Summer Hiking

Summer Hiking
Mt. Constitution

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

El Capitan and Mirror Lake

Karen and I spent the first day in Yosemite Valley finding our bearings and exploring a little around the park.  We tried to get to the Visitor's Center, but because of road construction, we could not get close so we decided to explore on our own.  John Muir quotes and stories abound in his beloved park.

 Believe it or not, this is a picture of the high Yosemite Falls, without water this time of the year. We were happy to be in the park this time of year because there are not millions of visitors, but we missed out on spring and early summer waterfalls.

We were able to climb up huge boulders and sit on driftwood where water might normally be spilling over.  

The squirrel seemed to be someone's pet, posing for pictures.  When we stopped to use the restroom Karen discovered she had good phone service!  We took time to read a few Emails, return phone calls, and post some pictures.  Honestly, I learned how addicted we are to modern technology, because being without it for a few days caused some frustration for us.

The famous ElCapitan on a cloudy day.
If you look close, in the middle of the picture, and see the rock climbers and their ropes.  Visitors line the highway with binoculars and telescopes to get a closer look.  We visited with two men who were packing up their car after days of mountain climbing.  No pictures, but they had so much gear spread out on the road to load into their car.  We later realize all that gear was either on their back or attached to ropes that went with them.  These guys sleep on ledges!  They told us about Tom, who writes a daily blog.  "You'll see him, there in the meadow, with his camera and telescope all set up."
We did visit with Tom briefly and he told us how long he's been sitting in the meadow, after years climbing mountains.  He takes pictures and sells them to the climbers, in addition, to giving them feedback about the technical aspects of their climb.  I was sad to read, that he's retiring.  

ElCap Report 10/8/16

ElCap Report 10/8/16
By Tom Evans
Yo…My long running project, The ElCap Report, has finally come to an end.  For me, it has been a path far different from that I had foreseen.  I have had many great moments recording the events on ElCap and I have had some of the worst moments of my life.  I want to thank all you readers and supporters who have made the Report possible.  I will continue with my photography, so you can find me, like always, down at the ElCap meadow.  Since I will still be shooting, for the rest of this season, and in the future, you can still get your photos from me.  The website will remain as a contact point for those of you who need to get in touch about pics or copies of the Reports.  I will still be around for special events, important climbs and such that I will be covering.  So you may see things from time to time on the Report but not the daily climbing I once covered.  If you have a special shoot you would like me to do then contact me and we will try to work something out.
My heartfelt thanks to all of you and my best wishes for an interesting and productive life.
So that’s the way it is, on this Saturday, the 8th day of October, 2016, the end of the ElCap Report era.
Signing off… Capt. Tom.. still at the epicenter, of the center, of the universe… El Capitan!
You may have noticed that All the past Reports have been reinstated on the Report.  I was going to sell packages of them but have decided that they are too valuable a resource for the climbing community at large to take down for some small profit I might gain.  So I am leaving them up... enjoy!

This is one of Tom's pictures from his blog!

 After lunch, we hiked from our tent in Curry Village to Mirror Lake.  We were actually on a paved trail all the way up to the lake.
We decided to hike another way back and ended up at the Majestic Yosemite Hotel, formerly called the Ahwahnee.  Allan told me when the new vendor change resulted in the name change.  I found this article from NPR:

The Majestic Yosemite Hotel. Big Trees Lodge.
Visitors to Yosemite National Park could be forgiven for not recognizing those hostelries' names.They used to be called — and were famously known as — the Ahwahnee and Wawona hotels."It's just really surreal," said Monica Hubert, a former manager of the Wawona. "I mean, it's a National Historic Landmark."The hotels and other Yosemite landmarks have been renamed because of a contract dispute.The outgoing concessionaire, Delaware North, lost its bid for a new contract to manage the properties to Yosemite Hospitality, LLC, a subsidiary of Aramark. Delaware North sued, saying the bidding process was unfair.As the case progressed, it came out that Delaware North had trademarked many of the names of properties it managed."When we used the Ahwahnee Hotel in marketing, we always put a little 'R' by it," said Dan Jensen, who managed Yosemite properties for Delaware North. "The existence of the fact that these names are protected and trademarked is just not a surprise to anybody. It wasn't sneaky."Delaware North wants Yosemite Hospitality to pay for the trademarks and other property, which the company says are worth more than $50 million. No thanks, says Yosemite Hospitality — and the National Park Service. They put the value of the assets at just $3 million.This week Yosemite Hospitality took over and all the signage is being changed. The dispute has created a huge uproar."We strongly believe that the names of these facilities belong with them, they're historical," said park spokesman Scott Gediman. "They belong with the facilities and ultimately belong to the American people."The National Park Service maintains the name changes are temporary. Meanwhile, it's asking the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to nullify the trademarks.The former Wawona manager, Monica Hubert, said that would make sense."I mean those names are all oriented towards the [Native American] tribes that were in Yosemite," she said. "There's reasons why they're actually named those things."
We decided not to have dinner in this gorgeous space, instead settling for a $12 each glass of wine from the bar.  

We drank our fine in front of this huge fireplace that actually had seats one could sit on to get warm.  Karen loved it!  We met a family who had booked their room at another hotel in January, stating how important it is to plan ahead for any adventure in the park.  They told us how tickled they were to watch us sitting on the expensive couches, discussing how we might talk a server into a free cookie.  The hotel had a late afternoon tea party for their guests and we watched people show their key cards to get free coffee and cookies.  I wasn't deterred!  I struck up a conversation with the server, telling her about our trip for my 70th birthday and how much I enjoyed all the beauty in the park, including this lovely hotel.  She gave me two cookies, pulling out a new tray of oatmeal raisin when I asked what if she had any cookies other than chocolate chip!  Kinda made up for those expensive glasses of wine!

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