Yosemite done differently



Description:

Yosemite’s not all about searching for parking, going to see the most popular waterfall, and waiting in line for an ice cream cone. Some folks have figured out some of the cooler things to do in a Yosemite visit and we’ll share them here. It starts with your basecamp at the locally cherished Yosemite Bug Hostel, or “The Bug” as we call it. This place has funk and soul, is a great spot to meet fellow travelers from many countries, to have a great meal, get an inexpensive bed, and from which to make forays with companions into Yosemite. There’s often live music and there’s always a fun vibe. You can catch the public transport just down the driveway and not have to drive into the park (see www.yarts.com), or you can hop in with carpool and hiking partners. It’s not quite an hour up the gorgeous Merced River canyon into Yosemite Valley. In the summer, especially, there is so much going on in Yosemite. Take a free art class, sign up for an easy rockclimbing lesson with an excellent school, watch the sunset from a remote yet accessible prominence, be one of the few to visit Yosemite’s shy twin sister, or eat at what is probably the nation’s very best gas station mini-mart. Unexpected? Yes. Worth doing? Oh, yes. Yosemite? Most definitely!

user rating

Author: Pete Devine


Day 1 - Midpines


Follow Highway 140 up into the Sierra, through the Gold Rush town of Mariposa and on into Midpines to the Bug. This place is an unexpected locale of culture and community which makes a great base for Yosemite excursions.


1

Yosemite Bug Lodge & Hostel

expert pick

Location:

6979 Hwy 140
Midpines, CA 95345

Contact:

tel: 1 209 966 6666
fax: 1 209 966 6667


2

Cafe at the Bug

expert pick

Location:

6979 Highway 140
Yosemite Bug Lodge
Midpines, CA 95345

Contact:

tel: 1 209 966 6666
fax: 1 209 966 6667


Day 2 -


Check the YARTS schedule at the Bug office and catch the bus up into the park. Your ticket includes park entry. Get off in Yosemite Village by 10 a.m. and head to the Yosemite Art and Education Center for a free art class with an expert plein aire teacher. It can't hurt to call the day before to sign up: 209/372-1442. No experience is needed at all. Bring your own materials or buy some at the center. Classes go outside until two, so you'll want to bring a daypack with lunch, water and sun protection. This is a calmly focused way to get introduced to Yosemite Valley, meet some other students of the arts and to create some meaningful and attractive souvenirs of your visit to this amazing canyon. At the end of the day, catch that YARTS bus in front of the Vistor Center.


1

Yosemite Art and Education Center

Location:

Yosemite Village
, 95389

Contact:

tel: +1 209 372 1442


Day 3 - Yosemite National Park, Yosemite


Eat a good breakfast for today's activities, then put water, food and an extra layer into the car. Today you're becoming a rockclimber. Yesterday you called the Yosemite Mountaineering School to register for a beginner 'Intro to Climbing' class and today's the day to get vertical (209/372-8344). Drive up into Yosemite Valley and follow signs for Curry Village. Be there by 8:15. Make sure to remove any food from your car and stow it in a bearproof locker. A day's class with YMS runs $117 and is well worth it for the expert instruction, the latest in hardware and a well-honed curriculum that will get anyone up the rock. Have fun and don't forget to breathe. When you're done, swing into Degnan's Deli and have them make you a sandwich. Add some celebratory treats and beverages, and make the drive up Highway 41 to the Glacier Point Road. Drive out to the Sentinel Dome trailhead and haul your picnic dinner a mile up to the top of the dome. You brought your headlamp, right? A tired mountaineer deserves a reward at the end of a hard day on the granite, so you get a spectacular sunset over the Coast Range - a view no dinner with royalty could match. Adrenaline, honestly tired muscles, some finger scrapes, food, liquids, hearty companions - the stuff we live for. Watch out for deer on the drive back to the Bug.


1

Yosemite Mountaineering School

Location:

Southside Drive & Happy Isle Loop Road
Yosemite National Park, CA 95389

Contact:

tel: +1 209 372 8344


2

Sentinel Dome Trail

Location:

P.O. Box 577
Yosemite, CA 95389

Contact:

tel: 209-372-0200
fax: 209-372-0220


3

Degnan's Delicatessen

Location:

9015 Village Drive
Yosemite Village
Yosemite National Park, CA 95389

Contact:

tel: 1 209 372 1000


Day 4 - Yosemite National Park, Yosemite


It's a big park (the size of Rhode Island) and you'll put a few miles on your wheels today. Depart the delightful Bug, head up to the edge of Yosemite Valley, but go north where the signs indicate Highway 120. Follow 120 northwest back out of the park again, and about a kilometer outside the park entrance go right where the sign says Hetch Hetchy. Follow this winding old road through forest and meadows to a park entrance station that sees but a tiny fraction of Yosemite's visitors. Once through here, you follow an old railroad grade up and over a saddle then prepare to be awestruck: here's another ginormous canyon! Soaring cliffs, leaping waterfalls - and few people- and, oh, yeah, the bottom of this canyon is filled with water. You've found the famed Hetch Hetchy Valley on the Tuolumne River. Park near the dam and walk across and through the rock tunnel. It's a beautiful canyon even with the big cement dam and the pool of water where there was once a meadow with a meandering river. The water and carbon-free electricity go to San Francisco where they serve millions -was it worth it? The debate continues today. From Hetchy, drive back to Highway 120 and head back into the park, uphill to Crane Flat where there's a gas station and store. If you feel like walking two miles round trip there's a small grove of giant sequoia trees, including the world's first tunnel tree. Now drive east on 120 towards Tioga Pass. After climbing through the vast coniferous forest for some miles, you'll start to get endless view of acres and acres of bare granite. A stop at the Tuolumne Meadows Visitor Center is a good place to learn about the high country. Continue over Tioga Pass, the highest highway pass in California, and make the steep descent to Lee Vining on the shores of the strange Mono Lake. Just before you reach the lake you'll find the famous Tioga Gas Mart, or what most locals call "The Mobil." You will not believe what awaits you inside: some truly killer chow comes from this little restaurant counter. It's not unusual to find 1-200 people dining here, sitting on the grass outside, watching the sunset colors over Mono Lake, or dancing to live music. You cannot go wrong with the food here, but the fish tacos are a special favorite. Bunk at the Tioga Motel just north of town, or if you're a camper, there are Forest Service campgrounds nearby and miles of dirt roads on public land where dispersed camping is allowed. Not much further south, near Mammoth Lakes are a series of delicious natural hot springs - if you're nice to the locals, maybe they'll sketch you a map of how to find one of them. Whew - who knew Yosemite had all that happening!?


1

Hetch Hetchy Reservoir

user rating

Location:

North end of Evergreen Road
O'Shaugnessy Dam
Yosemite National Park, CA 95389

Contact:

tel: +1 209 372 0200


2

O'Shaughnessy Dam

user rating

Location:

North end of Evergreen Road
Hetch Hetchy Reservoir
Yosemite National Park, CA 95389

Contact:

tel: +1 209 372 1000


3

Tioga Road

Location:

P.O. Box 577
Yosemite, CA 95389

Contact:

tel: 209-372-0200
fax: 209-372-0220


4

Tuolumne Meadows Visitor Center

user rating

Location:

Hwy 120 East
(Yosemite Valley)
Yosemite National Park, CA 95389

Contact:

tel: +1 209 372 0263


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