On the second full day in Yosemite we woke up more than a little sore. The Panorama Trail hike we did on the first day was almost all down hill, but it is long and hiking downhill left my calves and feet sore. We didn’t have as ambitious plans for day two. We wanted to check out a couple groves of Sequoia north of Yosemite Valley and enjoy the camp grounds. I hadn’t seen Giant Sequoia for a little over 20 years, and 3 of the people in our group had never seen them. Although these trees are smaller than the giants in Sequoia National Park, they are well worth the walk. We visited the Merced Grove first. It was about a 3 mile hike down a dirt road to the grove. You walk through a pretty spectacular forest all the way there and back. But the line of Sequoia in the Merced Grove is definitely the highlight of the hike. We rested and ate some snacks by the big trees. We were the only ones at the grove for most of our visit so be prepared to enjoy the peace and quiet as well as the beauty of the trees.
Then we drove over to the Tuolumne Grove of Giant Sequoia. The entrance to the grove is only about a half mile up Tioga Pass Road from the Crane Flat gas station. Getting to the grove involved a short hike down another dirt road. There were more people here and more trees. You can walk through the largest… unfortunately it is dead although still very impressive. The short easy hikes were a good way to loosen back up after the long hike on the previous day. Then we headed back to camp in Hodgdon Meadows campground, cooked some food over the fire and enjoyed the evening around a big camp fire.
On our last full day in Yosemite, July 4th, we floated down the Merced River. I’m not sure if we could have picked a worse day. The traffic in Yosemite Valley was the worst we saw during the trip and we had to travel around the valley a couple of times to park a car at the end of the float, drive to the top of the float, and then repeat the process at the end. We brought our own raft which saved money, but added some time to the trip. On a normal day it may not have been that noticeable, but we ended up spending about 6 hours of driving around Yosemite Valley (mostly stopped) and floated for less than 3 hours.
But if you set aside the bad choice of days, the float was amazing, beautiful, and definitely worth the time spent on the river. The water is cold but very refreshing if you can take the shock of jumping in. You get some different views of classic Yosemite Valley scenery. Our trip was over the next day, and we headed home, but we took some unforgettable experiences with us. I hike a lot in Southern California, but those hikes don’t even come close to the super hikes available in Yosemite. I’m looking forward to many more trips to Yosemite, and with trying to find anywhere in California, or in the world that comes close!
Previous Post in this series: Yosemite (2010)(Part 1 – Panorama Trail)
My visit to Yosemite in 2011: Yosemite (2011) – (Part 1 – Yosemite Valley and a Vernal Falls Day Hike)
There are also several planning posts for the visit in 2011 starting with: Half Dome Hike – Early Planning