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2019 - West Coast USA - Day 14

'If you call me Señorita’ was the song I had in my head as I woke. Hardly surprising as we have heard it about ten times each day on the car radio regardless of what station we have been tuned into.

We had set the alarm again for 6am as we wanted to head into the really busy part of Yosemite Valley this morning where car parking is even more of a premium.

This Hotel in Mariposa provided breakfast and having been without for a few days it was almost a relief to be greeted by scrambled eggs again. They were not bad. But I do have to make a stand against Sausage Gravy. I do not know what it is, not do I want to find out. It is white and lumpy and unnecessary. There is no question in the world where the acceptable answer is Sausage Gravy. It is plain wrong.

I managed to sneak out from breakfast two hard boiled eggs to eat later in the day. Karen also misappropriated a Bagel and some cream cheese.

We packed up some cold drinks and snacks and headed off to the Valley. It was a good 80 minute drive along the now familiar bendy up and downhill roads and over the bridge where the ‘incident’ occurred the day before.

By the time we pulled into the Village Car Park at 8.30am it was already filling up but we managed to find a spot. Feeling smug about that we set off for the visitors centre. Again we were too early for it to be open and so headed to the Lower Yosemite Falls instead. En Route we passed the Village Post Office and Karen popped in to buy a stamp to send a third postcard to her Mum.

The short trail to the Falls was very pleasant and even at that early time there were lots of people at the bottom viewpoint taking photos. One family in particular wound Karen up. There were a number of them all dressed up in their finery and having every possible permutation of people, position and pose possible. We then walked to a separate viewpoint where the Naturalist John Muir built his hut. There was a lovely and possibly the best view of both falls and a marble bench. Best of all was that for most of the time we sat there without nobody else around. It was bliss.

Then we wandered slowly back to the main village hub. We went in the free museum to start with. It was just OK. We then wandered around the Indian Village for a while which was much more interesting. Then we went into the Visitors Centre which by now was very busy. This had a very informative section about Yosemite and even kept me interested for about 15 minutes.

By now Karen was gasping for caffeine and so we wandered to the Deli and got a couple of hot drinks, and found a picnic table to enjoy them in the sunshine. Our rest did not last long as not for the first time our request for English Breakfast tea for me had not been correctly met. I don’t know what it was but it was not to my taste. Fortunately Karen had packed an emergency proper tea bag in her bag, so I disposed the drink I had been given and went back inside and helped myself to the hot water and made my own tea. It was much better. Do I look like someone who asks for English Breakfast tea but will accept a namby pamby scented substitute instead?

We were so chilled sitting there that we played a game of Tenable on my phone (and got all 10 answers to the Michael Jackson solo albums question, which I am not sure is a feat to be proud of).

As we were sitting there, little did we now that Glenn & Al were also in Yosemite Valley trying to park. They had been following an almost similar route as us but in reverse. We had kept in touch with them and knew that today we would be close to each other but thought they would be exploring the Upper Valley today as we did yesterday. It is such a shame as it would have been lovely to have met up for a short while and for me to have some intellectual conversation!

As we were then making our way back to the car in order to get provisions for another walk we came across the take away food shop. It looked good and was priced reasonable for the location. So we thought we would have out hot meal for the day from here and both had a basket of Chicken Tenders & Chips. The food was fine and it was all rather pleasant.

Then we came across the Village Store. This was no ordinary village store instead bigger than many of our supermarkets at home. I bought some raspberries and Karen had one of her favourite ’Sandwich Ice Creams’. They also sold ’Smore’ kits which we were tempted to but Barry & Ellie (I always like to tell the boys what I didn’t buy them). These kits looked good for toasting on an open fire. But we weren’t sure how we would get it home, and were confident we could buy the component parts of Herseys Chocolate, Marshmallows, Graham Crackers and long toasting sticks much cheaper separately. We also did not know where they would have access to an open fire to make them.

After finally getting back to the car and having a nice cold can to drink we then made our big mistake of the day. Most of the valley is served by a free shuttle service. We had decided to walk the Mirror Lake trail of which you reached the start via the shuttle. Our car was parked next to stop No 1. The trail started at No 17 and I thought it would be nice to see much of the valley on the journey. Well it might have been except the route just kept double backing on itself. Each stop took forever or so it seemed as loads of people took ages to get on and off. After 30 minutes we arrived at stop No 10, which was just the other side of the car park where we started. I was getting more annoyed with myself for not checking the route throughly beforehand. Then by the time we arrived at stop No 15, the queues to get on the shuttle were enormous and it was obvious that those waiting would not get on this bus nor the next one or two. We quickly made a tactical decision not to get off at No 17, for the fear of having to wait at least an hour to get on the shuttle after we had completed the trail. So we continued on the shuttle and got off where we got on having wasted the best part of a hour. going round. At least we had seen the whole of the valley though.

So instead we decided to walk to a closer trail around Cooks Meadow. This was really good and gave us terrific views of Half Dome. Then to Karen’s delight as we came back through the meadow we came across some deer grazing close to the path and not being bothered by people walking by.

We made our way back to the car via the coffee shop again where we sat outside again for a while. This time we got the Wifi code and found out that we had just missed seeing Glenn who by now had left and driven North to their Hotel for the night.

Eventually we made our way back to the car and started the long drive back to Mariposa.

By the time we got back to the Hotel, Karen’s step counter showed she had walked another 9 miles today. Mine showed a mile or so less which we could not explain.

As we had had a hot meal earlier and the cost of eating out in Mariposa was ridiculous we had a make do supper tonight. I had my boiled eggs from breakfast in a sandwich whilst Karen ate her bagel. We washed these down with some wine whilst Karen was kept bemused at some make over program on TV which involved knocking down part of a house to put a pool in a back garden.

We agreed it had been yet another good day.

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