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Author Topic: Yosemite Alert  (Read 10201 times)
Hank
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« on: March 09, 2008, 11:47:03 AM »
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I broke away from visiting my brother in nearby Modesto for a quick visit to Yosemite, planning an overnight for more shooting.

The day was in the 60's and the water was starting to move, even if there was no new greenery and snow was abundant in some areas of the valley floor.

While shooting conditions were good, the human circumstances weren't. In a nutshell, ICK!!!!

The park service is doing much needed road repair and I'm happy and supportive for all that. But in order to do it they closed the road entirely along the east side of the valley and have turned the road opposite into a 2-way. The same numbers of people are jammed into half the space with half the parking. People were literally jostling each other for photos. Picture the tunnel parking lot with three busloads of tourists, but also imagine the same crowding anywhere you could park in the whole valley.

As I said, ICK!

I'll go back for sure, but I won't be doing so on a weekend. I'll also arrive early so I can park my truck where I want, then hike into areas where the road is closed. Should be delightful, but it's going to take time to get around.

I'm not complaining about the NPS by any means. I really appreciate those folks and the work they're doing in the valley, but you'll have to plan ahead and use strategy on visits for the time being.

BTW- There was road damage on Hwy 141 and road repair on Hwy 120, resulting in one-lane road along with automated traffic lights on both those approaches to the park. As I recall the light on 120 is set on a 15 minute cycle and the one on 141 is on a half hour cycle. Allow extra time for the drive.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2008, 11:48:16 AM by Hank » Logged
Lisa Nikodym
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« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2008, 12:45:57 PM »
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I was there on a Friday about a month ago, and, yes, the road closures and delays were annoying.  Things weren't that bad when I was there, though, being a month earlier (thus fewer crowds) and a weekday (also thus fewer crowds).  There were very few people there then, so the parking areas were mostly empty.

I imagine that the very sunny, warm weather the last week or two here in Northern California has brought out the weekend-trippers in greater numbers than usual for this time of year, and the park service was probably not ready for handling them well yet.  I'm sure the road work in the valley will be finished by the time peak tourist season arrives.

Lisa
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Hank
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« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2008, 01:34:30 PM »
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Yeah.  The Parkies I chatted with said much the same thing.  I don't envy them dealing with the crowds and traffic in the interim.  Patience of saints seems to be a job qual.  I really respect their ability to deal with it.  I wouldn't make it through a day, much less a pay period.
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kaelaria
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« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2008, 03:22:54 PM »
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That project was well under way when I was there in November.  

One thing you must remember about that park is that it's just not meant for cars.  If you don't want day hikes, you won't see much of anything there, even with the roads all open.

Yes the 6 or so tourist spots will be jam packed - but do you really want the same shots everyone else simply must have as they pass by?
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Hank
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« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2008, 03:39:37 PM »
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That project was well under way when I was there in November. 

One thing you must remember about that park is that it's just not meant for cars.  If you don't want day hikes, you won't see much of anything there, even with the roads all open.

Yes the 6 or so tourist spots will be jam packed - but do you really want the same shots everyone else simply must have as they pass by?
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Roger that.  

Yesterday you couldn't even find legal places to park and leave your rig behind.  But all my favorite spots on the opposite side of the valley are deserted right now and well worth any effort to get to them.  I just wouldn't recommend day trips with the expectation that you're going to visit many of the locations that are cut off right now.  I forgot to ask, but due to the lack of bikes on the closed roads, I'm betting that it's foot traffic only.
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Lisa Nikodym
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« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2008, 05:23:46 PM »
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One thing you must remember about that park is that it's just not meant for cars. If you don't want day hikes, you won't see much of anything there, even with the roads all open.

I've been going to Yosemite since I was a very small child, and Yosemite Valley *used* to be meant for cars, and still is but to a much lesser extent.  Every time something gets renovated, they cut down on car access & parking a little bit more in order to discourage cars and crowds.  Now it's in an unfortunately in-between state where they're aren't making it easy for cars, but they aren't giving people very good alternatives either (yes, there is a shuttle bus, but it's often overcrowded and you have to find somewhere to stash your car first, which can be difficult as Hank has found).  It's a half-hearted attempt at improving the environmental conditions of the valley, but it looks to me like a half-hearted attempt is much less functional than either a full-fledged attempt (giant parking garages for everyone at the park boundaries and plenty of busses to move people around) or nothing at all (accept the cars and provide plenty of access & parking).

Lisa
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kaelaria
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« Reply #6 on: March 09, 2008, 05:43:44 PM »
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A nice fantasy, but in reality there is barely enough money to do what they do now.
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Hank
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« Reply #7 on: March 09, 2008, 05:45:04 PM »
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Good insight Lisa.

I went from 1964 to 2004 without visiting Yosemite, so the return visit was a bit of a shock to say the least!  I really appreciate the park's efforts within their budget constraints, but the interim is most definitely painful.  Worth the pain though, both for the sake of current visits or in anticipation of some better circumstances in the future.  I went through the before and after process on public transport in Grand Canyon NP and Zion NP, and the outcome was worth all the hassles in between.  After those experiences I'd support a complete closure of the Yosemite Valley to cars faster than a hummingbird's heartbeat.  In both GC and Zion it's really nice now to get off the buses and walk between the stops.  At most you'll see a cyclist or two, while in the immediate vicinity of the stops its pure Disneyland.
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Lisa Nikodym
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« Reply #8 on: March 09, 2008, 11:21:32 PM »
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I should add a note to those who haven't been there but were thinking about it sometime...

If you get away from the roads and about a half-mile or more down most any trail, the crowds drop dramatically.  If you go in the summer peak season, that's OK too; just avoid the main valley and instead visit the "high country" part of the park (accessible from highway 120), which is only open in the summer (the road is closed under snow the rest of the year), and again the crowds drop dramatically if you're willing to walk a little ways from the roads.  The valley may be the most famous and dramaic part of the park, but the high country is quite ridiculously scenic too, and much less crowded.

The valley is also quite uncrowded in the winter (December-February), and extraordinarily beautiful if you catch it shortly after a storm when there's fresh snow on the trees.

Lisa
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kaelaria
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« Reply #9 on: March 09, 2008, 11:24:29 PM »
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HWY 120 is certainly not 'summer only'.  It's open as long as weather permits.  I was on it in late Nov. for some spectacular shots!
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Lisa Nikodym
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« Reply #10 on: March 10, 2008, 11:17:38 AM »
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HWY 120 is certainly not 'summer only'. It's open as long as weather permits. I was on it in late Nov. for some spectacular shots!

True, sometimes.  It all depends on when the snow first arrives, and when it's mostly finished melting.  Sometimes it closes as early as late September, sometimes as late as early December, though most often sometime in October.  It can open in May in a light-snow year, or early July in a very heavy-snow year.  Just don't *count* on it being open outside July & August!

Lisa
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Hank
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« Reply #11 on: March 10, 2008, 09:45:57 PM »
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You're referring to the Tioga Pass road aren't you Lisa?
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Lisa Nikodym
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« Reply #12 on: March 11, 2008, 11:34:27 AM »
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You're referring to the Tioga Pass road aren't you Lisa?

Yes.

Lisa
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gdanmitchell
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« Reply #13 on: March 11, 2008, 11:09:55 PM »
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On the other hand...

I was there in early February after quite a bit of snow had fallen. I simply walked across the snow-covered crossover road to the Northside Drive (not east side...) and enjoyed beautiful conditions and relative solitude - and got some nice photographs of Horsetail Fall and El Cap meadow under snow but without the usual crowds.

Dan

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I broke away from visiting my brother in nearby Modesto for a quick visit to Yosemite, planning an overnight for more shooting.

The day was in the 60's and the water was starting to move, even if there was no new greenery and snow was abundant in some areas of the valley floor.

While shooting conditions were good, the human circumstances weren't. In a nutshell, ICK!!!!

The park service is doing much needed road repair and I'm happy and supportive for all that. But in order to do it they closed the road entirely along the east side of the valley and have turned the road opposite into a 2-way. The same numbers of people are jammed into half the space with half the parking. People were literally jostling each other for photos. Picture the tunnel parking lot with three busloads of tourists, but also imagine the same crowding anywhere you could park in the whole valley.

As I said, ICK!

I'll go back for sure, but I won't be doing so on a weekend. I'll also arrive early so I can park my truck where I want, then hike into areas where the road is closed. Should be delightful, but it's going to take time to get around.

I'm not complaining about the NPS by any means. I really appreciate those folks and the work they're doing in the valley, but you'll have to plan ahead and use strategy on visits for the time being.

BTW- There was road damage on Hwy 141 and road repair on Hwy 120, resulting in one-lane road along with automated traffic lights on both those approaches to the park. As I recall the light on 120 is set on a 15 minute cycle and the one on 141 is on a half hour cycle. Allow extra time for the drive.
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G Dan Mitchell
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Lisa Nikodym
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« Reply #14 on: March 11, 2008, 11:29:37 PM »
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I was there in early February after quite a bit of snow had fallen...under snow but without the usual crowds.

We may have been there at the same time.     It was gorgeous, wasn't it?

We had a relative visiting at the time who had never seen real mountains before, so we ended up going on a weekday instead of a weekend, and it was pretty empty of people then.  A few cars in the major view parking lots, but only a few.

Lisa
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Hank
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« Reply #15 on: March 12, 2008, 10:19:54 AM »
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Yes.

Lisa
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I suspected that kaelaria was only familiar with the lower stretch of 120 approaching the park along the river.

I'll swing back through Yosemite the second week of May on the return leg of this jaunt.  More crowds for certain, and perhaps the road repairs will be complete by then.  I'll be there on weekdays only, though!

In the meantime I have to endure eight more weeks driving and camping in the Southwest.  Sigh.  
« Last Edit: March 12, 2008, 10:20:42 AM by Hank » Logged
kaelaria
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« Reply #16 on: March 12, 2008, 10:24:39 AM »
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You suspect dead wrong.  We are speaking of the same part of it, over the mountains.  Try not to assume so much, you know what they say about it...

Here's one example of a shot from November.  Snow was on the ground, the lakes were mostly frozen - very nice conditions.  This was about 9000 feet up about 1/2 way over.

« Last Edit: March 12, 2008, 10:28:20 AM by kaelaria » Logged

Hank
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« Reply #17 on: March 12, 2008, 01:15:49 PM »
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You suspect dead wrong.  We are speaking of the same part of it, over the mountains.  Try not to assume so much, you know what they say about it...

Here's one example of a shot from November.  Snow was on the ground, the lakes were mostly frozen - very nice conditions.  This was about 9000 feet up about 1/2 way over.


[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=180858\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


Lighten up.  It's so variable from year to year, there's no way to forecast when they'll open or close it.  There was over 6 feet of snow at Hebgen when I was there last weekend, so I'm betting you won't get a glimpse of 120 through Tioga till way late this year.  And who knows when it will close again in the fall.  

If you're going to run around kicking other people's horses, watch out for their spurs on your own tiny pony.
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kaelaria
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« Reply #18 on: March 12, 2008, 01:25:34 PM »
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It's funny when someone posts to look like a smartass but just ends up looking like a dumbass.

I am lightened up.

My point is not to make assumptions and exagurations.  You can think anything you like - I'm still right, it's not a summer only road by any means, which is all I ever said about it.  
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Lisa Nikodym
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« Reply #19 on: March 12, 2008, 05:02:20 PM »
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C'mon, guys, can we all just stop squabbling & picking apart each other's wording, and get back to providing useful info on Yosemite to the readers here???  

Lisa
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