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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Journey: More Yosemite

It seemed unfortunate that our trip to Yosemite should work out to be on a Saturday. A gloriously sunny and pleasantly warm California Spring day, May 3rd. We spent the previous night in Merced, about 80 miles West of the park entrance and so took route 140 to our destination. An interesting drive showing a lot of the diversity of the California countryside.

The closer we got to Yosemite, the more the traffic increased. And the more we encountered either problems with the roads -- a landslide in one place and major work at another. The major works were encountered just where one road merged into another and traffice was held up alternately for 45 minutes in our case. The scenery was breathtaking and were not even at the entrance. But the flow of traffice got slower and slower after we bought our ticket.
The park attendant we bought the ticket from was very friendly and helpful. After Neil told him we were here from the UK he explained that should we be visiting other National Parks we should keep our tickets and if they should add up to $80 the Park Service would upgrade our ticket to an annual ticket that would enable us to visit any park with a car full of people! Great, we thought and carefully put our receipts together (one other from a visit to Mt. Rainier earlier this year). However, how chagrinned we were a few miles down the road when I read in the Yosemite News (or whatever it's called) that there was now a Senior Pass for US citizens 62 or over. This costs $10 (ten dollars) and is for Life!!!! (I also found out later that the pass is also for permanent residents, though the park attendant at Badlands where I finally bought my pass, said she didn't know anything about it even though I later discovered that it is clearly written on the back of the pass!

Back to our progress towards El Capitain, the Yosemite Valley and my father's past. What a glorious day it was. How bloody awful the traffic. And tour bus after tour bus and it was only early May. We'd been told that until the day before only the road to Yosemite Village had been opened. Now the road to Glacier Point was also open. As El Capitain began to come into view our progress got slower and slower and we became more and more disheartened. Neil hated to suggest it and I hated to hear it, but when we came to another road merging into our traffic, he suggested that we should give it up.

I was so disappointed -- I could see El Capitain, I had waited so long and now I'd not get there.

Well to be honest I could understand how my father could have gotten up to the top for his photo -- he was definitely no rock climber. And Neil couldn't understand either. Nevertheless we were sure all questions would be answered if we could just get to the Village. We turned right off the road aiming to leave the Park, though I vowed to return again one day.

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