On my way to Yosemite I saw Walnut Creek. And it is a lovely town. The loveliest thing about it is that the ‘Iron Horse Trail’ starts there. That’s another bike-path with fresh, smooth pavement and even restrooms every few miles. So, my way out of the ‘bay-area’ was very convenient. Wind on my tail and mostly flat [minor ascents I do not recognize anymore because in the meanwhile I am in such a great shape ;-)]. After more than 90 miles I stayed for the night at Woodward Reservoir (dirt-campsites full of trash, restrooms and (cold) showers dirty, 30$, thank you).
The next day the big climbing above Sierra Nevada began. Very moderate during the morning. Landscape changed from huge monoculture agriculture areas (I saw mostly almonds and peaches) to hilly grassland with a lot of oaks.
The serious ascent to the Tioga Pass (which is the highest point on the Sierra-crossing highway 120 and the east-entrance of Yosemite National Park) began after noon with a steep non-stop elevation-gain of more than 2,000 feet. Groveland is the last town before the west-entry of the park. It offers no campground and the local warmshower-hosts were not available. I asked at the local grocery-store if someone knew a possible tent-space and the manager gave me immediately the permission to pitch my tent at the parking-lot. Well, that would have been the most public spot for camping so far, but it was fine for me. Then, after everything was set up and shortly after dusk Deborah and Craig came along, processed what’s going on and invited me to stay at their house. Shower, Campfire on the porch, 4 dogs, whitewine – it became a long and nice evening with a lot of talking.
From the next morning I gained 6,000 feet of elevation before I reached ‘White Wolf’-Campground in Yosemite @ 8,000. Just 50 miles in more than 8 hours of travelling-time. It was steep. And there was no view – just trees. And it was labor-day-weekend.
But I couldn’t describe the stars that evening at more than 8,000ft and with no serious light-sources around – just try to imagine …
Next day was pay-day for all that climbing. It was not a 100%-climb anymore – I had just to maintain the last 2,000-ish feet to Tioga-Pass.
The views were …
After leaving the park the road descents to Mammoth-Lake-area. 3,000 feet over 12 miles and not very windy – I don’t know my exact top-speed but I saved my brake-brackets for upcoming days.
It took way less than an hour to change from high mountains to high desert. Wow!
Look at those pictures – I love the desert!