Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park, arrived Monday, June 18 and spent two nights in the Valley Floor at Upper Pines before catching the hikers shuttle bus up to Tuolumne Meadows.

Before we went up to the meadows we hired a raft for a three mile ride down the Merced river. This was cool craic and really enjoyable down the river, stopped for a swim too.

We got the bus up to Tuolumne Meadows which is fantastic although at 8,600ft it’s tough at first on the lungs and got cold at night. The meadows are really nice although it was very dry last winter, the ranger said they only got 28% of normal snow fall. This has reduced the usually flower coverage of the meadows.

Up in the meadows we just relaxed as the altitude took a while to get used to but we managed a hike around the meadows which is more of a walk. Also we hiked up Lembert Dome which is at 9,450ft (2,880m), but only about 800ft up from the meadows.

Top of Lembert Dome

We got the bus back down to the valley and are here for a few days before continuing our trip.

We both hiked up half dome which was a long, difficult and steep hike. About 14 miles (22.5km) from our campsite round trip and very tough. We got up at 05:20 and started our hike about 06:20 and we reached the top around 14:00 before we started our descent back to camp, arriving at 21:00. So a full day hike but the views were amazing. Most of the hike is up as the dome is 8,836ft (2,693m) high and from the valley floor is 4,800ft (1,463m). Considering that the highest mountain in Ireland, Carrauntoohill is only 3,409ft (1,039m) it is a lot of altitude and your lungs really struggle at times.

Coolest thing we did at Yosemite was the rock climbing which was really great and we highly recommend it for anyone who goes to Yosemite. We did it with the Yosemite Mountaineering School which have all the equipment and shoes (even my size) and show you the ropes, pardon the pun.

Sequoia Shuttle

Sequoia National Park was amazing, really enjoyed the week and we were able to save a few hundred dollars by taking the new Sequoia Shuttle (www.sequoiashuttle.com) from Visalia. The bus operates each morning from many stops in Visalia and Three Rivers in California from 07:00 to 13:00 and it takes less than two hours to reach Sequoia National Park, it return from the park between 14:30 and 18:30. A return ticket only costs $10 which includes the park entrance fee, a great way to see the park. The internal shuttle bus in the park lets you travel freely around the park quickly.

The bus saved us from renting a car for the week which would have cost a few hundred dollars, we highly recommend the bus for hikers and backpackers. Although you have to pre-book the bus online or by phone as it is not possible to walk on so some planning is needed.

The park’s internal bus is great and the staff are really helpful and are always on the look out for bears to show you. Buses run from 09:00 to 18:30 each day and are all wheelchair accessible and you can also bring your bike too, each is equipped with a bike rack.

Sequoia National Park

Very cool, saw lots of bears too including one which passed right beside our campsite as we were reading. The trees are very, very big but lots of other cool things too like Moro Rock, Tokopah Falls and the General Sherman of course. I will post some photos and update all posts soon as we have the comforts of a hotel for the next two nights, oh a soft bed!

Will be update soon.

Some of the photos now updated not all Sequoia yet though. Also it’s very warm here on the local news about it as it hits 102f/38c Irish bodies aren’t built for that type of heat. As we head north is should get cooler.