Half Dome – Yosemite Musing
Quick – name the closest airport to Yosemite . . . SFO? No. Sacramento? No. Fresno? Nope. Merced? No. Times up. It’s the Mariposa-Yosemite Airport. Yes, there is such a thing. Located just northwest of the megalopolis of Mariposa, the airport sits right on Highway 49 in the Mt. Bullion area. And no, I’m not joking. You CAN fly there, rent a car and scoot up Hwy 140 to the park. Don’t bring your 747 though. A small Cessna would be just right. Here’s a quick history. The airport was created as a government make-work project in the1930’s. It quickly came under hard times and did not generate much business. The most action it ever saw was when a B-17 had to make an emergency landing there instead of its home at Castle AFB in Merced. Funding issues between the Feds, state and county ended with Mariposa County controlling it. The county hired a contractor to run the facility and develop the business. It never turned into La Guardia. The current economy has forced the county to tighten its belt and it looks like the terminal will be closed, but the airport runway will remain open. In today’s modern world, aircraft can actually remotely turn on the runway lights while on approach. Pilots can gas up via credit card, so humans may be let go. There’s no real point to this story, only to let you know of another neat place to visit after your Half Dome hike. You could probably hire a pilot to take you over the park – at the approved altitude of 2,000 feet. The terminal houses some neat photos, books, models and best of all a restroom and a soda machine. Check it out.
Unrelated thought worth quoting: “Would you like to ride in my beautiful balloon? We could float among the stars together, you and I, for we can fly – we can fly! – The 5th Dimension
*Mr. Half Dome -Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com