National Parking (1), and the Return of Wonder Dog (almost)

In 1970 my father took a bold step and told me that we would be climbing Half Dome in Yosemite National Park. We would be backpacking in with one night before, and one afterwards. We managed to get to the top, but halfway up the cable ladder, I realized that my Kodak Instamatic Camera was left behind in my backpack, on the last horizontal surface before the top of Half Dome. No matter, said my father and we did the deed anyway.

I think about my younger self, and how my father might have had difficulties with that teenager back then. He was only 13, soon to be 14 and was beginning to think of hiking as a positive and exciting thing.

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My schoolmates used to ask me when the flood was coming, as I guess I was growing just a bit too fast for my clothing to keep up?

My Epic Journey is now taking me to the Jewel of the National Parks, Yosemite! In that regard I have the feeling that Wonder Dog is about to make his appearance once again, but in the guise of the younger me.

If this is your first visit to my blog, let me introduce you to the original Wonder Dog:

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Notice his trusting stare, his stress free disposition, and his ready to take on any challenge or new visage!

He’s been absent for a while, but again I feel his presence around me. He seems to be sitting on the seat next to me, looking forward to the next new adventure, or the opportunity to take a new nap.

My journey to Yosemite National Park takes me down Highway 49 from Placerville to the town of Sonora:

highway49

The road continues from Sonora, but this is where I lost my connection to the outside world, which means that the hilly countryside blocked out my Internet for the next few days. Most people being used to this connection to the civilized world might just turn tail and head back to where it is safe, but I was bound and determined to visit Yosemite again, cost what it will!

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Big Oak Flat Info Center, located just inside Yosemite National Park.

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My/our first stop was the Tuolumne Grove Sequoia Redwoods:

http://www.yosemitehikes.com/tioga-road/tuolumne-grove/tuolumne-grove.htm

This 2.5 Miles Round Trip, is located just 1 mile (1.6 km) east of the Crane Flat Campground which I had reserved and paid for one overnight, from Denmark no less.

There were too many cars to park at the trail head, but the walk was level (so far) and our enthusiasm was high.

tuolumne-grove

Source: http://www.redwoodhikes.com/YosemiteNP/Tuolumne.html

Downhill was easy. We were smiling and looking silly, while the people heading back up were panting and not looking as if they were enjoying themselves. Since I last visited the Redwoods, the restrictions on protecting them have increased, shown by the pathways routed around the trees, not letting us put our arms around them, counting the lengths, and being amazed at the circumference.

I told my younger self about the other groves of Redwoods located in the Sierra Nevada, but he/I just marveled at their size.

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They make the other large trees, the Red Firs and the Jeffrey Pines appear to be dwarfs, compared to these giants of the forest.

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I had a bit of trouble orienteering myself among my old friends, but I took some bearings along one of the lesser lucky trees, and made my way to the other sights on this mini-journey!

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Trees made into tunnels don’t get to live as long as their untouched counterparts, but then someone thought of a way to make a buck back then, didn’t they. The original road, The Big Oak Flat Road, came through this forest, but was eventually closed due to rockfalls along some of its stretches.

No matter, but it did make for a quiet trip down into this small grove of Giant Sequoias.

We became the less-happy walkers on our way back up again. Wonder Dog Incarnate seemed to take it all in stride, having youth on his side and all. We were not to take anything from that forest, so we let the Sequoia Cones lie, until someone else chose to make that decision.

The campground, named Crane Flat, was waiting for us after our excursion. Dinner was prepared and our very, not especially camouflaged tent was set up, and the food, and other smelly things being placed in the metal Bear-Proof Boxes.

crane-flat-tent

The day was now over, but there was a new one that awaited me/us tomorrow.

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The bears were welcome to come, but I had to initial a form stating that I had followed the procedures, or else I would be liable for a fine up to $5000.

I slept as good as could be expected, knowing that I had done what I had set out to do, even having reserved my campsite on-line, so many months ago in Denmark.

crane-flat-reservation-shortened

Things have indeed changed, since I last was here. The Internet has grown, and the trees have as well, but I was still able to enjoy the Yosemite Park, I had once known so well….

Next blog: National Parking in Yosemite Valley. Chaos became my first name!

 

 

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