We went to yosemite this weekend.

Got up at 5AM, and left the hotel around 6:30AM. USA is criscrossed by highways – and makes it quite fast to travel by road. There is almost no public transport apparant, and everyone travels by their car. So, whatever road you take, there is always a lot of vehicular traffic no matter what the hour.

After an hour of driving, we entered a zone of … fog ! We could not see much ahaead – and yet the cars were moving at insane speeds.

Its quite boring driving in a fog. Just like driving at night – not much to see around. Well, that really does not make much of a difference. You see, most places you cannot even stop the car and get out to stretch your legs. You need to turn off from the highway and stop. Frankly – gives me a captive feeling. Feels like a captive !

That’s when I saw this biker … and man, was I homesick for my bikes.

On a bike, you always are in touch with the elements. You feel the fog – not just see it as in a car. You can smell the smells. As you pass from sunshine to fog, you feel the chill. But in a car – its like TV. The only difference being that you can feel the viberations in the car. But, apart from that – there is no adventure in a car.

Around 10AM we were out of the fog and moving up mountain terrains. We stopped for a photo shoot at a ‘vista point’. These are places where you are ‘allowed’ to stop and see the scenery. No doubt these places are well chosen – but what about the scenery I saw a couple of miles back which I wanted to capture ? Nope – you cannot stop there… cause thats the way it is !

We reached yosemite park at 11:30am. The entry fee there is $20 for a weeks pass. There is no such thing as a day pass. I thought that now we were in a forest, it would be different from the places we had just left. How wrong I was. The so called ‘forest’ is picturesqe no doubt – but there is no wildness left in it. It could be a well maintained park – nice smooth roads – freshly painted lane markers. clean roads – with no leaves on them also. Deer crossing signs – man the deers here are smart – they know exactly where to cross the roas ! Sheesh !!

There was some snow around the road edges as we entered Yosemite. Shrirang got quite excited (he is the big guy in the pic below), and wanted to touch the snow ! Just like a small kid ! So, we naturally had to stop for a pic !

Our first view of ‘Half Dome’ a cliff shaped like a half dome came soon after. But we could only stop a few turns later at another of these vista points. There was a chinese couple there who obliged us by taking a group photo .

Nice perfect winding roads brought us down from the mountains into the Yosemite valley. We stopped at a point where we could go to the banks of a stream. A group of cyclists came there. I guess that would be best way to go around the park – on a cycle. This park is quite tame !

Finally reached Yosemite Falls.

Went to the Yosemite Village – a supermarket by another name – where you can also get trinkets. Picked up a few for remembrance. We also hiked to the base of the yosemite falls – it was overrun by visitors there. We started back quite soon. I wanted to go go to see the giant redwood trees, but the one grove on our path was a hike of 1.6 miles – which was more than what the other guys with me wanted to do. So, i guess I will see someother time.

Dont get me wrong. The place is magnificent. The beauty is gorgeous. But, its too civilized and over run by people. Its like Lonavla but with better roads, no public transport and cleaner air.

Not a jungle if you are used to the Indian jungles. Places like the Corbett National Park would blow you away. You get the ‘feel’ of being in a jungle which Yosemite just never did. Kind of Disappointing.


~ by Vibhu on November 22, 2004.

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