Monday, June 20, 2016

Trip Report: Yosemite National Park (September 2015)

It has been way too long since my last post (3 year hiatus), my apologies!

Since my last adventure in Xueshan (Snow Mountain), I have been on a few more memorable trips and the most significant was a trip with my wife to Yosemite National Park. A huge tick off my bucket list! This was part of our big annual trip to USA in September 2015. Details are a bit sketchy in my mind now, but here is a quick and dirty report of a place I will never forget. Forgive me too for the grainy photos, due to an iOS update incident, I lost all my US trip photos. The photos here are cropped from my Instagram page. Follow me at @joeyganners.


Yosemite Valley,  September 2015. View from Panorama Trail
Yosemite Valley,  September 2015. View from Panorama Trail

"The mountains are calling and I must go.." 
- John Muir , 3 September 1873

Even as a true blooded, flat-landed, urban Singaporean, my heart truly sings the famous words written by American naturalist John Muir in a letter to his sister. There is something magnetic, magical about being in the mountains, and I answered Yosemite's siren call.

Our visit to Yosemite National Park was made on route from Portland, OR (where we did heaps of cycling, we brought our road bicycles with us!). On our drive, we made a stop to view the Redwoods trees, which is another tick on my bucket list. The mind boggles at how a tree can be so big. Amazing indeed is God's wonderful creation.

Driving down the I-5.
Driving down the I-5. We did not have enough time to take the more scenic 101 highway. Still, pretty stunning scenery. You would never get such a completely flat horizon like this in Singapore!

Large redwood at Jedediah Smith Campground (Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park)
Large redwood at Jedediah Smith Campground (Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park)

We reached Yosemite National Park's Camp Curry (in Curry Village) quite late at night and we were thankful for a comfy cabin to rest in. Camp Curry is very well set up for the needs of visitors. We would have preferred a more adventurous experience of camping in the outdoors but we were too late in booking camping permits. September is usually the height of hiking season so bookings have to be made almost a year in advance. We also wanted to summit Half Dome, but the same reason prevented us from doing so. Need better planning next time. But not being able to summit Half Dome was a blessing in disguise and we used the time to explore more of Yosemite Valley via the a combination of the Four Mile Trail and Panorama Trail (total journey of 21.1km)

Camp Curry. Yosemite National Park
Certainly no curry available here

Four Mile trail. Sentinel Rock
Four Mile Trail offers classic mountain switchback routes and amazing views of Sentinel Rock through the hike up towards the end point at Glacier Point. From Glacier Point, we chose to continue from the trail head of Panorama Trail all the way back down to the Valley.

Black bear cub. Yosemite National Park. Four mile trail
We saw our very first Black Bear cub. This young one caused much concern among us and fellow hikers: everyone was worried about where is Mommy Bear??!!

Yosemite Valley. Merced River. Sentinel Rock. Yosemite Falls
Yosemite Valley and the Merced River from Four Mile Trail. This iconic view of the valley is framed by Sentinel Rock on the left and Yosemite Falls on the left. It was a dry summer so the falls are not visible.

Stunning drop-offs next to the Four Mile Trail

Panorama Trai. Yosemite Valley. Glacier Point
Panorama Trail. The trail head starts from Glacier Point. This trails offered us much peace and solace from the crowds that came up to Glacier Point by bus.

Panorama Trail. Half Dome
The lower half of Panorama were characterised by large size rocks and boulders. Trekking poles offered must needed support going down. We also had great views of Half Dome.

Our entire hike started at around 8am and we ended the day just before 6pm. It was a challenging but simply awesome hike, a definite must-do if you are visiting Yosemite. It is advisable to have reasonable fitness. Pack sufficient water (at least 1.5 litres per person in summer is good), you can refill your water supply at the water fountains at Glacier Point. Trekking poles are highly recommended and a grippy pair of trail shoes / boots with ankle support is a must. Don't wear new footwear on this hike, it is not a trail to test your new pair of shoes on! We sustained our energy through trail mix and energy bars. 

Last tip, don't start your hike without a cup of Yosemite coffee! :) It is a great way to start any hike!

No comments:

Post a Comment