pre-Independence Day at Yosemite

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing

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I came to the park on the 3rd through the Hwy 140 (Arch Rock) Entrance. Actually I got about a half mile from the gate and traffic stopped. The outside  temperature display was reading 97 degrees. It took about a half hour to creep up to the gate. I was hoping that everyone who was coming would have driven up Saturday – WRONG. One problem is most Toms, Dicks and Harry’s stop and pay per car at the gate. The annual pass really speeds things up – so think about getting one. $80 for admission to any NPS, BLM, etc site. I flashed mine and scooted up the right lane. 

I also saw the signs for the new bus service the Park set up in El Portal. Now the YARTS bus will stop on Foresta Road to pick folks up. This is where the NPS warehouse is located. You park your car along Foresta Road. This is a good idea if you don’t plan to carry a ton of camping stuff. Might be hard to schlep a giant tent, chairs, Coleman stove, your HD TV and massage table. But give it a try if you are only with a backpack. Then you can get around the park with the free bus service. 

Once on Southside drive traffic stopped again. It crawled all the way to the Sentinel Bridge. Then it was fine to Curry. So in  summary, I got in line at the Arch Rock gate at 2:30 and arrived at Curry at 5:15. Ugh Ugh Ugh. I was surprised that the parking lot had spaces and the buffet was thin. Odd.  

I’ll be doing Half Dome on Monday and don’t expect to be able to do the blog…so take the night off and watch an old Twilight Zone episode. I’ll be back with some neat pix . . . like the motorhome who pulled off to the right by the Swinging Bridge and got stuck on his frame.  


Unrelated thought worth quoting: Every now and then, we like to do something nice.. and easy. Only there’s just one thing: we never do anything nice.. and easy.” – Proud Mary Tina Turner 


*MrHalfDome ™ – Rick Deutsch –


10 Responses to “pre-Independence Day at Yosemite”

  1. Seraphina Agosto Says:

    Watched Twilight Zone tonight actually! Marathon was on…hope you had a great hike! My brother went Saturday…he did comment that there were lots of permits up for grabs on the trail.

  2. Sönke Says:

    The Valley is just a nightmare. We went to Tioga Road in the morning and had a good time. Way less traffic and we even could get a parking lot at Olmstedt Point. However it took a friend more than 2 hours driving from El Portal to the Yosemite Lodge to meet us there so we could drive to the High Sierra.

    When we returned from Tioga Road at approx. 4pm it took us another 2 hours from the Bridalveil Fall-junction to the Lodge. We then walked to Curry Village to see if we could find Mr. HD at the buffet. No luck. It was the longest line at the pizza parlor I’ve ever seen.

    We decided to take the shuttle bus back to the Lodge but after more than 45 minutes waiting we decided to walk back. Actually that was a smart move because the traffic didn’t move at all and we were faster than any car.

    When we arrived at the lodge we noticed that the parking lots were swamped with trash, empty bottles, used diapers and whatnot.

    Very sad…

    • Janet Says:

      We zoomed in at 6:20 AM, headed up to Olmstedt too with only 2 or 3 others there. Drove to Tenaya Lake and were the only ones there for awhile. Walked, but too much snow to go around the whole lake, fished & watched many people climb Stately Pleasant Dome (I think that’s what it’s called). Picked up 2 backpackers on the way out & dropped them at Lukens Lake. No traffic at all for us. It was a good day, however, we steered clear of the Valley.

      I agree, very sad about all the trash. I saw it at Tenaya Lake too and even thought of coming with gloves & a bag one day to pick it all up.

  3. RBravo Says:

    Climbed Half Dome on July 3 for the 10th straight year…
    1. So very few people, ascended at 915am, very comfortable.
    2. Absolutely flabbergasted by the number of people trying to snag permits while hiking to the top, yes several miles from the trailhead. Wished them luck and all.
    3. Single uniformed, armed Ranger ( a really nice guy) trying to accommodate the folks arriving and leaving at the base of the sub dome. Makes you wonder a little about resource allocation during these times.
    4. Just as beautiful as always.
    5. Yes the Valley floor is a mess during the Fourth, but EVERYONE has the right to be there, and people are messy, and those of us who seem more respectful and aware are not more entitled to be there. I just never stay there except during the cold , quiet , sparse spring.

    • mrhalfdome Says:

      I agree on the trash. the top of Vernal Fall wa a pig sty.

    • Sönke Says:

      No doubt everyone has the right to be there. I was just forwarding my observation and I believe I am allowed to voice my concerns. It is very sad that the majority of the visitors do not appreciate this unique piece of nature. If everybody would behave just a little more nice even the high number of visitors wouldn’t spoil the experience.

      I usually stay away from the valley but due to the severe illness of my wife hiking in the backcountry no longer is an option available to us. This is her first visit to the park since a blood vessel ruptured in her brain 27 months ago.

      • Maureen L Says:

        No one has a “right” to leave trash in the park, backcountry, designated wilderness, or heavily used areas like the Valley.

        Seems to me there’s a good sprinkling of those white “Littering $1000 Fine” signs on the California highways on the way into the park.

        I’m not completely sure, but I don’t think I agree that anyone who can pay the fee has a “right” to be in the park, either.

        I bring my plastic SF Chronicle bags, which are hard to recycle, and put them to good use picking up trash on the trails. Being part of the solution is a good thing when you can!

      • mrhalfdome Says:

        A rock cluster near the top of Vernal Fall looked like someone had a big picnic and just walked away with debris everywhere. Swine.

  4. Roberto Hernandez Says:

    What happens to the trash? Does it mostly just get washed into the river systems by rain and wind? If someone filled a huge plastic bag up and put it in the corner of a compost bathroom, would the rangers take it to the valley?

  5. Matt Says:

    How sad. With all the talk of slobs on the trails I will DEFINITELY be bringing a few trash bags and some disposable gloves to clean up at some of the popular spots along the way. I figure Ill spend a few minutes cleaning up and then rest up before pushing on. Only takes a moment or two to partially right the wrongs of the disrespectful slobs on the trails.

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