February 7, we made our way to Yosemite, with reservations to stay in Upper Pines Campground, site #46. We arrived in time to get set up before it got dark. With bear warnings posted about not leaving food in the car, we were concerned about what to do with the food in the camper. We certainly weren’t going to move our entire pantry to the bear box. A ranger assured us that food in the camper would be fine, but food in the cab was an issue.
In the morning we were in no hurry to get out of our cozy sleeping bags. The outside temperature was 32, but we had the heater going in the camper. Since we need the sun to charge our camper battery we drove to a sunny location where we could leave the camper and go for a hike, parking near Yosemite Falls.
We discovered that the trail to the base of the falls was closed and since we had our dog Carson with us, we were limited to trails that were paved or marked for bicycles. Even so we found plenty of places to walk. We did find that ice cleats, the kind that you can slip on over your boots were quite helpful for walking on icy trails and for walking around camp.
On the second night the heater went out. I woke up at 4 am feeling cold. The heater had shut down. Apparently, the battery went dead. This is a mystery. We should have had ample battery capacity to keep the heater fan going, but here we were with no power. We were prepared for the cold, so while we missed the comfort of a heated camper, we had our winter clothes and we carried on. After some hot coffee, eggs and sausage we took a hike to the Happy Isles.
While Yosemite Valley is an awesome location any time of year, I was not inspired with the iconic views of Yosemite Falls, Bridalveil Falls, Half Dome and El Capitan. It’s hard to beat the drama I’ve captured on previous trips.
What did capture my attention was more intimate landscapes, snowcapped rocks and flowing water at Happy Isles, a leaf in the snow, and Fern Spring.
After a day of exploring a variety of locations Including Happy Isles, Swinging Bridge and a few other sights, the plan was to stay out taking photos until dinner time and then have a nice meal before popping up the camper for the night. We were surprised to find the Ahwahnee closed for renovations, and the restaurant in Curry Village was closed as well. We ended up eating at the Base Camp at the Yosemite Lodge. While it served our needs, it was not on par with our previous experiences.
On Friday, February 10 we had a very pleasant hike to Mirror Lake, even if it was a bit chilly and we were on the road heading home shortly after noon. As we left the park, we noted the arrangements that were being made to accommodate the throngs of people that would be coming to photograph the fire fall, a phenomenon that happens with the setting sun shines on Horsetail Falls making it look like it’s on fire. This phenomenon happens in mid to late February.