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Yosemite Valley & Hetch Hetchy, March 25 - 27, 2005

I don't really want to write much about this trip so instead will just list the highlights.

1) Cocina Michocana - This delightful Mexican restaurant is located in the last shopping center on the right heading out of Escalon towards Yosemite.  Emily and I still rave to anyone that will listen about their great tortilla chips (thick but perfectly crispy).

2) Camping in the Snow - We stayed at Camp 4 (called Sunnyside on some older maps), the walk-in only, no-reservation campsite at the west end of the valley which I selected because I can't stand sleeping in a tent next to people in a motor homes.  We pitched our tent on 4 inches of snow and slept for two nights under the clear skies without the fly.

3) Jean Paul - On Saturday morning I spied my old friend from UCSC and Emily and I spent the morning watching him and his friend rock climb east of El Capitan on a formation they call the "Manure Pile".

4) Closed Road - Past Camp 4 the road leading out of the valley was closed.  It was especially nice to be able to walk on the road towards the climbing destinations with no one around.

5) Hetch Hetchy - We left the valley very early Sunday morning and decided to go to Hetch Hetchy since Emily had never been there.  We were the first people to arrive at the day use parking lot and walked all the way to Wapama Falls in the warm sun without seeing a soul.

6) Cocina Michocana - Well, it was so good on the way in that we stopped on the way out.

7) No Camera - I intentionally left my camera at home since sometimes the urge to take pictures can detract from what is supposed to be a relaxing weekend.  The following photos were taken by Briana or pinched from the web.

8) Cheap - The entire trip cost less than $100, including food, gas, and the park entrance fee.

Saturday morning en-route to the Manure Pile are Jean Paul, Emily, and Casey.  JP and I took physics and math classes together at UCSC in 1992 and 1993 but had only bumped into each other once since then (at Bookshop Santa Cruz, I think, about 5 years ago).  

 

Photo courtesy of Briana.

El Capitan, elevation 7,569 feet, loomed large as we headed towards the Manure Pile.  The North American Wall, clearly visible as darker rock, can be seen here.

Photo courtesy of Briana.

Here at the Manure Pile JP (barely visible at the top of the photo)  has climbed After 7 while Briana is halfway up.  At the bottom I am doing my best to add a little perspective.

Photo courtesy of Emily.

After JP and Briana finished with After 7 I had the opportunity to climb part of After 6.  This shot was taken after I had climbed to JP and was belaying down.
A classic shot taken from on top of the Hetch Hetchy Dam.  Our destination, Wapama Falls is visible to the left while Koala Rock, towering 2,000 feet above the water looms large on the right.
One of the many bridges that cross Wapama Falls.

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