Shane FINALLY makes it to The Valley

I don't know why Shane and I never came to Yosemite when we were a bunch of Gumby climbers living in the midwest. I guess we didn't know any better. I have been visiting at least once a year for the past few years, more often if I can pull it off.

Shane finally decided he had to see if for himself, especially since even his parents went there last year. He flew out, I picked him up at LAX and we headed up the 395. We stopped at the usual spots, Lone Pine, Schat's Bakery, etc. For the night we stopped at Hartley Springs past the Mammoth turn off. I wanted to bivy like I normally do but we eneded up staying in a tent. The camp site is nice, clean, FREE, and empty. It would be a great place to camp with the family.

The next morning we stopped at the Tioga Gas Station for some breakfast and were off to Yosemite. I stopped at Olmsted Point and suprised Shane with his first view of Half Dome. Then it was into The Valley. He was shocked at how large everything was. While he was absorbing the size of El Cap, we checked into C4 for 2 nights.

That day we bummed around The Valley floor to see all the shops, especially the Mountain Shop. We visted the visitor's center, the cemetery, saw the "Spirit of Yosemite" movie and several other things.

I don't know where we got the bright idea to do the trail to Half Dome the same day, but about 6 PM we found our self at the trailhead. I think we both hyped each other up and thought it was a good idea. We hiked up past Vernal and Nevada Falls, then it was dark and we rested for a while. The weather was perfect, the stars were out, but we then realized we were tired and it wasn't likely we were going to make the top so we took the Muir Trail down and got back to C4 around midnight. Oh well.

Friday we woke up and walked around The Valley floor taking pictures. I got some great pictures - so good I can't even believe I took them. We drove up to Glacier point and got some more pictures. Notice he lack of hard core climbing and we have been in Yosemite for 2 days.

Click on the pictures for larger versions (possible wallpaper).

We got back from Glacier Point, grabbed some food at the lodge, and caught a climbing movie at the lodge ampitheater about Allen Steck reclimbing the East Buttress a few years back. It was pretty interesting. We thought we were going to be seeing "Vertical Frontier" as that is what the calendars all over said. I'm still not sure what happened to "Vertical Frontier".

That night involved a lot of cigars, wine, beer, and chess. We were up to the early morning hours. This was our last night in C4 and still no climbing!

The next morning we packed up, grabbed some breakfast at the lodge, and finally busted out the gear. We did 1 climb - Pot Belly at Knob Hill. Pretty appropriate for the pace we were going. Either way, we both got up the climb with no problems. Here is a picture of Shane at the top of the climb.

Here I am at the top of the climb.

Well at this point I hadn't showered for about 3 days, so we stopped at the creek by Knob Hill for some swimming. There was this great little pool about 8 feet deep under a water fall.

Now we on our way out of the Valley on the 41, which I had never been on before. It seemed like the trip was pretty much over but we still had a few surprises. We stopped at the Mariposa grove and saw some of the giant trees.

Then we were off to the Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Rail Road. Shane and I were both into model trains growing up. Shane's parents visited the Rail Road last summer and were telling us all about it so we had to check it out. It was pretty cool. We caught the moonlight special which was totally the way to go. For about $35 per person, you get a big steak dinner, a ride on the train, and live music. It was more then we could have expected. There are a few surprises when you are riding the train but you will have to go to find them out yourself, I don't want to ruin them. It was a great time, we got our money's worth.

Well finally we were on our way home. We hadn't accomplished any big goals but we managed to see a lot of the sites in Yosemite and circumnavigated the Sierras. Hopefully this will become an annual thing.