California Vacation 2011: Exploring Tuolumne Meadows

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After our morning climb, we were in the mood for a relaxed afternoon. First up was lunch at the Tuolumne Meadows Grill where I enjoyed a hot dog (yes, meat) and Jason enjoyed a cheeseburger. Both were pretty good and were served up with a side of fries – huge, wedge-cut fries. Yum  🙂

Once we finished with lunch, we strolled along the wide trail winding through Tuolumne Meadows. It was such a beautiful day, perfect in fact.

I could not get enough of the surrounding peaks.
Tuolumne Meadows

The Parsons Memorial Lodge
Parsons Memorial Lodge

Tuolumne Meadows

The water was so clear and so blue, almost teal in some spots.
Tuolumne River

That’s Lembert Dome in the background, site of our morning adventure.
Tuolumne River

Tuolumne River

How could you not want to stay here forever?
Tuolumne Meadows

After walking around Tuolumne Meadows, Jason suggested a short drive to Olmsted Point. Jason wanted to shoot some of the bristlecone pines around the area. There were a lot of people at Olmsted Point when we arrived (including a girl in a blouse and mini-skirt – interesting choice 😕 ).

We really didn’t spend much time at Olmsted Point last summer, so I never fully noticed the trail that runs down from the parking turnout to another overlook. Even though I had changed out of my hiking shoes and into flip flops, we decided to check it out. And hey, at least I wasn’t wearing a mini-skirt.

The backside of Half Dome.
Olmsted Point

Olmsted Point

Olmsted Point

Olmsted Point

I will tell you that flip flops are not the best choice for walking up steep inclines. Live and learn.

The rest of our final evening in Yosemite was spent relaxing at Tuolumne Meadows Lodge. The main Lodge building has a small fridge stocked with water, soda, and beer, so I bought a bottle of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale to enjoy out by the fire pit after dinner. More perfection!

While we were buying our beverages, we entered into a conversation about the recent accident at Vernal Fall. The accident occurred as we were traveling to the park, and I just caught notice of it on Twitter before my cell service was lost. While it was a very sad incident, it wasn’t completely unbelievable. We saw people last summer and saw plenty this summer make very bad choices in the park. One of the older gentlemen joining our discussion talked about how he loved swimming in the Emerald Pool, just above Vernal Fall. One of the Lodge employees was very stern when she basically stated how stupid that was. Some people just don’t get it.

Unfortunately, other people’s bad behavior would dominate our trip from this point forward…

 

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