After a leisurely breakfast of blueberry pancakes, we unhooked Odysseus and drove into Yosemite Park. The entrance fee is $30.00, but one of the great benefits of adult maturity is the National Parks Golden Age Pass which allows one to enter all national parks without paying a fee. There are some bonuses in gaining senior status and this is certainly one of them (along with social security and medicare just to name a few others). I have often suggested to seniors who are so distraught with “government” as it is, that they simply divorce themselves from it by refusing medicare and social security. I haven’t found very many who are willing to do that!
One of the first things one will notice when entering almost any national park is the drastic difference between the scenery just outside the entrance and the scenery inside. Outside the park, so-called human progress shows itself in its utter disregard and destruction of the natural resources around it. The scene outside the parks is an ugly one, often with old, decrepit buildings that no one seems to care about any more, old commercial industries that have taken what they could get and left, the tourist places, campgrounds, hotels, motels, and souvenir shops are there too, seeking to take advantage of the traveller before he or she enters the wonders of the natural world.
Today, however, the scene was a bit different. Yosemite is undergoing a major ecological restoration program which includes new road construction, relocation of parking lots, conifer removal, etc. It was very difficult to get around, not only because of the large number of people visiting today (I thought today being midweek—and following the Labor Day weekend—that the crowd would be much smaller, but I was terribly mistaken) but also because of the utter confusion the restoration has created. Even the shuttle bus drivers were frustrated! In spite of all of those issues, however, the majesty of “Half Dome” and other natural wonders of Yosemite were there to behold.
Tomorrow we will re-enter Yosemite and travel all the way across the park on Route 120, then turn south toward “Owens Valley” and Barstow. Along the way we’ll see more wonders that Yosemite offers its visitors.