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Re: Jan 28/29th brief trip report (valley)

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Jan 28/29th brief trip report (valley)
January 31, 2016 11:51AM
Becoming mad at not getting a summer campsite prompted me to just go to Yosemite now. :-) So went out for just one night on Jan 28th, returned on 29th in the afternoon.

Hiked to lower part of upper Yosemite falls first afternoon, so could see the snow cone. Took gear preparing for ice, didn't need any for that part. Snow patches if you want to go beyond the turn. My first time seeing the snow cone(s). I wasn't that impressed actually. Loved the views from Columbia rock and beyond.

Wandered around Curry Village in the evening. I had learned when booking our room at the lodge that all of Curry closes in the winter except for Fr & Sat nights. The store stays open. Cafeteria was full of Nature Bridge kids. Warms my heart when I see all those kids out there. For all of you who like Curry village pizza.

Hiked towards Vernal falls on the JMT. Gave up about 20 minutes before top of Vernal, as I did not want to cross some snow packs. We had taken all this gear the day before on the Yosemite falls trail and didn't need any, then we neglected to take anything the next day and in fact did need it. Plus the constant sound of crashing ice from the granite walls and the ice chunks, the whole thing spooked me.

Walked in and around Ahwahnee. Super nice housekeeper pointed out her favorite rooms on the second floor; lucky for us it was open, so we hung out there very briefly and dreamed of staying in. These are the rooms above the solarium. Two rooms share a middle living room with a large balcony. I wonder if they are loud in busy season?

On the way home attempted to find the often talked about Old Big Oak flat road trail; finally found it, will attempt to hike parts some day.

Somehow I always thought you could not collect firewood in a national park, in contrast to a national forest, where you can. I guess not.

Drove around Moccasin; something I've always wanted to do. Impressed by old Power House building. Love the historic parts of 120.
Re: Jan 28/29th brief trip report (valley)
January 31, 2016 02:16PM
It sounds like you had a nice trip even though it was so short. As for collecting wood in the park, if my memory serves, there are piles of wood that is from trees that the park service had cut down and is put in that area and people can get a permit to take it so you are not really collecting wood.
avatar Re: Jan 28/29th brief trip report (valley)
February 01, 2016 11:29AM
Good find on the start of the Old Big Oak Flat Road...definitely worth doing!
Thanks for the report!
Re: Jan 28/29th brief trip report (valley)
February 02, 2016 02:12PM
Great report. Makes me want to go back asap!
Re: Jan 28/29th brief trip report (valley)
February 03, 2016 04:44PM
I have gone in the winter the last few years and enjoyed the solitude. Having morning coffee in the lodge at Curry is a treat. You can walk for hours and enjoy the brisk air and beautiful snow formations. Hiking is fun with no crowds and everything seems so new with a dusting of snow.
I stay in an unheated tent cabin so I can say I roughed it. Very Jealous.
Re: Jan 28/29th brief trip report (valley)
February 03, 2016 08:06PM
The lack of crowds was just amazing. I like going in May because the dogwoods are so beautiful when in bloom, but I tell you, this was really nice. It had been twelve years since I had last been there in the winter. Essentially from Chinese Camp on, we were one of the only ones on the road (well, count out the towns like Groveland). I am so used to being stuck behind slow moving cars all along that road, it was such a pleasure to have the road to ourselves.

The Yosemite falls trail had a surprising number of people. Perhaps the rangers advise visitors to go there, because much of the trail is clear? Another amazing no crowd thing is we saw no one, not even a single person from Happy Isles all the way to the Vernal falls bridge.

But it's the smaller things that actually count more, versus crowds on trails. Many times on the road we needed to make a U-turn (wanted to see something and had just missed it), and the lack of traffic makes it easy. Or in Curry, when we wanted to check out the meadow, just pull over, no hassle for parking.
Re: Jan 28/29th brief trip report (valley)
February 04, 2016 12:51PM
Going during the winter holidays, there still can be too many people crowding the valley at times. We went the week after Christmas and the valley was nuts during the day with people not understanding that the roads are two lanes and they were parking and leaving their cars in the left lanes which caused a needless back up of cars on the valley roads. However, non holiday times are so great with less people around and you can really take your time and enjoy things. Although winter can limit where you can go and what you can do, I prefer it over going in the summer with all of the crowds.
avatar Re: Jan 28/29th brief trip report (valley)
February 05, 2016 09:08AM
Another thing is that people can't figure out is where to put their chains on. They just stop in the middle of the road. Drive's me nuts! This was terrible during the holidays. So be on the lookout around corners if chains are required. It is really nice during the winter to have some places all to yourself, especially if you've been to the same place during the busy summer months.
Re: Jan 28/29th brief trip report (valley)
February 09, 2016 05:17PM
Unlike your visit, the next two weekends should be very busy. With mild temps, a holiday weekend this upcoming one and loads of photography workshops scheduled, it won't seem like winter. We went February 20 last year and it was as busy as a summer day. Shuttle buses were full and parking full at places like 4 mile trail and swinging bridge.
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