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03 June 2013

Another Memorial Day in Yosemite

A brief summary of this year's Memorial Day weekend in Yosemite. I can't guarantee you'll learn something from this one, but it was certainly a funny trip in many ways. Sara's brother Alex and his wife Jess were visiting from Boston, and Sara's friend Janelle joined us from SF.

Rafting on the Merced River
After years of being a kayak snob, I agreed to go on my first rafting trip. It was fantastic! Thanks to those lovely "footcups" (new favorite word), and much to Alex's dismay, no one fell off the boat. We successfully surfed a little wave and managed to survive amongst 6 other rafts of very hungry boyscouts. We found piles of river booty (RV parts...) because an RV had driven into the river the night before.

Crane pulling the RV out of the river.
I'm adding this picture of me and Jess to spare Alex a belly shirt picture, but those will end up on Facebook soon enough...  
Gorgeous sunny day in the river!
Holiday Traffic in the Valley
As predicted, two minutes after we passed the first turn around point we hit stand-still traffic in the Valley. We made it a more exciting experience by policing/blocking the right lane (where only buses are allowed) and trapping people trying to skip the line. Alex and Jess got their fill of Valley traffic and we were happy to turn around as soon as we got to the next turning point (~ 2 hours later).

Camping at Yosemite Lakes Park Campground
It took us a while (and an entire camp re-mobilization) to find and occupy the right campsite (thanks to a strategic pee break). The bathrooms were pretty luxurious with hot showers and mirrors. We really didn't spend much time at the campground, but overall it treated us well. I only had to make one polite 4am inquiry to ask our neighbors to shut-the-hell-up! :)

(Not) Hiking to Sunrise Lakes
The next day we set out on a hike to Sunrise Lakes, which are just southwest of Tenaya Lake. Five minutes in a group of hikers informed us that the trail was completely snowed in, so (thanks to another strategic pee-break discovery) we made a left turn and forged our own trail up the rocky side of a mini mountain. The rock face was covered in little streams that we refreshingly waded across in bare feet.

Janelle and Sara crossing a chilly stream at the beginning of the hike.
Wandering up the rock face in our bare feet.
Beers-On-A-Rock and Limited Wandering in Tuolumne (The Unpronounceable) Meadows
I say limited because we promised the park ranger that we wouldn't stray from the short road between the visitor center and Soda Springs. We listened, only adding a tiny wander to a group of roadside rocks where we cracked the Bud Light Lime and enjoyed an afternoon the sunshine.

Hot springs bubbling into Tuolumne Meadows.

So remote. Universal symbol for "I'm Okay".
Budweiser commercial, during a heated Budweiser debate.
Dinner and Sunset at Tenaya Lake
Not much to be said here except BURRITOS (unhealthy ones). Except for a spying deer we had the lake to ourselves for sunset.

O'Schaughnessy Dam and Hiking around Hetch Hetchy Reservoir to Wapama Falls
We walked across the dam and through a tunnel in the cliff to get to a trail along the north side of the reservoir. It was a pleasant hike, with a few ups and downs. We reached Wapama falls a little over an hour later. Maybe some day I'll come back and add a little blurb about the dam and valley's history - it's pretty interesting. But for now, I'll leave you with some pretty pictures :)
Hold your hats! It was pretty windy at the top of the 450 ft dam.

Huge spillway!
Hetch Hetchy Reservoir
Wapama Falls, about 2.7 miles from the dam on the north side of Hetch Hetchy Reservoir.

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