Yosemite in reach
Yosemite is on our mind and now in our reach, almost. This morning, we started preparing ourselves and the pedelecs for the wilderness in the morning. Panniers had to be repacked because we are approaching heights that will require warm clothing. Connectivity will be impaired as well so we turned on our InReach devices, small satellite communicators that can send text messages and have a red button that hails a helicopter - in extreme circumstances only of course.
We started on a steep ascent and had a flat tire. We stayed calm though because the country road was so serene and the air enriched with a smell of summer and pine trees.
Winding our way up, we reached the Yosemite sign at national park entrance, finally. It is only the very beginning of the season and so we had a chance to chat with the artist who freshly painted it, a very cool older guy. He took this team picture for us.
A pass for the National Park costs 80 dollars per vehicle, including bikes. The pass is valid for a full year and in all the 59 National parks in the USA.
Once checked in, we continued on our way and found ourselves on a windy road, that went down and up again to a height of almost 2000m through pine forest. We saw many traces of wildfire and dying trees. The two are interconnected as four consecutive years of drought in California have put the pines under extreme stress thus weakening their natural defences against beetles. The damage caused by the pest weakens the trees further and again increases the fire hazard.
The ride downhill is nothing but stunning however as the the valley opens with a view of the El Capitan mountain.
After having been riding mostly alone, the sight of what we feel are many tourists is a bit of a shock. However, we are told that compared to summer time it is still quiet. Yet, camp sites at the end of the valley are all booked out and need prior reservation. We find a simple backpackers camp under tall and healthy pine trees. As all camp sites here, it has got so-called bear lockers accompanied by warnings to store all food safely. We resist the temptation to set a honey trap.
Once the sun set, there are no lights. We find ourselves in true darkness with countless stars above us.
Distance: 97,1 km Av. speed: 25 km/h Energy consumption: ca. 950 Wh (Susi) Riding mode: High / Standard (Susi) Uphill: 1640 m Downhill: 750 m Surface: 100% paved road Riders: Susi, Andreas
Accommodation: Backpackers camp in Yosemite Valley
Travel tip of the day: Beetles can cause more harm than bears sometimes.