15 June 2013

Yosemite! Day 3


I had some work to do (grading, etc.), so we got a later start today. We headed north into the Hetch Hetchy Valley, another undervisited section of the park. Hetch Hetchy used to be a valley with solid ground at the bottom, but the city of San Francisco built a dam and turned it into a reservoir to provide both power and water to SF. So, San Francisco destroyed Hetch Hetchy, and Los Angeles destroyed Mono Lake. Awesome.

Anyway, Wapama Falls is a 5-mile round-trip hike from the trailhead, and S and I decided to take it on. We were feeling sore from the previous day (and the previous night on very hard beds), so we weren't moving so fast. First step: cross the dam!

The dam crossing has lots of signs and information about how the dam was built, how the water is maintained, etc. It's all very pro-reservoir - it's very clear that SF was in charge of creating their own propaganda.

About a mile into the hike, S bailed on the hike. A bad night's sleep took its toll, and she couldn't go further. I left her behind and continued the rest of the trail by myself.  Along the way, I ran into a guide who said to be on the look out for a mama bear and her two cubs.  I kept an eye out, but I didn't see them.

Wapama Falls was beautiful! The trail was just a few feet over the water level, and there were bridges installed to cross the waterfall. A bounty of mist kept me from taking a lot of photos, but I did get a few nice ones:

On the way back, I ran into a few other hikers stalled on the trail. The mama bear and her cubs were just ahead, munching and playing and blocking the path.  We waited for them to move, but after ten minutes (by which point about 20 more hikers had joined us), we started singing songs, banging pans, clapping hands, and moving past. At our closest, we were about 5 feet from the mama bear, who was completely uninterested in us at all.

Back to the car, the Lodge, a quick shower, and then into Groveland, a city about 30 miles away, to refill the gas tank and get some dinner. We found a lovely little restaurant that served an amazing smoked trout.  Unfortunately, on the way to dinner, I noticed a tickle in my throat. It got worse as the night went on, and by the time I was getting into bed, I had popped some nyquill and chugged some OJ.

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