Yosemite National Park

Day 68 – Yosemite & Mammoth Lakes

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Our second day in Yosemite started quite early as we had to be out of the motel in Mariposa by 10am, with no breakfast or coffee provided. Luckily we stocked up on food a couple of days before and there was a coffee shop around the corner so we were fed and watered and off at ten. The drive to the park is fairly nice and scenic, but once we got close to the park gates we got stuck in a massive queue to get in the gates and sat there for ages. The park was already very busy the day before, but this was even worse! Once we got in we drove for a bit before turning off to follow the Big Oak Flat Road to the Tioga Road that would take us through the park, rather than heading back into Yosemite Valley. Once again I’m not going to regale you with every stop we made, but we saw some amazing views, and we found this part of the park much more scenic than the previous day. Of course, the fact that it was warm and sunny rather than cold and overcast like the day before may have had something to do with it! We stopped at various lookout points and had lunch at Tenaya Lake which was beautiful. While the stops were still quite busy it wasn’t as bad as the day before and we generally found parking easily enough – I get the impression most people with limited time going to the park head straight for Glacier Point and Yosemite Valley.
As we left the park we got caught in some rain, but that soon cleared as we made our way towards Mammoth Lakes, our stop for the night. On the way there I spotted a scenic loop (158) that took us past Grant Lake, Silver Lake and June Lake, and made for an interesting detour – though we’d seen a lot of mountains by that point it was still nice to look at! Arriving at Mammoth Lakes, we drove through town to establish where everything was before checking into the Wildwood Inn, which was walking distance to the town centre. Another motel that could be a lot nice with not much effort, but it was acceptable and the WiFi worked ok! As usual, we dropped our stuff and walked into town where we had a couple of happy hour drinks around town and some ribs for my dinner. Mammoth Lakes is really a skiing town with a skiing resort feel to it, the buildings are all built in a certain style and there is a central mall area with lots of restaurants and bars. It would be quite interesting to see it in winter as there are loads of ski runs in the mountains, but I guess it gets very busy and expensive! Even in summer it was still quite busy and not cheap. The ski slopes are apparently very popular with mountain bikers in the ‘off’ season, and we saw big groups of bikers the next day. While walking to the Mammoth Brewing Company for a last drink, we saw the most amazing double rainbow. It was the brightest rainbow I’ve ever seen and you could distinguish all the different colours properly and it seemed really close to us. We sat inside and had a couple of drinks, waiting for the rain to clear and just looking at this incredible rainbow – a lovely way to end a day of some pretty amazing sights!

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