Yosemite Day 4: New Years

Sorry for taking forever to post this, it’s been a busy few weeks, and I just haven’t found the time to write something up.

After the long hike the day before it was time for something more chill for the group as a whole. We decided what would be the most fun would be to drive out to Tuolumne Meadows with a stop at Olmsted Point since the Tioga Pass was unusually free of ice and snow and open despite it being winter. We then planned to hopefully make it back in time to do a bit of ice skating at the rink down at Curry Village within the Park before driving out to Glacier Point for sunset and back to our cabin for some tri tip roast! Of course nothing ever quite  goes to plan does it?

We got up and out at the normal time and made our way towards Tuolumne Meadows. We didn’t have a full tank and wanted to avoid paying a premium for it. Jose’s car is not the most fuel efficient thing out there, and he doesn’t exactly hyper mile it either. Our understanding was that there was a gas station out at Tuolumne and one at Crane Flats about half way. We figured we’d see how far we could go so we didn’t overfill. As we passed Crane Flats though we saw a sign that said no gas for the next 63 miles. At the time we didn’t think much of it, but as we got further along we started to think, maybe the Tuolumne Meadows wasn’t open.

As we were driving we saw this picturesque little frozen lake. We had no idea what it was called, but decided to make a stop. Walking down to the lake we found it was pretty shallow in places with grass sticking out. We tested the ice and found it was quite thick, you could see it was frozen right down to the ground. Me and Shintaro ventured out where it was clearly safe, it was kind of fun walking over marsh. Shintaro though took it a bit further and walked out where it would be much deeper, clearly not afraid of being wet to the waist in freezing water. I managed to goad Beth to walk out on the ice a little where it was safe and she nearly fell. While we were there a number of other cars parked and came down to have a look for themselves and we headed on our way.

Onward and we finally arrive at Olmsted Point, it’s much further than we expected and we’re definitely not going to make it back to Crane Flats if we go on to Tuolumne, so we ask someone who seems to have come from that direction if the gas station is there, and she tells us it was closed for the winter. Which kind of makes sense, if it could close the Tioga Pass any day now, why would you want it stocked full of gas and supplies.

We decide we’ll walk around Olmsted Point for a bit and then head back. From Olmsted Point you can see most of the Yosemite Valley’s favored sights. Not to mention just the natural beauty of the area, with stunning views that would fit in perfectly with the top of a major hike anywhere else in the park.

We made our way back down to the park unable to go any further, stopping along the way at the gas station in Crane Flats which was as cheap as we had paid outside of Yosemite. What a mistake! If we had filled up on our way in we would have been fine and not over payed either! Oh well that’s life.

We decided that before we went ice skating we should eat. Jose was a bit worried about skating anyway and it would be good to get him more comfortable with the idea so he didn’t chicken out. Unlike a couple days before, we ate in the cafeteria, and the food was serviceable, but the deli we had eaten at before was better in my opinion. We then caught the bus to Curry Village further in the park.

The skating rink was really cool, open air and quite cold. We didn’t get a chance to head out on it though, we arrived right before the Zamboni was to go out and resurface the ice. The rink wouldn’t be open for another hour! We decided with time running out to just stop in at Bridalveil falls on our way to Glacier Point.

There is something about Waterfalls that is just fun. I’m not sure it is. Shintaro and Jose went up and climbed over the rocks up to the first of the pools. After having done it at Yosemite Falls I wasn’t especially motivated, and I had my camera with me so I decided it safer to just go hang out with Beth and keep her company while they went up. I wasn’t bored, the people there were pretty entertaining: the large Korean family taking group photos, the old southern gent with his cane moving up a little way on the rocks, the young girls clearly out of their element trying to climb from rock to rock.

Glacier Point was positively amazing. The view was gorgeous, and the sun was setting at an angle that mostly worked to light up halfdome and other formations. As the sun went over the horizon we started to pack up and leave, but I guess the show was just starting as the colors started to really come in brightly. Now mostly out of view we could just appreciate how the warm colors of the clouds. It was a good day even if things didn’t go to plan.

Back at the cabin I cook the tri tip, though I had lots of trouble getting the white rice quite right, between mostly using a rice cooker at home and the altitude, I think I didn’t use enough water. Everything turned out mostly fine though the marinade hadn’t gotten that deep into the tri tip so it wasn’t as good as normal.

We then passed the time playing a card game called Cards Against Humanity and drinking wine and champagne before the new years coverage started.

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