Yosemie on Memorial Day Weekend

Jesse, her brother Tod, and I all drove up to Yosemite National Park for Memorial Day weekend (with a stop at Noriega’s of course). The park was great. With all the snow they had over the summer and temperatures starting to warm up, the waterfalls looked great. The meadows in the valley floor were a bit flooded, some more than others, but we could still get around.

The worst part was the lack of organization by the park staff. Maybe I’m being to hard on them, this is probably one of the worst weekends of the year (I’d guess July 4th is worse), but they should expect that. The first time we drove into the park we had to sit in very slow stop and go traffic for about 45 min. just to get through the gate. They only had two booths open, and it seemed like they wanted to have a chat with everyone who entered. Once we got to the valley itself, we waited in more traffic. There was a ranger asking if people had reservations. We told him that we didn’t, and he told us to make a left at the next turn. What he didn’t mention was that the left would take us back out of the valley. Somehow they think it’s okay to take our $20 and make us wait in line, but then just kick us out without a warning? We circled back, waited in line some more, and that then were finally allowed to enter. It took about 2 more than it should have to get into the valley and park.

It’s really ridiculous how cars are managed in Yosemite. They need to follow Zion National Park‘s example and virtually close the park to cars. All they’d have to do is put a good size parking lot/structure right outside the gates, and provide shuttle service to all of the major destinations. If you really want to drive (if you have reservations at the hotel, or are going to be passing through), then you could pay a little more. As long as the shuttles come frequently enough and aren’t over capacity, there’d be no reason not to use the shuttle system. I really hope that an improved mass transit system is in the works.

Okay, enough complaining. In spite of the annoyances, we had a really great time. We got several miles of hiking in, and saw parts of the park that we hadn’t seen before. Going in the spring was a nice change too. The last two times we’ve gone have been in the fall, and the waterfalls have been mostly dried up, or gone altogether. I’d like to get back in the winter to take pictures in the snow. Maybe we’ll do that later this year, or maybe it’ll have to wait until next year.

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