The weather while we were in Coarsegold was mostly gray with intermittent showers over several days. We had originally planned to drive down to Kings Canyon one day but got scared off by the threat of snow in the high Sierras and the requirement to carry chains which we don't own and did not want to purchase at inflated foothills prices. Maybe some other time.
So we did laundry, sat and read and generally relaxed for the first couple of days. By Wednesday we were getting pretty cabin feverish, so in the afternoon we drove up to Yosemite. We set out fairly late in hopes of seeing the critters coming out for their evening nosh but were disappointed in that regard. We drove in the southern entrance around 16:30 and headed east to the Mariposa Grove. This is a stand of redwood trees that was one of the primary justifications for preserving the area during the Lincoln Administration. We had left behind about 20° of temperature coming up out of the valley and it was quite brisk at the grove but very lush and lovely. We walked the dogs around for a while enjoying the Christmasie feel in the air but did not take any of the more extensive hikes because a) we were starting to lose the light and b) I'm still way to fat and out of shape to go traipsing through the woods for long distances.
It was supposed to clear up on Thursday but it fooled us and stayed mostly cloudy. We packed a lunch, fixed up a nice stew in the slow cooker, put it on a timer and left it to do its thing while we went back to the National Park. There was some blue sky between the clouds at midday giving us this view of the valley when we reached the tunnel entrance. You can see it's still quite beautiful and serene... Until you step back about 10 feet in which case you get this:
There were about four tour buses parked at the turnout and I suspect over the course of the day there were rarely less than that. Ah well, I guess it's only fair that we share.
The sun came and went over the course of the day as we drove around the loop road that meanders through Yosemite Valley. It appeared to us that there was less water coming over the falls than three years ago, evidence of the drought conditions in the West. Still, it's hard to beat the beauty of Yosemite even in less than perfect conditions. We ate our lunch in a picnic area, then slowly drove the loop road around the valley floor gazing up at the glacier cut beauty on either side. Small, wispy clouds coalesced and dissolved across the face of Half Dome as the sun ducked and dodged behind their larger brethren.
Vicki wanted to drive up to Glacier Point, but by the time we got to the turnoff it was completely overcast again and you could see that the area around Half Dome was shrouded in clouds, so we decided to forgo the drive up the mountain. Twenty minutes later it was pouring rain and we decided to head home.
Rather than going back out the south entrance we took Highway 140 to Mariposa. About halfway down the mountain the weather cleared up and we had mixed sunshine
again. We had stopped at the mining museum in Mariposa the last time we
came through here. This time,
instead, we stopped for ice cream at a local shop. From Mariposa we
took Highway 49 to Oakhurst which was just a few miles from our
When we opened the door to the motorhome, the smell of beef stew had completely saturated the small area and it was wonderful. It was also about 2 min. until six o'clock so we threw some green beans into the pot and went off to visit with the dog ladies before dinner. The mosquitoes, which we had hardly seen any sign of the last three nights, decided the improvement in the weather meant it was time to come out and feast. That cut the visiting short for our last evening at Park Sierra and we went back to the motorhome to enjoy our slow-cooked dinner. In the morning, we would be off for Pollock Pines.