2022 Feb 13 | Yosemite firefall

A bridge being constructed on our drive to Yosemite.

Flag on a crane.

Flag on a barn.

The more rural areas of California are very conservative. If they really wanted this window washed, they should have written, "I love Biden."

We stopped by the Chukchansi Gold Resort and Casino because Ogii had to do some work stuff on her computer right then and needed to find some wifi before we got to Yosemite.

Nice lobby.

Nice view from the coffee shop area.

An indoor-outdoor pool; these are fun.

Light built into the beanie; neat idea.

When we got to Yosemite, a ranger was directing people to good viewing angles.

We went to the El Capitan Picnic Area, where we went last year.

Some color starting.


Others. Not too busy since it's the weekend before Presidents' Day. That weekend it's packed because (1) it's a three day weekend and (2) the view of firefall is usually better.

It lit up, but we didn't see the line of light like we wanted.

And then it just got dark.

Lights from some climbers halfway up El Capitan.

Not much is open for food after 6pm. We went to the village store, and while they have a ton of food, this old burrito was the only item that was hot.

We stayed in a heated tent in Curry Village.

Well, it was supposed to be heated. Our heater wasn't working. Considering it was in the 20s at night, that wasn't good.

Hooked up on the bottom.

Thermostat on high.

Electrical box is working (as Ogii pointed out, the light was on).

So we called the front desk, and this maintenance man came to fix it.

Thankfully he got it going. Although he said it wouldn't turn back on once we turned it off, so he'd come by tomorrow while we were out to actually fix it.

In the meantime, he gave us an electric space heater to speed things up. Between the wall heater and the space heater, it got so hot in the middle of the night I actually had to turn down the wall heater. Much better than freezing all night long.

It's nice to have a sunroof in the RAV4 because we can open it up and look at the high peaks.

A snowy pathway to Yosemite Falls.

Sunlight coming down across the rocks.

A rainbow at the bottom.

A small rainbow at the bottom and a bigger one to the left.

Breakfast at Base Camp Eatery.

Most people eat at the tables in the same room as the food, but there's this second huge almost unused room over to the side.

We went there to work on our computers for a few hours.

Grabbed some lunch from the same place.

Rested a bit in the warm car.

The only car that's in a valid parking space is the blue one to the right. All the ones to the left parked in space that's supposed to be open to drive through.

We'd already tried to get firefall from the El Capitan picnic area a few times and didn't get it (even though others had in the past, so maybe we were too early in the year or simply too close or too far away), so we decided to go up the 4-mile trail on the south side of the loop and see if we had more luck from there. However, you're not allowed to park over there during the firefall, so we stayed parked near the Yosemite Valley Lodge.

And walked a mile to the 4-mile trail.

A leaf melting the snow under it.

What's in the river?

Someone's glasses.

Resting on a picnic table by the Swinging Bridge.

The across the road onto a little trail.

Tree roots coming through the path.

After hiking a mile to the 4-mile trail, we still had an approximately 1-mile hike up the trail to get to a good viewing location.

A rock climber.

The trail was pretty easy to walk up. I was worried there was going to be a lot of ice, but there was almost none.

We stopped at this point.

Just past a fallen tree.

And had a pretty good view of El Capitan and Horsetail fall.

A lot of people were actually going out into the woods here.

But there weren't any clear trails, it was pretty steep and slippery, and we didn't want to come back when it started getting dark, so we stayed where we were.

There were a couple of other viewing points nearby, but there were tress in the way.

And you couldn't quite get a clear view of the fall.

You could see Yosemite Falls and what appears to be a big area of snow from a bit lower on the trail.

We were in snowpants and coats in case we had to sit in the cold for a few hours, but it was actually pretty warm out, so I made myself a snowcone out of some nearby snow and some bark as a plate.

The sun is starting to close in.

That's what we were hoping for; a line of color.

Us with it. A group of three other people stopped in this location as well, but other than that, we were all alone.

It looks really good when it gets dark right before sunset.

Now time to hike back down. You can see someone with a headlamp coming back from the woods.

A bit of snow on the trail we avoided.

There was a lot of ice and snow right by the parking lot.

And a ton of cars.

And people. Hopefully the shuttles can fit a lot in at once; wouldn't want to sit out here for hours.

We thought about getting dinner at the Base Camp Eatery as well, but the line was really long, and the Seven Tents Pavilion in Curry Village by our tent was open until 9pm, so we decided to go there instead.

Google Maps said we had to go left and around to get to Curry Village, which meant we'd get stuck in all of the traffic trying to leave the park.

But we could actually turn right. Which was nice, because nobody was going this way.

Ogii under the Camp Curry sign.

The Seven Tents Pavilion.

We initially were going to get pizza, but the apple braised pork tenderloin looked better.

A big mural with Yosemite dates.

There were a fair number of people in here, too.

Me with a bear.

A walkway at the entrance uses steps for energy. I'm not sure if it's enough to run anything, but it's a nice idea.

A lot of little snowmen.

A guest lodge with games and a fireplace.

This part of the park was colder and much icier, especially the parking lot, so you had to be careful walking.

Me in front of our tent. There's a bear box to the side to store your food.

He got the wall heater going again, so it was nice and warm when we arrived.

The bathrooms are warm, too.

Many tents in the area.

Ogii carrying a bunch of bags as we leave the next morning.

We spotted the climbers on El Capitan again.

A view of something with the phone camera. What is that?

With the zoom lens on the DSLR, you can make out the tents the climbers stay in.

A lone climber.

We noticed a waterfall we hadn't see before to the left of El Capitan, Ribbon Fall. I think we had missed it all of the previous times because Bridalveil Fall on the right really grabs your attention and you look at that the whole time instead.

They have wifi at a couple of places like Degnan's Kitchen, but it's pretty slow.

In fact, using the 4G via Verizon is much, much faster, even though it doesn't work once you get out of the valley.

A quick stop at Valley View for sunrise.

Before going to Badger Pass Ski Area, which, like last time, is nearly empty.

I think I used to wear 160 skis, but the rental employee put me in 150s. Not sure if it matters all that much, but now that I'm older, a bit shorter is probably better.

Using the only dollar coin I was able to find in their lockers.

Us on the lift.

I taught Ogii how you can scrape snow off your skis using your poles to make snowballs.

Ogii trying out a blue run.

This one was really wide open.

She went very slowly and still preferred the greens, she made it all the way down without falling.