Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Yosemite Day 1

This morning I woke up a little early and looked up through the skylight to a sky full of stars.  I took my time getting up and studied the Yosemite maps and decided to take the Tioga Road at the northern part of the park.  I had not been to this part.  I talked to some of the rangers and found out more about different parts of the park.  One suggested I take the Fire tower road near Crane Flat to get a good 360 view of the northern part of the park.  It was a great suggestion as a way to start my time in Yosemite. 


I also talked to them about the rat poop virus to get more details.  I found out that it only affected people that had been using the premade tents in one campground in the Valley that had the mice nesting in them.  They got sick (and some died) because of the virus they inhaled while they were sleeping.  The official term in the Hantavirus and is carried by deer mice.  This virus has been around since 1993.  One ranger said that Yosemite is now probably the safest National Park around because so much effort has been made to disinfect and clean all the areas of the park sine the problems happened earlier this year.  Made sense to me!  I sleep in my camper and won’t be smelling or licking my boots, so I’m not too worried at this point.  Enough about mouse poop…. Back to Yosemite and why I wanted to spend so much time in this park…


After the fire tower,  I headed towards Tioga Road.  There is a campground near Tamarack Flat campground to see what it was like (compared to the one I was in last night).  It was a windy and rough road, but interesting.  I got to the campground and started talking with a young women from Holland and she had only been in the States for a short period of time,  and asked if I wanted to hike with her today, since she did not want to hike alone.   Sounded good to me so we decided to head to the Valley and hike to Vernal Falls.


Our hike took about 4 hours and we started at the parking lot at the east end of the valley and elevation was 4035 ft,  at the top of the falls it was 5044 ft,  over a 1000 ft elevation gain.  The biggest part was the steep stairway of over 600 granite, random height steps from the base of the falls to the top.  Worth it,  but thank goodness for P90X, or I think this part would have done me in.   I even hauled my tripod with me the entire way.  It was interesting that probably 90% of the people we met along the way were from other countries.  The majority were from Germany, we met a few people she could talk with from Holland,  a bunch of guys from Bolivia, as well as many others.  We said our goodbyes and headed towards our separate campgrounds. The hike, and her company were a great way to spend the day!


Along the way back I saw a number of photographers in a meadow with their cameras pointed back towards Half Dome for sunset.  I got talking to one guy who was taking pictures for time lapse photography.  He was taking pictures every 3 seconds and had been doing it for the past 2 hours.   A movie is 24 frames per second,  so he was getting one second of film for every 72 seconds he was taking pictures.  For the 2 hours he had been taking pictures,  he was able to get 1 minute and 40 seconds of time lapse film!  He suggested a number of other places for me to take pictures,  and also asked if I had been to Bryce and Zion in Utah.  He told me to make sure to go there in the fall on the way home.  Will have to see how the schedule works out. I headed back to my campsite, had dinner and wine and called it a night.


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