Yosemite (Part 4 – South Fork Tuolumne River and Evergreen Lodge) – 24 June 2015

Posted: October 30, 2015 in Deep Thoughts

We decided to take the road less traveled on our last full day in Yosemite.  One of our group, Charles,  had explored outside the north exit to Yosemite a few time during the week.  We decided to try something new and head that way, toward Hetch Hetchy, but not quite that far.  I would love to check out Hetch Hetchy one of these days, but that will be another trip.

Not far outside of the Big Oak Flats exit to Yosemite Park, just before highway 120 turns west, we turned onto Evergreen Road so we could continue north.  Our first stop was at a small roadside park (Lower Carlon) on Evergreen Road as the road crosses the South Fork of the Tuolumne River.  There are a few parking spots, and a sandy entrance to the river.  We set up some chairs, had some snacks, and got into the water.  It was a little cold, sometimes I’m OK with cold water, sometimes I go in the hard way – slow!  On this day I was taking my time, but got some help from grand niece Hayley.  Getting splashed is the worst way to get in!

Hayley helps me get used to the cold water of the Tuolumne River

It didn’t take long before she won and I gave up and just sat down in the water!  Much less painful than getting splashed!  Charles is getting off easy here just hanging out in the water behind us…

Hayley wins I take a dip to avoid her spashing

As usual once I got in I was ready to enjoy the water.  We stayed cool and had a little fun.  A couple of folks jumped off a nearby log into a deeper pool, but I just relaxed in the water.

Next we decided to heard to our planned lunch spot, Evergreen Lodge.  We got there in the early afternoon but as we looked around the place we missed our chance to have lunch in the pool area.  Our plans beyond this point were a little shaky so we weren’t sure what to do.  We were hungry but didn’t want to go anywhere else.  Someone asked a few questions and found out there as a BBQ planned that evening and a live band.  It also started to rain a little, so we decided to stick around for the BBQ.  We found some seating on a nice patio outside the restaurant/tavern, and had a couple of drinks and relaxed.

Escaping the rain at the Evergreen Lodge Tavern and Restaurant

We also explored some more.  The lodge appears to have expanded recently as there are lots of cabins in the area around the lodge.  They have several lodging options, and we agreed that we might want to check out staying here for part of our next trip to Yosemite.  It would be a great place to stay to check out the Hetch Hetchy area.

The BBQ was in a really nice area behind the Tavern/Restaurant.  A well landscaped, open grassy area with plenty of seating and a couple sturdy ping-pong tables.  The area is a nice gathering place as it is surrounded by a few cabin like structures.  Unfortunately my camera failed to get any good pictures of this area.  I’ll put one of the bad ones here as none of the words I just wrote really do the place justice.

Terrible blurry picture of the BBQ area at Evergreen Lodge

I had over 500 pictures in Yosemite and every one of them had this blurry area on the left side of the picture. My eyes are not what they used to be so I didn’t notice it until I copied them to my computer when I got home. I thought at that time that it must have been a smudge on the left side of the lens. I was able to rescue enough of the pictures by cropping out the blurry area to put some nice pictures in my blog posts, but it was pretty disappointing. Yosemite is a beautiful place and many of my best shots were ruined. As I write this post 5 months later I know that the issue was not a smudge on the lens. I just got back from Maui a couple of weekends ago and I had the same issue with every picture I took over there with the same camera. Luckily I realized that the camera had a focusing issue while I was there so I took more pictures with my phone camera. I love the camera, a Nikon S9700, but this is the second Nikon S9xxx I’ve had issues with the zoom lens with. This series of camera, fits in my pocket, has a great optical zoom length, and takes great pictures, but the lens system is not very durable. The last one got dirt/dust in the mechanism (I took it on a lot of hikes). This one has a design issue that caused it to open in the soft case and in my pocket. I think this damaged the lens mechanism. Luckily this time the warranty was still good and I have sent the camera in to be fixed. Hopefully the issue will be covered by the warranty. I’ll likely look for a different type of camera next time.

One of the reasons I love this camera is its 30X zoom. While eating I noticed the moon in the still light sky above use. I took several zoomed in pictures and got a few nice ones. Not too many pocket cameras can get a picture of the moon like this!

Moon over Evergreen Lodge

The band started up after we ate. A few of us got up and danced. We had a great time. My nephew Brian, also known as Hayley’s dad made a comment that captured the feeling of the day and place. He said that it felt like we had crashed a wedding.

BBQ and live music at Evergreen Lodge June 2015

It was a beautiful place, good food, fun music and great atmosphere. I would definitely recommend checking out Evergreen Lodge on your next trip to Yosemite.

I got one more reasonable picture on the way to the car. The Evergreen Lodge sign.

Evergreen Lodge Sign

We got back to Hodgdon Meadows campground late. Although we were all fed we had one more night of camp fire, s’mores, and a few adult beverages. In the morning we packed up the Jeep said our goodbyes, and headed home. On the way home we had one more unfortunate equipment malfunction. Just north of Merced our car started to lose its cool feeling inside. The A/C went out and it was 106 outside! We called the Jeep dealer in Fresno and Bakersfield, but no luck. We decided to go for it. After all We had hike the Grand Canyon in this kind of heat! We got lots of cold drinks and we were very glad when the sun went down!

This was my third visit to Yosemite in the last 5 years. Each of the trips was unique and terrific in its own way. This is truly one of the best places on Earth. If you have not been to Yosemite, go!

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