; reservations
suggested, call 209/372-8319. Check Yosemite Guide for hours of operation.

That would seem to suggest that powered units are allowed.



The cure for a fallacious argument is a better argument, not the suppression of ideas.
-- Carl Sagan
avatar Re: Accessibility question (Happy Isles)
April 20, 2009 09:32PM
By no restrictions I meant even wilderness trails. There was a pitched battle a while back or it might still be going on about the powered wheelchair thing. Apparently someone wanted to have one of those four wheel mini jeep things classified as a wheelchair. I remember the rule at the time was the wheelchair had to be muscle powered by a certified handicapped person.



Old Dude
Re: Accessibility question (Happy Isles)
April 21, 2009 07:40AM
That seems kind of odd - to allow a wheelchair if it is self-propelled by the occupant of the wheelchair, but not if it is pushed from behind by an attendant such as me. Last year I pushed her up to the base of Yosemite Falls, and partway up to to Bridalveil Falls, but the trail was wet, so I was a little afraid I might lose control of the wheelchair on the wet part, so I didn't take her all the way up. She enjoyed it though as you can see in this picture from Bridalveil Falls.

avatar Re: Accessibility question (Happy Isles)
April 21, 2009 07:45AM
I'm not referring to the paved areas of the valley floor or any of the other paved or non-wilderness areas of the park. Only the wilderness areas where no wheels are allowed on the ground.



Old Dude
Re: Accessibility question (Happy Isles)
April 21, 2009 09:02AM
ok thanks
avatar Re: Accessibility question (Happy Isles)
April 21, 2009 12:48PM
Bob,
If you want to see some of the arguments just google "wheelchairs and wilderness" or something like that.

One of the most heated sites I read a year or so ago was about designating ATVs and three wheelers as wheelchairs to get into the wilderness areas.

What you want to do with your mother makes perfect sense. My mother is at that stage also.



Old Dude
Re: Accessibility question (Happy Isles)
April 21, 2009 04:33PM
Thanks, I will read those. And as an aside, I am frequently pissed off at how people label themselves "disabled" when they truly aren't. I have often looked for a parking space while I have watched a large truck park in the disabled spot at a store, and seen the occupants bounce out of the truck and run into the store - clearly not disabled at all, they simply happen to be in possession of a plastic placard the California DMV issues. It's against the law to use that placard without the disabled person it was issued to being present. I have even seen Hummers and other large vehicles parked in those spots. If you can get in and out of a Hummer, are you truly disabled? Meanwhile I have to struggle to get my Mom out of the car without scratching the adjacent car with our wheelchair. It's not the extra few yards of pushing her that really matter, it's having that nice wide space between the cars that is the real advantage of the disabled space, for us anyway.
avatar Re: Accessibility question (Happy Isles)
April 21, 2009 04:55PM
I saw a cab sitting in a disabled parking spot at Costco recently. This time I said something and he was full of excuses. Next time It'll be a call to somebody that can right him up.
avatar Re: Accessibility question (Happy Isles)
April 21, 2009 07:37PM
Quote
Bob Weaver
It's not the extra few yards of pushing her that really matter, it's having that nice wide space between the cars that is the real advantage of the disabled space, for us anyway.

I have noted that too in managing my relative.
I, pesonally, never grasped how small things can pose tremendous obstacles for those in wheelchairs until I read some of John Callahan's writings (including Don't Worry He Won't Get Far on Foot). In one of his books, he describes, essentially, how a 4 inch curb was as much an obstacle to someone in a wheelchair as a 8 foot wall. A few inches of space, the grade of a ramp, the height of a sink, are seemingly trivial points but can represent profound obstacles and, when preventable, extreme frustrations.



The cure for a fallacious argument is a better argument, not the suppression of ideas.
-- Carl Sagan
Re: Accessibility question (Happy Isles)
April 21, 2009 07:33AM
I really want to do Glacier Point, because the road to it wasn't open yet on the day we were there last year. All we did last year were Yosemite Valley and Mariposa Grove. This year we are going to do Yosemite Valley, Glacier Point and the entire Tioga Road if it is open (I'm gambling that it will be open by June 4th.) My Mom seems to have a pretty strong fear of viewpoints so I don't think she's going to be too interested in Washburn Point or Glacier Point, so I will keep her well back from the edges and just walk up to the walls or railings myself.
avatar Re: Accessibility question (Happy Isles)
April 21, 2009 07:41AM
Glacier Point should easily be open by then. Tioga will probably be open then too.



Old Dude
Re: Accessibility question (Happy Isles)
April 21, 2009 01:22PM
She should be able to enjoy the view from Glacier without having to get anywhere near an edge.

Depending on how ambitious you are, you could actually walk the whole way from the village, just past Ahwahnee meadow to where the path forks, heading toward the cliffs over the two bridges, then along the bike path to the Mirror Lake road. And take the shuttle back. That may be longer than you want, especially if it's hot, but it's a nice early-morning walk, adn you could always go part way and turn back...just over the two bridges is a pretty nice stroll.



Gary
Yosemite Photo Galleries: http://www.pbase.com/roberthouse/yo
Re: Accessibility question (Happy Isles)
April 21, 2009 04:35PM
Thank you very much. I'll take a look at the maps and might just do that. I prefer walking and pushing the chair rather than driving, if the distance is not long.
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