Shirley and Bob Visit Yosemite, CA
Saturday - Tuesday, May 20 - 23, 2023

While at home in Oakmont, after seeing the Yosemite waterfalls on the computer, we decided we wanted to go there, given the record rainfalls and snow this year. So we drove to Mariposa, which is most of the way to Yosemite. We walked around the town in the afternoon, stayed at the Quality Inn Yosemite Valley Gateway, and early in the morning, after eating the motel-provided breakfast, left for Yosemite at 7 AM. We had seen warnings about traffic congestion, which is why we left so early, but in fact had no problem getting to Yosemite Valley where we had reserved a cabin with bath.

Saturday, May 20

Got up early, packed the car, and left for Mariposa at 9:40 AM. First 2-3 hours of traffic was awful - stop and go - caused by the shut down of highway 37. After that the drive went well and as we drove we saw so many fields with crops and also hundreds upon hundreds of wind turbines. We made no stops other than for gas in Merced.

We got to our motel and checked in with no problem.

The best part of the drive was 43 miles from Merced to Mariposa with snow-capped Sierras in the distance and fields on all sides of rolling hills with little traffic.

After checking into the motel, we walked into the town of Mariposa. It was very pleasant and we got dinner at Frederick's of Savourys. We each got portabella mushroom stacks and then found a very quiet, pleasant place to eat in a patio at the Methodist Church.

Back at the motel we watched a movie we had seen before and liked: "Once Upon A Time - in Hollywood". We both took showers, planning on getting up early, eating motel breakfast and driving to Yosemite, which we did.

Sunday, May 21


Got up at 5:59 AM, on the road by 7 after eating motel breakfast (Bob eats a waffle). We drive out to Yosemite with no problem (except of course one slow car that would never pull over at "Pullover for slow cars" to let the 8 cars behind get by). Scenery was so beautiful and we got to drive along the south fork of the Merced River which was flowing quite heavily due to this season's excessive rain and snow.

At Yosemite we went into the camp office, but no check-ins were allowed before 11:30, though we were given an idea of where our cabin would be, which looked really good. So we parked our car near there then walked to the shuttle pick up and waited for the shuttle bus. It arrived and took us to the Yosemite Falls trailhead. We hiked to lower Yosemite Falls - absolutely magnificent. We had never in previous trips seen so much water flowing. We took pics of other tourists and they in turn took pics of us (first pic at top of page).

We hiked back to road, then walked to nearby shops and got black bean burgers for lunch, which we ate outside in the beautiful weather. Shirley also bought a cup and a Yosemite shirt. Bob bought a fairly large bag of chocolate covered raisins and ate all of them himself. We also saw a very large crow (raven?), which we would see again and again in the area.

We took the shuttle back to the office and got a cabin with bath assigned to us - 14B. The view from the cabin looked up rock walls with a waterfall flowing. Shirley opened a window in the cabin to shoo away a squirrel that was trying to get in. We then lay down and took naps. Bob is awakened from this nap when the squirrel runs over his legs and jumps to the floor. Shirley opened the door and chased it out and secured the windows very tightly.

Awake from our naps, we take the shuttle to the Happy Isles trailhead and hike up to the bridge at the base of Vernal Falls. Along the way we get views of Half Dome and the Merced River.

Also, Bob talks to a squirrel shown in the next 3 pics. Then as we begin walking away Bob suddenly realizes he has an almond in one of his pockets and goes back and gives it to the squirrel, who is quite appreciative. We also got to see a lizard running up the trail.

Vernal Falls was, again, magnificent with record high flows according to a young woman worker with whom we talked.

The walk back from the falls was very pleasant, with views of another waterfall in the distance. The squirrel we had fed earlier asked us to stop by again to get a good view of the river. While coming down from the falls we met a middle-aged couple going up who told us that seeing us coming down meant they would be able to get up to the falls. We both thought this showed ageism on their part.

After Vernal Fall excursion we came back to "Seven Tents" diner, waited a bit and ate dinner. Shirley was able to hold off two bears. Both a crow and a squirrel were also having dinner, but they had to eat outside.

After dinner we came back to our cabin, got on warmer clothes, and walked in the area, seeing waterfalls quite close to our cabin. We returned to cabin, read, and went to bed. A wonderful first day in Yosemite.

Monday, May 22

In the morning we awoke, Shirley had a cup of tea outside the cabin, and then we went to the nearby diner where Shirley got eggs and potatoes. Back at the cabin Bob had a breakfast of mango, banana, and tangerines which we had brought with us. We also took a couple of photos of falls we could see from near the cabin.

We rode a shuttle to Mirror Lake trailhead, then hiked a path which runs beside Tenaya "Creek" which today looked like a river, quite pretty and fun to hear.

The trail itself was sometimes nice flat dirt, sometimes rocks and/or mud going up and down. Beside the trail were both redwood trees that needed hugging and large rocks that needed support, both of which Shirley provided.

We knew when we got to Mirror Lake because there was a sign that said "Mirror Lake". In fact, the lake does provide a very nice reflection of the surrounding peaks. We noted that on the other side of the creek there was a road which would have been much easier to walk along than the trail we followed.

We hiked back to the trailhead and caught a shuttle that got us to the visitor center where Shirley bought a book Shattered Air about climbers up Half Dome, not all of whom survived. We walked back to the cabin, then later ate lunch at Degnan's Kitchen (hummus sandwiches) and met 3 Italians.

Next we took a shuttle down past the El Capitan Meadows - the meadows were flooded, basically no longer meadows but lakes and ponds. Even flooding out picnic tables as the first photo below shows.

We saw a log in the meadows which Bob could not resist getting up on. The second photo of Shirley at the log shows El Capitan in the background.

When we were closer to El Capitan we could look up and see climbers. There was one climber who appeared to be alone. The three photos below zoom in on him.

Three other climbers were far below him, as shown in the next two photos

We walked along the meadows, thought about going to the next shuttle stop, but when a shuttle bus pulled up, we decided to hop on board. Glad we did. It was miles until the next shuttle stop. The shuttle bus started making unplanned stops, then starting again, then stopping. The driver then announces the bus no longer works, but two other buses are pulling up behind and everyone should get off the bus and go to one of them, which we did.

For dinner we go to Pizza Deck and get a small, veggie pizza - the Mother Curry Pizza. Two young women sit down at our table outdoors. They are visiting from Denmark. They had flown into Minnesota and driven across the country, including visiting the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas. Their next stop was going to be San Francisco, then Los Angeles. Bob broke off bits of pizza crust and fed them to a couple of small, starving squirrels.

Tuesday, May 23

We got up early, packed the car and drove out after turning in our cabin keys. As we drove by the meadows we saw lots of parked cars and a helicopter, so we stopped also to watch. The helicopter was doing practice rescues including taking a person off a cliff on the other side of the valley (the first pic below) and then letting the person off on the meadow near us and picking up another to take to the cliff (second pic). Click on each pic to see related video.

We could not resist pulling over to look at the magnificent Merced River, flowing so heavily.

It was definitely springtime in California with so many flowers in bloom along the side of the road.

There were warnings of rock slides and indeed we did get to see the remnants of one such slide being cleaned up.

We made a stop in Coulterville where we got to see what appeared to be a small wooden tent constructed next to a building.

We drove along what were definitely long and winding roads.

Later in the afternoon, as we approached Napa, we saw such a line-up of cars (fortunately going the other way from us) and a winery/restaurant where we, David and one of his friends once ate.

All in all, an absolutely wonderful trip.

Photos by Shirley and Bob

Adventures of Shirley and Bob

Other Websites
By Bob:

Bob Phillips [phillips bob 27 at yahoo dot com - no spaces]
Santa Rosa, CA
May 30, 2023