From the monthly archives:

August 2011

Yosemite National Park Safety Guide

by Ted on August 30, 2011

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There have been a record number of deaths and injuries in Yosemite this year.  Follow all safety signs the the Park Service has installed.  Make sure you notify someone of your trip plans and expected time of return. 

It is extremely important to take care and precautions when hiking in Yosemite National Park. The area covers hundreds of miles and rescue teams are always searching for lost or injured hikers. It is therefore recommended to follow a few simple rules in order to be safe.

Some injuries may occur as you are on the trail. Factors such as being out of shape dehydration, illness, pulling a muscle, a slip on sand, ice or wet rock may cause bruises, rainstorms or snowstorms can cause hypothermia, downed trees, high waters at stream crossings and animal encounters can be dangerous so take precautions.

If you are on a trail, hiking, it is very common to get lost and lose the trail. Such factors include a rocky or sandy area where the trial is hard to see, following a false trail, mistaking a drainage ditch for the real trail, snow, downed trees, an inadequate or no map, darkness, finding a photo opportunity off the trail and shortcuts all contribute to losing the trail.

Sometimes losing the trail, or hiking off the trail can be a fun a rewarding experience. You should only do this if you are comfortable with a compass and map. Remember; because Yosemite National Park is so big, it is very easy to get lost, even with the most experienced hikers and it is also very common so don’t get discouraged.

Make sure you don’t take off cross-country without knowing what lies ahead. One-way paths i.e. going up or down terrain you can reverse can work but if you get stuck, it can be fatal. No one may know where you are and dehydration, starvation, or exposure may kick in. Loose rock cannot be trusted to use as a foothold and remember it can be next to a large cliff or gushing waters. Swimming in strong currents, wading, or simply filling up your water bottle may be a dangerous affair as the waters can be unpredictable. The dangers of whitewater can be replfect in terms of strong currents, and hydraulic that prevent you from swimming or breathing in it. When standing next to a stream, the  difference cannot be seen sometimes, so you may not know there’s a huge cliff right off of it.

Basic items you should carry with you should be a flashlight, rain/wind jacket, lots of water, food, watch, pen/paper, whistle, first aid kit, decent shoes, and a compass. Together with these things and a little common sense, you should be aware of the dangers and have fun hiking.

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How to Get to Yosemite

by Ted on August 16, 2011

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Yosemite’s great location means that it is highly accessible by car, bus, air or train. Automobiles can enter and exit 24 hours a day. Make sure you check the road conditions prior to entering the park, as they can be quite hazardous at certain times of the year especially if there’s snow or ice present.

When arriving by car, pre-plan your journey and make sure you prepare for worst-case scenarios. Yosemite National Park covers 1200 square miles so it can be easy to get lost or confused. Basic driving directions can be found online. You can find out where to park by viewing the map and locating the visitors parking. Remember that during the months of October to April, it’s required to bring tire chains due to the climate. They are available for rent or purchase at several locations outside of the park.

There are five main entrances to the park. The South Entrance along Highway 41, Arch Rock Entrance along Highway 140, Big Oak Flat Entrance along Highway 120, Tioga Pass Entrance along Highway 120 and Hetch Hetchy Entrance along the Hetch Hetchy Road. Glacier Point Road provides access to Glacier Point in the months of May, June, October and November, and Mariposa Grove Road runs right to Mariposa Grove in the south.

Although you can drive around the park, there are shuttle buses available and strongly recommended. Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System (YARTS) run from hubs outside the park into the valley. They run regularly and operate on a fee-based or free service and connect with Amtrak and Greyhound services. If you arrive by bus, access to other areas of the park is possible. There is also an option of getting around by bicycle, which seems to be more and more of a favorite with the tourists that visit. You can bring your own or they are available for hire inside the park.

The domestic closest airports are Fresno-Yosemite International which is about 2.5 hours south of Yosemite Valley via Highway 41, Merced Airport which is about 2 hours west of Yosemite Valley via Highway 140, Modesto City-County Airport which is 2 hours west of Yosemite Valley via Highway 120 and Mammoth Lakes Airport which is 2.5 hours east of Yosemite Valley via Highway 120 East.

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Dining at Yosemite

by Ted on August 13, 2011

Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite National Park as se...

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Dining at Yosemite

One can take advantage of a number of different dining options whilst staying at Yosemite National Park. From simple campfire food using campfire rings, to beautiful first class restaurants that serve exquisite food.

If simple is what you want, then try eating at some of the snack places that are open. The High Sierra Camps is a favorite amongst backpackers who camp near the High Sierra Camps. You can also make reservations here for dinner. A number of places such as The Pizza Deck, The Taqueria, The Ice Cream and Coffee Corner, and The Curry Bar serve snacks and other light foods that won’t burn a hole in your wallet and are perfect for a short stop off whilst hiking those hills.

There are also a number of restaurants in and around the hotels that are in the park. At the Ahwahnee, one can dine in a grand historic hotel with delicious food served in a relaxed atmosphere. The food isn’t cheap but you will certainly enjoy what’s on offer. You may also go for drinks in the same resort at the Ahwahnee bar around the corner. They offer a full bar service inside and you can sit on the terrace or at the pool.

At Yosemite Lodge at the Falls there are several options for dining and drinking. The Mountain Room offers spectacular dining with spectacular views with a full bar. The Food Court offers breakfast, lunch, and dinners along with snacks to eat there or to go which is perfect for those who wish to take the food for camping picnics.

Curry Village is another good option if one wants to eat buffet style. The restaurant offers an all-you-can-eat service for reasonable prices.

You don’t have to dine right in the Valley to experience delicious food, as a number of other options exist right outside. In Wawona, The Wawona Dining Room offers breakfast, lunch and dinner when the hotel is open and has specials for the holiday periods including Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter. Tioga Road Tuolumne Meadows and the High Country also offer a number of dining options such as The Tuolumne Meadows Lodge, The Tuolumne Meadows Grill and the White Wolf Lodge.

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