John Woltman's
Cyberspace Jungle

California Parks

Yosemite - Day 1

Posted May 26, 2005 by John Woltman

The 5th day saw our drive to Yosemite National Park, and our visit to Sentinel Dome, Bridal Veil Falls, and a short excursion along the flooded Swinging Bridge trail.

We drove from Three Rivers, CA to the south entrance of Yosemite National Park. Immediately it struck me as more built-up and touristy. Droves of buses, RVs, and park shuttles were disgorging hoards of people anxious to see to one of America's most famous parks. There are plenty of places to stop and get food, buy trinkets, etc. The roads are better maintained, though often congested. Parking can be difficult to find.

We lucked out and scored a space at the trailhead for Sentinel Dome. One minor issue marred the Sentinel Dome trail - it was covered in over a foot of snow! We had to pick our way as best we could...followed the footprints through the snow, and eventually small rock piles that someone had kindly deposited to guide the way. The last portion of the trail, from the bottom of Sentinel Dome to the top, was covered in deep snow drifts, but yet we persevered. From the top of Sentinel Dome you can see the Three Brothers and El Capitan, famous among rock climbers. There were squirrels and chipmunks and birds and old men. We encountered two hale hikers, one 81, the other in his 70s, from Australia and Pittsburgh (respectively). They told us of their trek to Nevada Falls, and said we should check it out. After Sentinel Dome, we drove down to the base of Bridal Veil Falls. The path was completely washed out, forming its own series of baby waterfalls, so we did not go to the top (if the trail even goes that far). The Swinging Bridge trail was also flooded, but we continued down it a hundred yards or so before turning back. The night was spent in Mariposa, CA, at the Best Western.