Thursday, October 28, 2010


What we expected to see.

What we saw.

What we expected to see in YosemiteWhat we saw

More than a year ago, a chance encounter with a sociable couple at a crossroads on a hiking trail in northern California led me to formulate a plan: a full moon hike along the Glacier Point road in Yosemite National Park at 8.000 ft. elevation. Our target: Sentinel Dome. Our plan: Hike to the dome (just 2.2 miles round trip) late in the day, taking along a picnic dinner. Watch the sunset as we enjoyed our picnic, then lounge around on top of the dome while the full moon rose. Hike the short distance back to the car in the moonlight. Woohoo… fun!

Yellowstone washoutThe hilly, winding drive into Yosemite is not for Scoopy, so Part Two of the plan involved reserving accommodations in the park – we didn’t fancy a long, post-hike drive. My mom and dad hadn’t been to Yosemite for quite awhile, so we rented a cabin, big enough for four people, at Yosemite West, an enclave of private homes just outside the park boundary, accessible only from the park. We liked the idea of having a kitchen and plenty of room to spread out. A big bonus: the access road to the rental cabin was only 1/4 mile from Glacier Point road in Yosemite.

The final piece of the plan was to determine the dates of the full moon in October, a perfect month for this sort of adventure: the weather is likely to be mild and dry, snow would not yet have closed Glacier Point Road, and the summer crowds would be long gone. The dates in 2010: October 23rd and 24th – a weekend! As retired folk, it would have made more sense to visit during the week, but Mother Nature has her own schedule and, since the full moon was key our planning, we reserved our cabin for the weekend.

Thus, early last August, our reservations were made and our plan complete.

Reflection of Yosemite FallsThe weeks leading up to October 23 and 24 were sunny and mild. Monday, October 25 (the day we returned home), was lovely, crisp and clear. The weekend? A complete and total washout, with some of the heaviest rain Yosemite has experienced all year! Peeking out our window at the pouring rain (and heavy wind) on Sunday night – our date with Sentinel Dome – we caught not even a HINT of the huge October full moon… up there somewhere, hidden behind the think and sodden clouds.

After spending Saturday afternoon and evening indoors – while light rain fell outdoors – Odel and I dressed for wet conditions on Sunday, grabbed umbrellas, and headed back to the valley for a long walk in the rain. By this time, after twelve hours of rain, Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls had picked up considerable water, and the Merced River was nudging well up into the grassy meadow along its banks.

We got home just as the real downpour started, pretty well soaked. That night, the night of the planned hike? It POURED! Even the luxurious cabin we rented sprang a leak!

Monday was our day of departure, and we awoke to calm and quiet. The remaining clouds cleared as the sun rose, and we headed back down through Yosemite Valley in bright sunshine.

Thanks to the heavy rains, Yosemite’s famous waterfalls were booming, sending up huge clouds of spray. The Merced River was a tumultuous tumble of whitewater, overflowing its banks onto the meadow boardwalk Odel and I had hiked 24 hours earlier. It was MAGNIFICENT, awe-inspiring!

After an overpriced lunch at the beautiful, historic Ahwahnee Lodge and one last walk in the welcome sunshine, we reluctantly left the valley and headed back to Sacramento. While our plan was a bust, we had a good time - lots of weekend football, a challenging jigsaw puzzle, and more than enough delicious food. As for the full moon – there’s always next year!

Cloud on El CapitanOdel, Bev (Mommy), Bill (Daddy) - three happy campers.
Damp face of El Capitan steams in the sunshine.

Odel, Bev (Mommy), Bill (Daddy).


  1. So sorry to hear that the weather spoiled your plans. We are currently parked at the SKP Park of the Sierras in Coursegold and have been here a couple weeks. The weather has been wonderful - except of course for last weekend. Last week we hiked the trail to Taft Point (same trail head as your hike), and it was amazing. Yesterday, I did the four-mile hike from the valley floor to Glacier Point, and back. Except for extremely sore knees, it was one of the most amazing things I have ever done. You should plan to try again next year.

  2. Mother Nature doesn't always get the message about our plans, does she! We went to Peru last year for my 50th ... I wanted to watch the sunrise at Machu Picchu. Yeah right! The entire site was fogged in. We still had a fantastic trip though :-)

  3. Oh Gee!!! What a bummer. After all that planning and for it to go bust! Well as you say there is next year. Glad you got to enjoy your family.

  4. What a shame that the weather didn't cooperate, but glad you had a nice weekend with your parents anyway. They look like happy, fun-loving people, just like their daughter! I love the pic of El Capitan steaming, and all the other pics are great, too.

  5. What a great picture of the "three happy campers!" Wish you could have been in it, too!

  6. Awe bummer! I still love the pics! Not to mention the time shared with mom and dad!


  7. That's too bad that the weather spoiled your adventure for you. But this post and those photos of yours are fabulous! All and all, it sounds like a great weekend.

  8. What a bummer! But you're right, there's always next year!

  9. "The best laid plans of mice and men..." Try again next year! :)

  10. Good to have you back Laurie! Did anyone ever tell you that you look like your dad?

  11. Sue: Yep, all the time! Every so often, when I am using one of my Dad's facial expressions, Odel says something like "what's up, Bill?". Ha, ha. And... my Dad looks JUST LIKE *his* Dad, who lived to be 101. I have a good idea of what I will look like at that age. :)

  12. Sorry your plans didn't work out. I'm sure you'll find a way to return and fulfill that adventure.
    Laurie, I'm making your Cornbread Pudding tonight. I'll let you know how it turns out!
    I'm wanting to change the format of my blog. What can I use to get the whole page, eliminating the background patterns? Thanks so much! Kathy

  13. "The best laid plans...." Too bad, but gives you a reason to return...Be safe...(loved the pics!)