December 26, 2019

I awoke early and got my things. They were all asleep at 3 a.m. Being quiet, I left the apartment and motored south on Interstate 5. To a fast food, I misjudged the driveway, and ran up onto a curb. Hitting hard with my front tires, this was a worry. I got a signal with free Wi-Fi, and got the news.

To Oakdale, CA, it was to stop at the fast food to kill some time. The adjacent tire shop opens at 8 a.m. I got service, and they aligned my tires, saying they were in need of some. So, I’d get better mpg for the trip, important to me, and so worth the expense. They had also done an inspection.

Motoring on east on CA 120, it was to take photos ahead as I drove. I can do this safely, and record with quality stills as my dash cam records. I have a camera with one handed operation, and put it down as there were cars approaching. I didn’t record myself driving, as I did this on my 2013 Eight State Loop. No op for no traffic. I’d rather have a with it companion to take photos and video, but there be none.

Passing through Groveland, CA, I made a quick stop at the Rim of the World scenic vista. Then onto the entrance station sign, where people were stopping for photos. Most had cell phones, which can’t be set on the camera stand for selfies. I had my high quality 20 MP 4K Nikon point and shoot, which is great for this.

Onward to the Valley, with fresh snow falling from the trees. I had this all recorded by my 4K dash cam. Then to descend into the valley floor, with no snow. My dash cam recorded the sights ahead, with new views through the thinned out forests. The light was nice for views of El Cap ahead, and also Bridalveil Falls. You can now see Cathedral Spires better.

To the visitor center, where I asked about trail conditions. The Four Mile Trail was closed past a point. So, a bucket list hike foiled. I’d check out the John Muir Trail to the footbridge. I went to the parking at Camp Curry, where the rangers told me of new parking. So, I motored the short distance there, as it was now afternoon.

Hiking then to the Vernal Falls footbridge, I carried my pack, with flashlights. This had been my first Yosemite hike, many decades ago as a kid. We had attempted the Mist Trail, but got soaked without rainwear. Old memories were dim, as it was about 1964. 

I used my iPhone to do 4K video for my You Tube channel, if anyone was interested. I can stream the video as I’m traveling, but no one’s interested. I’d have the current conditions, in even real time, but there is no one to be trusted, or with any interest.

Back to the car, I stopped by the ranger kiosk to let them know that I was back. I had requested for a check if I hadn’t reported back in. I had my phone and PLB, but I don’t remember if I got a signal on the trail, though I recall getting notifications on my Watch.

Parking at the Lodge, I used the restroom, then got a holiday coffee at the new Starbucks. Then, it was the best burger that they had at the updated cafeteria, where you order by electronic kiosks, and they take modern convenience payments or credit card. No long lines as in the past. The El Cap Burger was highly disappointing, all meat and cheese, very Spartan, with no tomato or even lettuce. Bring your own food, as the restaurant isn’t much better.

Motoring down CA 140 westbound to Midpines, CA, where my lodging was, it was somewhat scary in the dark. There was a traffic light at the one way section, then with my navigator, I found the hidden, unsigned turnoff in the dark. Many people would miss it if not for the directions.

Checking into the economy lodging, I found the coed dorm with four other guys. I used an outlet for charging. My Watch had depleted, so I was in need of power. Also my laptop gets low. I got information, and then took a shower. I got a top bunk, so somewhat inconvenient. But it was a major savings, from other lodging, and I had stayed here before.

Not very hungry, I went to the cafe. I got an outlet for my laptop, and got the news. To stream the Sacramento TV station online, this was nice. Ordering cranberry juice, the minimum was $5 for a credit card, so I took two. They took Apple Pay, so I used my Watch for this. I took my time, as many people were on holiday. A festive and noisy dining hall. About closing, I had pie, and went back to the dorm. I’d get up early to do a longer hike.

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