Saturday, June 12, 2010

Three days in Yosemite National Park

S joined us for a wonderful three-day camping trip to Yosemite National Park. It's very fun going to such a fantastic place with a geologist. Since this is a food blog, I'll illustrate the day-by-day just with food pictures — the 300-picture slideshow is at the end.

On Tuesday we left Berkeley after an early breakfast and drove the four hours to Yosemite. We stayed at the very nice Summerdale Campground, about a mile from Fish Camp and about a mile from the south entrance to the park. After pitching camp, we drove into the park. There are two seasons in Yosemite — winter and road construction — and we were stuck in traffic for a while. We took a lovely three-mile hike leaving from Tunnel View and climbing up to Inspiration Point. That evening we had grilled snapper and a potato salad that I had made the day before.

Wednesday morning we had toast with poached eggs and cherry jam.

We then drove into the Valley, and as we got down from Tunnel View, we realized that we didn't really have enough gas to get out. No matter. After a brief stop at Bridal Veil Falls, where we were completely soaked, we drove to El Portal, which is completely down-hill from the valley along the Merced River, and so required almost no gas. (Getting from the valley to our campsite requires climbing two thousand feet, twice.) So we didn't have time for a long day hike, but nevertheless got a five-mile walk: we saw the meadow, and climbed a mile (and one thousand feet) along the Upper Yosemite Falls trail to the first lookout.

Dinner that night was sweet potatoes, baked in the fire, and bean burgers with ketchup, mustard, red onion, gruyere, and home-made sweet pickles.

I normally do dinners on the fire but breakfasts on the camping stove, but at the end of breakfast Wednesday morning we ran out of propane, preventing only a second pot of coffee. Since the gas station store at El Portal didn't have the right kind of propane for my fancy little backpackers stove, on Thursday and Friday we did breakfast on the fire. Thursday's breakfast was blueberry pancakes with maple syrup and cherry jam.

Thursday was our big hiking day. We started in the Valley, at four thousand feet, and walked the "Four Mile Trail", which is actually almost five miles each direction, to Glacier Point, a thirty two hundred foot climb. I like to run — S says "scamper" — up mountains, and winded myself near the top. But the views were fantastic: Yosemite really is beautiful. For dinner that night we wolfed down penne with tomato sauce, made from onions, garlic, a red bell pepper, home-canned tomatoes, dried tomatoes, herbs from our garden, and a fresh bay leaf from the laurels that we found growing along the hike.

Friday was our last day, but we forgot to take any photos. For breakfast we had scrambled eggs, and then we tried to walk around Mariposa Grove of Big Trees, but got stymied by a lack of parking. Instead, we got on the road, took a short walk in the national forest that surrounds the park, and had a good time at the California Mining Museum in Mariposa. Then a long drive home.

All together, the trip was fantastic. And finally, the slide show of the hikes:

As always, click on the slide show to go to the Picasa web album.

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