Monday morning 44 seventh and eight graders
There was time for a quick bite before
|We arrived in
Fresno in the early afternoon and boarded two tour buses. I was in bus
two, and spent most of the trip with a group of ten 7th grade girls, so
most of my pictures are of this group.Our bus driver — who chauffeured us
throughout the week — was one of the most interesting people I’ve ever
met. He is a naturalist who has lived on all seven continents doing
research. For example, he has summered in Antarctica twice, once doing
geology research and once marine biology. He takes jobs wherever he goes
to support himself. He’s also a pilot, fire fighter and a Teamster! There
seemed to be no subject he wasn’t knowledgeable about. Sixteen years ago
he came to Yosemite and got hooked, spending twelve years cataloging its
very complex ecosystem. If you’re ever lost in the wilderness, he’s the
guy to be with!
Our bus overheated on the first climb into
|Tunnel view, the
first spectacular view of the valley as you emerge from the nearly
1-mile-long tunnel.It’s nice to know
that in this age of computer simulation and virtual reality, twelve-year
olds can still be awed by this view.
|We drove though
the valley, passing Bridal Veil falls and crossing the Merced river. At
Yosemite Lodge we were assigned most — but to the dismay of a few unlucky
guests, not all — of the Maple building. Our rooms had porches or
balconies opening onto the surrounding fir trees.About five minutes after our arrival Billy got
his finger smashed in a door and ended up at the emergency room, but he
was a trooper, and was able to enjoy the rest of the trip.
Dinner was a buffet in the Garden Terrace.
Things were a bit exuberant that night, but
Breakfast was in the food court, which has
Our small group headed for Yosemite Falls.
|The falls are
enthusiastic, burgeoning with the spring thaw. The weather was warm and
pleasant; by mid-morning it was in the sixties.
|Our bus driver
called these “leverites”, because when you find one you “leave ‘er right”
|That water was
snow 60 minutes ago, and it’s COLD!
|John Muir picked
a lovely spot for his cabin. Talk about a room with a view.
|Some of this
group made it to the Yosemite Falls lookout point. After a token effort we
rejoined them on the way down. Everyone met up for lunch at the amphitheater, then set out on our
afternoon activities. We learned about Yosemite’s complex geology which
ahs been shaped by rivers, glaciers and a moraine.
|Then we watched
a rock climbing demonstration and learned about the equipment the climbers
use.And, of course, tried it
Dinner was in the Lodge’s lovely Mountain
Imagine our surprise that night as we
After breakfast we headed for the Mariposa
|Our bus driver
stopped at tunnel view to put on chains.
|It’s a two-mile
walk uphill to the Mariposa Grove. Needless to say, our little group
didn’t make it, although most did.
|But we did have
fun along the way, making snow angels…
|We also got to
|We had lunch at
the Wawona Hotel. In the afternoon we visited the Wawona fire station and
learned about fire fighting and prescribed burns. Some of the kids were
cold and wet, but you should have seen how they revived after we took them
up the mountain and handed them a can of burning petrol!
evening while most of the group gathered at the Lodge for songs and
stories (in lieu of the scheduled campfire) a few of us caught the shuttle
to the Ahwahnee for dinner in their beautiful dining room. At night the
dining room’s windows act like mirrors, reflecting the candlelight. We
pointed out to the kids how over time the enormous sheets of glass have
flowed, so that the windows are much thicker at the bottom than at the
And what a view greeted us the next
|No, that’s not a
painting behind Linda.
|There was snow
|We walked past
Yosemite Falls and saw that there was a slurry flowing down the river.
It’s a fairly rare occurrence, when the water is super cooled coming over
the falls, and freezes as it flows. It was getting warmer, and the trees were having fun with us, dropping
unexpected clumps of slush as we passed underneath.
|We learned the
history of the Ahwahnee Hotel, built in 1927. Our guide really brought the
period to life.Linda described what
the fire fall looked like, as they pushed embers off the edge of 7000-foot
Glacier point. They were still doing it during her first visit to
Yosemite, in the 1960s.
watched a coyote cross the meadow. We also saw many deer, squirrels and
woodpeckers.We walked to Curry
Village for lunch, then caught a shuttle back to Yosemite Village for
visitor center is a really interesting recreation of a Miwok village. This
is an acorn granary. The acorns were a main staple of the Native
Americans, but it was a lot of effort to make them edible.
|We took Dani’s
picture in this same hut when she was little.
|In the afternoon
we caught a shuttle back to the Lodge. Hey! What happened to all the snow?
It’s hard to believe the difference a few hours of sunlight made.
|Then it was back
to the Ahwahnee for a delicious farewell dinner in the Solarium.The students performed their Ahwahneechee
legends on the balcony. Jake was a hilarious master of ceremonies.
Afterwards the students presented their
|We gathered for
a group shot of students…
before departing for a late night bus ride to Fresno.
I believe the four hours I slept at the
A nap on the plane helped, and lunch at the
What a magical trip it was, with amazing