Posted by: GeekHiker | March 5, 2008

Yosemite In Winter Trip Day 6: So Hard To Leave

(Went a little picture-happy on this one; hope you don’t mind.)

Our last day in the park would have been a lovely day to sleep in until check-out time from the hotel. After all, we had no place we needed to be, and we were on vacation.

Unfortunately, we had arrived back at our rooms the previous night to discover a note on our door informing us that PG&E was shutting off the power at 8:00. As such, we yet again set an early alarm for the morning so we could shower, breakfast and pack the car before the lights went out.

Oh, well.

Day 06 - Hotel View

Early morning view of the Merced River from behind our room

Heading into the park one last time, we veered up Highway 120 and took the turn off for Crane Flat to get gas. We found the deserted station, each pump having been carefully cleared of its covering of snow, and fueled up.

Heading back down the 120, we made the turn off for Foresta, a location I’d learned of on a photo trip in Yosemite many years before. Driving down the narrow road (only a single lane was cleared of snow), we stopped at the old barns originally built in early 1880’s and later restored by the Park Service.

Day 06 - Foresta Barn 1

One of the old Foresta Barns

We trudged around in the snow, following the foot prints of others, snapping photos of the barns and the surrounding snow-covered pasture.

Day 06 - Foresta Barn 2

The other Foresta Barn and snowy pasture

I loved photographing the corrugated roof and how the snow had layered and frozen on it, then slowly slid off in one giant sheet like a frozen waterfall.

Day 06 - Foresta Barn 3

Barn and corrugated roof. A bit cold to use the picnic tables in front

Day 06 - Foresta Barn 4

Snow “cascading” off the roof

Jumping back in the car, we meandered back towards the valley, stopping at a viewpoint along the way.

Day 06 - Valley View Hwy 120

Distant El Capitan and Half Dome from along Highway 120 as it descends towards Yosemite Valley

After passing (for the last time, thankfully) through the construction area again, we parked by the visitor center and took the shuttle to Yosemite Falls.

Day 06 - Shuttle Stop

Even a bus shelter looks better in winter, don’t you think?

Slipping and sliding our way up the trail, passing by a maintenance crew member throwing sand onto the really slippery spots (oh, the glamor of working for the National Park Service (kidding aside, you really have to appreciate the men and women in maintenance)), we headed up the main pathway towards the falls. If you ever go, be sure to appreciate this view: the trees were planted here specifically to frame the falls for pictures!

Day 06 - Upper & Lower Falls

Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls

We eventually, and without (amazingly) falling down, reached the bridge in front of Lower Yosemite Falls. Being winter, the flows were low, but come the spring melt, it should be spectacular. The darker areas on the photo above show how big the falls are in spring.

Day 06 - Lower Falls

Lower Yosemite Falls

Heading back down, we continued enjoying the winter quiet and snapping photos along the way. Without the crowds of summer, covered in snow, the Yosemite Valley is a tranquil, peaceful place.

Picking up the car again, we headed over to the Ahwahnee to have a late lunch in the nearly deserted dining room. We both enjoyed absolutely fantastic sandwiches, but they seemed awfully skimpy on the fries. Our fear were allayed when our waitress brought out a basked of fresh, hot, perfectly cooked ones since they “just needed a little longer to cook.” Bliss.

Day 06 - Ahwahnee Dining Room

Nearly deserted Ahwahnee Dining Room

With dusk coming on in only a couple of hours, we started making our way for the exit (we’d be heading out of the park via Highway 41), with multiple photos stops along the way.

Day 06 - Half Dome From Bridge

Famous View of Half Dome & the river from highway bridge

Day 06 - Raven

A bold raven on the back of the truck. A moment later, he decided to use the bumper as a lavatory…

As you might imagine, Yosemite is a hard place to leave.

Day 06 - Snowy River

Snowy Merced River

Day 06 - Last Tunnel View

Our last view of the valley from Tunnel View

Heading out Highway 41, we again stopped at Jimboy’s for dinner, where I discovered my truck had taken on a two-tone look:

Day 06 - Two-tone truck

No, really, it’s a BLUE truck!

Many hours of driving later, we arrived back in LA, took in the essential belongings, and promptly crashed.



  1. Wow, love the pics. Especially of the falls. So what are you saying, cars aren’t supposed to look 2 toned?? hah, I should wash my truck, since it has that look to it right now.

  2. The cascading-snow pick is spectacular.

    I’ve never been to Yosemite, but if it’s anything like my drive in/around Rainier a few years back — then I understand exactly how you feel about not wanting to leave!

  3. Great pictures! Sorry you didn’t get to sleep in on the last day but sounds like it was a great time!

  4. I love Yosemite!! Thank you for the pictures. It’s been far to long since I’ve been there. :-/ I’m sorry I haven’t commented lately!! I’m still reading, just to tired to comment these days. 🙂

  5. Nice pictures. I especially liked the snow cascade pic – very nice. While it would have been nice to sleep in, you would have been rushed the rest of the day and you probably got to do/see more.

  6. dobegil – personally, I like the look on my truck. Means I’ve been using it as a truck, which is a rare thing in LA…

    Aaron – Heh, for me it’s that way, it seems, most of the places I go.

    Ruby – Thanks. It was a darn good trip, at that.

    *kb* – Go back soon, if you can. Glad to know you’re still stopping by. 🙂

    Homer-Dog – Sleep in or no sleep in, there’s just never enough time, it seems…

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