On Tuesday morning we set off early from the DeYoungs farm, headed further east towards Yosemite. After 70km we stopped for lunch just outside Moccasin, taking some shelter from the sun at the reservoir ranger, James Chester’s office, where he was also kind enough to let us charge our bike batteries for a short while.
Whilst there, we spoke with the rangers about the state of the reservoirs water levels, which supplies the whole bay area with tap water. We learned that they are currently experiencing the driest year since records began, with water reserve levels low. We were also given a copy of the San Francisco hydrological conditions report, which was very interesting reading. Thank you for showing us around and talking with us at length.
With clouds forming, and weather threatening to close in on us, we moved on from here, up grizzly road/ Highway 120 towards Priest and Stanislaus National Forest. It had promised to be a deathly climb, but thankfully was not as bad as had been expected! Again the change in landscape was very noticeable. The higher we climbed, the greener and more densely forested the landscape became. At the peak we entered the Stanislaus National Forest, and with night drawing in and the clouds threatening to rain on us at any moment, we started to try and find somewhere to stay. After a few failed attempts at a bakery and then a fire station, we were directed to a campsite where we could stay for the evening.
We set up camp and had some dinner and were presented with a thankfully dry and rain free nights sleep. Just what we needed after a 100km day in the saddle.
Wednesday brought another early start with the aim of the day to get as far as we could to Yosemite. With Dario’s birthday the next day, we all wanted to try and celebrate at least some of it within the valley.
The morning past fairly event free, the road long, windy and very hilly! We were then greeted with the ‘Welcome to Yosemite’ sign – which was a great sight to see and spurred us on to try and make it to the valley today.
A further 8 mile climb, passing many areas affected by the forest fires of the summer, brought us to the peak and the edge of the valley. The destruction of the forest fires was quite remarkable, and you could see how, especially with the drought, they can spread so quickly, eating everything in their path.
We stopped for a quick lunch break and battery recharge, and were then treated to 2 hours decent down to Yosemite valley, passing half dome and El Capitan along the way, the sights were really quite spectacular. It was then a flat ride to Yosemite Village, where we will camp for the next few days, before doing a talk and presentation in the Yosemite School at the end of the week.
We are staying with Brian and Hilary Burt, and their two children Amelia and Carson who are very kindly letting us camp in their garden and have opened up their home to us. Thank you so much for having us to stay and being so welcoming, it’s very much appreciated.