Back to Yosemite……I’m so behind with sharing my tales from that trip. Wish life would just stop for a week or so, it would allow me to catch up somewhat!
Usually during the winter, much of Yosemite National Park is closed to visitors due to snow and ice. This year, however, thanks at least in part to global warming, they’d had virtually no snow. So this year it was their ski area that was closed! Everywhere else in the park was uncharacteristically open. And although I was sad not to get the winter wonderland that I’d been dreaming of, having the whole park open to us was just wonderful.
Everywhere in the park is amazing, but there are certainly a handful of major regions and attractions that visitors target whilst there. After catching sunrise at one of them, Tunnel View, we headed down south to catch another spectacle, in the form of Mariposa Grove.
It’s well worth the slow, twisty, 45 minute or so drive south to Mariposa Grove. And naturally you get to see lovely scenery en route too. The grove is near the south entrance to the park, in Wawona, and having had an early start that day, we decided to stop off for breakfast before reaching our final destination.
We stopped off at the historic Wawona Hotel – well worth visiting if you’re in the area. It’s now a historic landmark – very quaint outside and inside (even my iPhone camera managed to capture its historic charm quite nicely!).
They offer a buffet-style breakfast each morning, so there’s plenty of food to choose from to allow you to stock up on carbohydrates and protein before you head off walking or hiking somewhere.
In our case, it set us up nicely as we headed a wee bit further south to Mariposa Grove itself. Again, this is usually closed this time of year, so we were extremely fortunate to be able to visit.
Mariposa Grove is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and it is home to about 500 of maybe the largest living things on Earth. Giant sequoias.
So you can imagine that there are lots of hiking opportunities in the grove – we spent about 4 hours there in total. Probably hiked a round trip of about 5 miles in total. Naturally you can do less – just walk around for half of your allotted time, and then head back to the car again if need be. Careful though – it’s kind of addictive in there – time flies when you’re having fun!
We’d really only estimated staying about an hour and a half, but before we knew it, that time was gone. It was beautiful though.
Some of the trails are not so easy-going, and require a little work – it’s not just mostly flat walking. Just be prepared – it’s not for kids in strollers, or people in wheelchairs or who have a hard time walking uphill. But in the warmer seasons there is a tram tour that can take you around, so that’s the time to go if you don’t want to do the walking. Or you can even drive your own car on the tram road if you have mobility problems.
Apparently Mariposa Grove was first visited by non-natives in 1857 when Galen Clark and Milton Mann found it, and named it after Mariposa County, CA, where it’s located.
A number of the biggest trees even have names! The Grizzly Giant is the oldest tree in the grove at 1900-2400 years old. The Wawona Tree is another one that is much-visited. It had a tunnel cut through it in the nineteenth century – wide enough for horse-drawn carriages and early cars to drive through! Sadly this weakened it, and it fell in a 1969 storm.
It’s a sight to be witnessed. Don’t miss out on seeing it if you visit Yosemite when the Grove is open. You won’t be sorry!