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Open Roads Forum  >  Truck Campers

 > tr: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

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Buzzcut1

Norcal

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Posted: 11/30/14 12:27am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Yosemite
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Yet all together they made for on heck of a journey. You know the saying “ The best laid plans” and.. “if Momma isn't happy no one is”. Then add in “Mamm are you ok? Talk to me?” not to mention really loud folks in campgrounds. That gets offset with the “Wow will you look at that” over and over and Oh my, the Thanksgiving meal at the Ahwahnee is really something...

I will say this. I rarely get a nice sedate road trip in, and come to think of it I wouldn't want one.

Anywhoo it's fall, we are going to the Sierras and the forecast was for changeable weather with the possibility of a real winter storm near the end of the trip. I like to put boy scouts and their be prepared motto to shame. So I put together my camper to ride through anything with ease, extra insulation, warm bedding, chains, air compressors, shovel, axe, saws, extra fuel for the furnace and generator.

On the other side. Good eats. Marinated steaks and chicken, Potato salad, pasta salad, various currey sauces, rice, vegis, Kale salad, good libations, ice cream, Hey an army of one travels on his stomach and I don't do top ramen.

To top off this Orgy of overindulgence we had reservations for two for thanksgiving dinner in the Grand Dining Room of the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite which meant bringing nice clothes.

But I digress or is that digest?

I spent most of the previous weekend putting the gear together, loading the truck up getting the food and drink in place. I always make sure to tell my wife to stage any drinks or snacks she wants on the counter by the back door so I can load them up. Of course it was my fault for not reading her mind and not loading the ice teas she wanted. I did get the wine and snacks that were place on the counter.. But hey that's what roadside markets are for. Buying the stuff you forgot and discovering new and tasty items in their staid. I just roll with it. My counter part? Lets not go there shall we.

Wednesday morning Ruth rode her horse while I loaded the last few items and got ready to hit the highway. In retrospect I do believe I have hit that age where I am going to have to make up menus and lists. As I forgot a few crucial items like cheese for omelets...now what was that I said about Roadside Markets? Yeah I had to hit three of them as those little “oops forgot that” kept creeping into my head.



Anyways by 11:30am we were on the road. Ruth, Me and the furbots ( Jake, Kosmo, and Watson).
We made good time for about 2 miles when we reached the freeway and joined a million other bay area residents trying to squeeze over the Altamont pass. It sort of looked like this

[image]

We decided to top off the Fuel tank in Mariposa. Good thing too. Remember that item about roadside markets? Yep got Ginger ale and then discovered that they sell homemade Ice Cream...we walked out carrying two pints. Chocolate fudge and mixed berry. Neither made it back home..get in me belly.



Oh yeah almost forgot to mention the drive. Probably because of it's lack of noteworthiness. I set the 19.5 tires at 105 psi rear and 85psi front, airbags at 33psi and the Rancho Shocks at 9 all the way around. The truck drove like a dream.

We reached the Arch Rock Entrance Station at 3pm and after purchasing our 2015 Federal Access Pass into Yosemite we went.

It was brisk out

[image]

The light on El Cap was perfect

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As we got to Currey Village that Roadside market thing reared its head again. Luckily the general store had what she wanted.

About 3:45 we were safely ensconced in Upper pines site 6

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Now about my title... Ok I figured late fall, cold, forecast for a storm how crowded could the Valley be?

Human Zoo comes to mind. A veritable sea of Humanity all trying to commune with nature at the same time and for the most part we all failed for at least part of the time

Remember the lyrics “we may be fighting a losing battle but having a lot of fun trying to win” that was us.

Now I'm not antisocial or anything..oh who am I kidding? I most certainly am. I hate crowds but we endured anyways

We grabbed the leashes and took the dogs on a hike in the approaching dusk

[image]

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Back at the beast-mobile It was feeding time at the trough. The Doggies got theirs and we had BBQ Rib Eye Steak, Kale Salad and some of that ice cream from that roadside market in Mariposa. Life was good. Toasty inside and 37* outside.

Did I mention that the Campground was packed? 250 sites and most with 6-8 really loud people in them. Did I mention that the campground no fun police that nit pick every regulation all day long disappear at night so that no one has to worry about the 10pm quiet time or the 7pm generator shut off?

No wonder I am anti social.

Still we slept well. At dawn's early sliver of light Watson made that whine, that unmistakeable Dad take me out or I am going to pee in the camper whine. So I quickly bundled up and off we went.

The Merced River at Dawn, yes we are in a major drought.

[image]

I was going to make a vegi scramble with cheese...that damn list thingy reared its ugly head again. Forgot the dang cheese good thing I can walk to the “roadside store” later in the day. Hey hon, how would you like a fried egg sandwich with grilled maple sausage for breakfast? Ok coming right up.

Being The whole reason we were in Yosemite was to enjoy a feast without having to deal with family and have some us time and neither of us cooking we had booked Thanksgiving dinner in the Grand Dining room of the Ahwahnee... That list thingy reared its ugly head again. Neither of us had a clue as to the exact time we were to be seated and there is no cell service in the Valley so a appetite building hike over to the Ahwahnee was deemed to be the appropriate course of action.

Leashed up the dogs, strapped on the hiking boots and off we went. So it ended up as a 8 mile hike around the Valley and we did discover that seating was set for 3 pm

Washington Column and Half Dome
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The trickle that is Yosemite Falls
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Royal Arches and North Dome
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We dropped the dogs back at the Lance and gussied up then walked back over to the Ahwahnee

[image]

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The grand dining room
[image]

The food was incredible.

We opted to take the shuttle back to the campground as 12 miles of walking had maxed us out.

The upper pines campground was even noisier and folks were having their post dinner drinking festivities.

Friday Morning and Watsons bladder alarm went of like clockwork but we were good with that as we wanted to have an early breakfast then go hike the mist trail to the top of Vernal falls.

The Hike itself is not that long but it is really steep and goes from 4000 feet to 5000 feet in just over a mile with very few switchbacks. The falls itself it just over 300 feet high. In the spring and summer the trail is coated by the spray from the waterfall hence the name “Mist Trail” late fall during a drought it is dry but really cold up there

Round trip it takes about 3 hours if you are in good shape. Unfortunately some folks hiking the trail are not prepared for its rigors or the season.

Looking down on the Merced
[image]

the view down canyon
[image]

Ruth about ¼ of the way up the trail
[image]
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the falls
[image]

[image]

[image]

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Such the view
[image]


It was at this point I noticed a woman that was looking worse for wear. She was too bundled up and had that look. I asked if she was ok and she said that she was cold and wet. Her jacket was too thick to vent off the perspiration and her base layer was soaked so I had her unzip to vent of the moisture which seemed to help and she said she was ok and was going to sit for a bit. We were taking some photos above her and I kept looking down to where she was sitting. Then she wasn't there. Oh******moment. Scrambled back down, she had keeled over. 4 of us started working on her one other EMT and two first responders. Wrapped her in a space blanket and found out she had not been eating or drinking on the trail so I gave her a bottle of gatoraid and a 100gram carbohydrate gel. No way she was going to make it down the trail on her own and we did not have gear to carry her. So. The other 3 stayed with her and me being in the best shape took off with Ruth down the tail for help. There is no cell service so we had to go all the way back to the road and flag down a shuttle bus who used his radio to get the Rangers rolling. It too me over an hour to make the road and SAR 2 hours to get to her. I ordered a 5 watt VHF radio with emergency channel capability tonight for when ever I hit the trail or water from now on.

Back at camp we were beat. 2 days of hiking and close to 20 miles. Took the dogs for a short walk had turkey dinner left overs and tried to sleep though the din of the party goers in the campground.

6 am sharp the Watson alarm went off and walkies it was.

Ruth and I looked at each other, the wind had come up it was starting to rain time. The miners cafe in Mariposa seemed to beckon. Time to go. It took about 30 minutes to button everything up take the dogs for a last walk and head out.

We did use the campground dump station..YAY

I stopped along the road to take a bunch of photos

El Cap
[image]

[image]

Bridlevale Falls and Leaning Tower
[image]

[image]

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As we were driving out there was a constant stream of cars driving in and the Back up to pay the fees at the Arch Rock Entrance station stretched almost a half mile. It was if it was mid summer.

[image]

The detour bridge on 140 to go around a massive landslide.


[image]

[image]


[image]

[image]

Breakfast at the miners cafe was a hoot. I walked in and there were two Cal Fire guys that I had worked with in the Santa Cruz/ San Mateo unit that were now in the Mariposa unit. We shot the breeze for a few minutes, most fun.

All in all we had fun. aside from folks dropping cigarette butts, aluminum cans, paper, plastic on every last trail we walked on (we carried out every last bit we found). And the noise.. oy. Next time I will not go on a holiday week and it better be cold and snowy to keep the crowds back in the city

now where did I put that darn list?

* This post was edited 11/30/14 07:21pm by Buzzcut1 *


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silversand

Montreal

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Posted: 11/30/14 03:59am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Excellent TR ! You left no stone unturned.

It really ticks me off to see all the garbage people drop on the trails, too (from one who develops, designs and builds trail systems in our region) !

Cheers,
S-


Silver
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Bonesquatch

South Texas

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Posted: 11/30/14 06:41am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Great report and awesome karma helping the wet hiker lady. Booooooo for all the loud, obnoxious people that nasty up the outdoors for us misanthropes who prefer to be isolated from he masses.


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languiduck

Suffolk, VA In a van down by the river

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Posted: 11/30/14 06:59am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Very nice TR, thanks for taking the time to show us.


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RICKIM

The Ocean State

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Posted: 11/30/14 07:02am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

A "Most Excellent" TR Buzz....Thank You for sharing with us.

Rick


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gbopp

The Keystone State

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Posted: 11/30/14 07:41am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Very nice. Thanks for sharing.

805gregg

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Posted: 11/30/14 07:47am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Nice, we love Yosemite, and are going to camp there in March hopefully in the snow


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work2fish

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Posted: 11/30/14 08:04am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks for the great trip report. I am often reminded that camping forces us to improvise in ways we are apt to ignore when sitting in the comfort of our homes. There is only so much planning we can do, the rest of the story gets made by our environment and we learn the lessons of adapting to one's surroundings with what we've got on-hand to equip us. I think these are good skills to hone.

I am hoping to be only a couple years away from retirement and am so wanting some peace and quiet as well. So I will be looking for for campsites and seasons that elude the masses. Sorry you missed that, in the evenings anyway. It sounds like the relative solitude of the hikes helped a bit, with the exception of that poor woman who needed your help.

The Thanksgiving meal at Ahwahnee looked nice. Was it expensive?


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mbloof

Beaverton, OR

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Posted: 11/30/14 08:24am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Great TR, both photos and writing enjoyable.

jmtandem

western nevada

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Posted: 11/30/14 08:30am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Good trip report, thanks.


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