Update on news from Yosemite

Things for you to be cognizant of:

The senior pass that the NPS has had for about 20 years is going up in price. On August 27, the fee will be $80 vs $10 now.

If you are 62, not only do you get Medicare and discounted admission to movies…but you can get a lifetime pass to any Federal park, Forest, BLM and others.  One time charge for $10 …but you better go quick like a bunny.

The Trump Administration just reached deeper into your pocket. It’s still a good deal, since your whole car can get in with your pass. You can get yours at any gate that takes money. Or you can go on-line for $10 more.  And yes, they do check your ID when going in. They don’t want geezers who had fake licenses as kids to sneak in.

Auto traffic has been at a standstill on weekends. Stories of 2-hour rides to get to the east end of the park are common. THEN you may have a 1-hr hunt for a parking place. 4-Million historically came to the park but in 2016 it was 5-million. Too many people on earth – yes, 7 billion adds up.

The heavy precip this year is playing out with many water related deaths. One guy drowned in the Merced off the Mist trail and another at Hetch Hetchy. Cold water, fast currents, and rocks all are causes….no, it’s stupidity. Don’t blame nature!!

READ about a 2012 drowning

The hyped Wilderness Plan continues to stay under the radar. After an aggressive outreach last year, there has been no further word on how the project is going.

We are still without a permanent Superintendent since Don Neubacher left last year. The current acting Superintendent is Chip Jenkins.


Chip Jenkins, Acting Yosemite Superintendent

Carpe Diem!
Unrelated thought worth quoting: “Get Busy!”
Read “One Best Hike: Yosemite’s Half Dome

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Tioga Road open Thursday June 3

With 200% snowpack the bets were at a mid July opening.  But the recent heat waves in California melted a LOT of snow.  The crews have been busy. Beyond just getting the snow off the road, there were issues with potholes and other damage to the roadway that had to be fixed.

Gate at Yosemite


I’d still take it easy.  Visitors form Lee Vining and points east – like Reno can now get in without going over Sonora or the other passes.

Once yo do get there, be prepared for a madhouse. The roads have been changed a bit and a traffic circle installed at ht 4-way stop by the Visitor Center.  Hwy 140 had a giant rockfall and there might be issue down south.

Read about the businesses at Lee Vining – just east of the Tioga Gate.

The Big Trees at the Mariposa Grove will be closed until the Fall.

No updates on the stupid name changes.  It;s been in litigation for over a year now. Dumb.

So there you go. You’re up to speed now.

Carpe Diem!
Unrelated thought worth quoting: “We choose to go to the top of Half Dome. We choose to go this summer not because the hike is easy, but because it is hard.  Because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win.” – Apologies to John Kennedy
Read “One Best Hike: Yosemite’s Half Dome


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This is big – Alex Honnold FREE CLIMBS El Capitan at Yosemite.

REAL BIG. For those that are new to the Wonderful World of Yosemite – welcome.

El Cap is the largest exposed piece of granite on planet earth. Bigger than those monsters you see in Norway. It is unbroken – a giant ancient magma Pluton that cooled and hardened under intense pressure while it was under miles of dirt thousands of years ago. It turned into granite. With erosion, the rock was cut by Glacier action and sits overlooking the 3,000 ft valley.

Yosemite's El Cap

El Capitan – free solo by Alex Honnold

The Ahwahneechee natives called it “The Chief” – aka The Captain (white man’s term. While Half Dome is the signature landmark of the park, El Cap is the world climbing mecca. At 3,000 feet above the meadow, it has been a target for men and women for decades.

Listen – I am NOT a climber and do not want to be perceived as a poser……I do admire them. I can’t do what they do.   My passion is Half Dome.

It used to take DAYS to get to the top. Using pitons, anchors, ropes and grit. They hauled up 70-pound bags full of their stuff. Everything that goes up…has to come down in the bag.  No pee or poop is allowed to freefall down. (Whew).

So last weekend, Alex Honnold made it to the top in a hair below 4 hours. Bottom to top…with NO ropes or aids of any kind. No protection…just a bag of chalk to keep his fingers dry. Think about it. Cramming his fingers into slots half the diameter of his phalanges.

Granite is prefect for climbing. An igneous rock, it is very strong and does not flake off (look at your kitchen counter). Up he goes – last Saturday alone at 6:30 am. The outrageous crowds over Labor Day have gone and all this is kept secret – no gawkers to pressure him. Filmed by National Geographic and photos by Tom Evans, he made it. We’ll see it soon in the NG magazine, then the documentary. Alex did the impossible.

Back Story:  Honnold gets up Half Dome in record time

Oh, he’s also gone up the face of Half Dome a bit faster than my 11-hour hike …. He free solo’d up that in less than 2 hours.

A tip of the Tilley hat to Alex and his spirit of adventure.

Live – don’t exist.


Carpe Diem!
Unrelated thought worth quoting: “Don’t dream it – be it” – Rocky Horror Picture Show”
Read “One Best Hike: Yosemite’s Half Dome


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