Travel: Yosemite for New Years

From the Tahoe not white Christmas, T and I drove south on Hwy 395 to do some skiing in Mammoth. Last year California had an epic snow year and we decided to buy season passes to Mammoth Mountain. T decided we needed to go skiing 30 times this winter so we booked the dates on the calendar. T decided to put the Airstream in Aberdeen for the season so we have a place to stay and to keep the cat.

We arrived in Aberdeen on December 27th and hit the slopes on December 28th with one of our neighbors. The mountain was opening and the temperature outside was already 39 degrees. Not good for the snow. We skied for half the day and then left when the "snow was like mashed potatoes and the crowds started getting too big" according to our neighbor. T ended up getting sick that day and we are not sure if it was food poisoning or altitude sickness. All I know is that he slept for 15 hours and the next day we took it easy. It was during this day that I decided we should try to go to Yosemite for New Years.

I mentioned in the Tahoe not white Christmas post that there had been no snow this year and that included all of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Because of the lack of snow a lot of the mountain passes that are normally closed this time of year were still open including Tiago Pass into Yosemite from the eastern side of the Sierra. T and I packed up the airstream and left at dawn for Yosemite National Park.

T and I had taken Tiago Pass with the Airstream once this summer when we were meeting friends at Cherry Lake. It was our first time in Yosemite last summer and we didn't make it to "The Valley Floor". This trip we found a place to camp on the valley floor and were looking forward to the trip.

Here is a picture of a snow plow (guess they still have to work even if their is no snow) coming down Tiago Pass.

The ranger station at the top of the pass was closed so we didn't get to flash our annual pass but we did get to enjoy the scenery. Here is one of the many frozen ponds we passed.

The Yosemite Valley Floor was pretty amazing. When we first drove in the giant granite guardians of the valley greeted us with their dark shadows. The valley was not as big or wide as T and I thought it was going to be but it might have seemed small because everything surrounding it was so big. Even though there was no snow it was still cold in the valley. I think it was in the low 40s at the warmest part of the day. Here is a picture I took on the way out of the park. The Airstream can give you a little bit of scale for how big the granite mountains are.

After we parked the airstream in the Upper Pines Campground we headed out to explore. The first thing we checked out was The Ahwahnee Hotel. Someone told me parts of The Shining were filmed at The Ahwahnee, but seeing as I haven't seen it, I couldn't tell you which parts. I think The Ahwahnee was beautiful. There are three huge fireplaces in the main hall with lots of comfy chairs and sofas. Big windows let in dappled light and views of the surrounding valley. T and I had breakfast at The Ahwahnee on New Years Eve and it was fantastic. T had the breakfast buffet and I had the Apple Flapjack which turned out to be one of the signuture dishes and was amazing. Here are some pictures of The Ahwahnee:
The backside of the hotel

A gentelman tending one of the fireplaces. They were so big you could stand inside of them.

My apple flapjack at breakfast.

T looking out the window at breakfast. We had a 7am reservation and had the dining hall all to ourselves.

From The Ahwahnee, we headed to "Yosemite Village and the Yosemite Lodge" and checked out the Valley Visitors Center, Ansel Adams Gallery, and watched the film "Spirit of Yosemite". Later that night we ate dinner at the Mountain Room restaurant. Here is a picture of us at twilight.

Day 2 (New Year's Eve) found us riding the YARTS (free) bus around the valley floor and then we drove to Glacier Point to take some pictures of Half Dome. Here are a few pictures from the day.
YARTS bus.

View from Glacier Point geology hut.

We left on the first day of the New Year and took our time leaving the park. I've heard that Yosemite is crowded in the summer and am glad we took this opportunity to check it out. With the airstream so close in Aberdeen, I am sure we will be back soon!

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