Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Yosemite - Winter 2012

Jenny navigating the rocks near Lower Yosemite Falls
Jenny and I just got back from our second winter trip to Yosemite. Normally we head to the Sierras in spring or summer, but we so enjoyed 2011's snowy sojourn that we had to return to our winter wonderland a year later. So we packed our chains and prepared to brave the elements. Problem was, there was no snow and little ice this time around. We arrived in a period of unseasonably mild weather.

Andy preparing a Lower Falls leap
We still had a lovely time. We rented bikes to cruise around the valley, hiked to the Vernal Falls bridge, trekked through the woods, and climbed the rocks near Bridalveil and the Lower Yosemite Falls. All the while I kept staring up at half dome, imagining the climb I hope to complete in early summer [Jenny's not as thrilled about that plan, but she's game].

Half Dome: our next hiking adventure
We stayed at the Yosemite View Lodge, just outside of the park. Normally we opt for Camp Curry; their tents are comfortable even in wintertime. But Jenny got a good deal on a hotel. Even better, we got a "spa room," which includes an in-room hot tub and fireplace. Best of all, we were joined by three raccoons who scampered from balcony to balcony in search of a meal.

Ice transformed rivers into artwork
Despite the pleasures of the trip, our return home was a bit of a pain. The night before our departure, we blew a tire on 140 remembering that the used car we bought about a year ago didn't come with a lug wrench. Thankfully we pulled over at one of the few spots near Yosemite that get a flicker of cell reception. The next morning we got our tire replaced without too much hassle, even on a holiday. Thus once again we returned to Scotts Valley with happy memories of one of our favorite places.

Yosemite deer awaiting springtime
(Photographs by Andrew and Jenny Wood)

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