Category Archives: California

Yosemite and Snow!!!

P1070091After spending time at Sequoia NP we drove a bit north to Yosemite. We were fortunate to be able to secure 3 nights camping in the park, as reservations often fill minutes after the availability opens. At first it looked like we would need to move camp each day, but once in the park the Reservations desk ranger helped me find a site for two nights, meaning only one move during our stay. We camped at the Upper Pines Campground in sites 102 and 112, no electricity or water and $20 per night.  Of the two sites, 102 was the best as it backed up to the woods and had plenty of space for WB. Site 112 was also spacious, but the adjacent campsite, with a family with two small wandering children, had their campfire within 20 ft of our camper. A bit too close for my comfort!

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John Muir, Ansel Adams, and Teddy Roosevelt were all correct about Yosemite being a very special place  in need of preservation!  It is one of the most beautiful places we have ever visited. And, because of the snow, Tioga Pass and Glacier Point Roads were still closed. But the valley itself is magnificent, Yosemite Falls, Vernal Falls and Bridal Veil Falls were all surging down to the valley. The meadows were beginning to bloom, and I had my coffee each morning while watching the sun progress over Half Dome!

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Yosemite is also one of the most dog friendly national parks we have visited. Woolly Bear was allowed just about anywhere on the 12 mile paved bicycle loop that traverses the valley. He could also walk on paved paths to the lower falls, and we did take him on dirt paths that did not forbid dogs. Yosemite has a kennel in the summer for pets,  but it was still in the 50’s most days, so he could safely stay in the camper while we hiked.

There is a free shuttle bus for hikers, and a for fee bus from the nearby commercial campgrounds and hotels. It is very easy to get around the Yosemite Valley.

P1070025Our visit came to an abrupt end on Thursday evening when we overheard the Ranger telling another camper that  6 to 12 inches of snow was expected the next morning! We have no desire to drive in that type of weather, and we knew we could not get another day’s campsite, so we left that evening and drove to a KOA 23 miles outside the park, but at a much lower elevation. Friday morning we had a cold, steady rain, and the Yosemite to Sequoia area got the predicted snow.

Yosemite is a very special place that we need to return to at a time when the mountain passes are open and we can truly appreciate the entire park! Maybe mid July some year??? With reservations made well in advance!P1070039

 

Sequoia National Park

P1060971Sequoia National Park was a great place to spend the Easter weekend so far away from home. The weather was beautiful, both sunny and warm. We spent several days checking out both Sequoia and Kings Canyon and driving the steep and winding roads. We had tried to rent a car so that we could spare our Winnebago the hilly workout, but both of the area rental car businesses had no cars left due to the holiday weekend. This took us by surprise, but we dealt with it and drove the long way around to avoid the really steep section of highway 198.

The pictures don’t begin to show the magnificence of the General Sherman Tree or the other ancients. The campgrounds were not all open yet, nor were all the roads, but we managed to see the majority of the parks. We both agree that Sequoia NP is a place we would like to visit again, a bit later in the season, so that all roads have opened.

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Lake Havasu to Joshua Tree NP

Joshua Tree NP

Joshua Tree NP

I have been without good internet for a while and am behind on posting! Will try to get caught up, today and tomorrow, before we move to another wilderness spot without service.

We left Moab, making notes that we must return with bicycles in tow next time. There is so much to do, and the bike trails and off road biking looked awesome! We had debated bringing our bikes, but had opted not to add a bike rack to the camper. Big mistake! We would have used them just about everywhere we have traveled. But, there is always next time.

Campground visitor at Lake Havasu State Park

Campground visitor at Lake Havasu State Park

We left Moab and headed west again, staying in the St George’s area in what may well be the worst commercial campground ever. Then we drove to the Lake Havasu State Park in Arizona. We had a beautiful waterfront site with lots of privacy and space for Woolly Bear. It cost $30 but had electricity and we enjoyed watching the boat traffic as dusk approached.P1060946P1060942

The next morning found us up and on the road by 6:30 am. We headed to Joshua Tree NP and Cottonwood Campground on the southern side of the park, off of Rt 10. This campground is first come, first serve and we thought we wanted a spot.

We arrived at the park before noon and were pleased that the campground was not full, but even though we drove through the campground several times looking for a suitable site, none were found. We need to level our 24 ft van so that the refrigeration works and none of the vacant sites were both big enough and level enough for us! So, we moved on to plan B, then plan C. We ended up at a commercial campground after spending the day at Joshua Tree. The cacti are simply beautiful and the rock formations are neat, but I would advise people to leave their RVs at home and bring a tent when camping in Joshua Tree. We would have been more than fine with our backpacking tent or even our car camping tent. In addition to the camp ground issue, all the trails in that part of the park were closed due to wind/flood damage.

View at Joshua Tree

View at Joshua Tree