The B List

August 1, 2020
Yosemite Valley
Total distance: 6 mile bike ride, 2 mile hike

Our delightful day began with the buzz of a bumble bee.

The truck idled while we waited behind a long line of cars to get into Yosemite National Park.  A warm breeze wafted through the open windows.  “Watch out!” Chris warned as a bumble bee flew through the driver’s side window.  It missed his face by a whisker, buzzed past me then flew out the passenger side.

With the bumble bee forgotten and a pink day-use entry ticket taped to the windshield, we drove under the Arch Rock—two granite boulders that form an arch-like tunnel just beyond the entrance station.  Our plan was to bike ride, hike, and end with a picnic.  We parked the truck at the Swinging Bridge picnic area where there is easy access to the biking trails.

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Arch Rock

We hopped on our bikes and skirted the edge of sweet-smelling Sentinel Meadow. Lumbering through the knee-high grass was a medium-sized black bear.  We stopped and watched (no bear photo) until it disappeared somewhere into the swarth.  That’s when we remembered the bumble bee.  “It’s a B day,” Chris said.  “First a bumble bee then a bear.”

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Sentinel Meadow

We pushed our bikes across Sentinel Bridge and spied a buck with velvety antlers hiding in the trees. “Add bridge and buck to the B list,” I said.

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We saw a buck like this, but this photo was taken in my backyard.

Back on our bikes, we rode on a boardwalk through Cooks Meadow.  A commanding view of Yosemite Falls backdropped the meadow.  Being mid-summer, just a thread of water dribbled down its rocky face, a mere memory of its former glory.

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Where’s the water?

We pedaled another couple of miles passing the temporarily closed Housekeeping Camp, the LeConte Memorial Lodge, and Stoneman Meadow where on July 4, 1970 a riot took place.

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LeConte Memorial Lodge.

With our bikes and helmets locked to the rack at Happy Isles, we took off on foot.  Where the trail used to dead end is now a refigured extension named the Rockfall Exhibit.

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We followed the “new” trail uphill.  I quickly recognized that it used to be a horse trail that we walked several years ago.

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The path eventually becomes the John Muir Trail and the trail to Half Dome miles ahead.

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We crossed several more bridges, walked through an area brimming with butterflies and found a secluded beach behind some large boulders—all added to the B list.

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California Sister butterfly

Back on our bikes, we rode a handful of miles around the valley and back to Sentinel Bridge.  Again, we walked our bikes across the bridge with Chris leading the way.

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Sentinel Bridge

Midway across, I was startled by a whooshing sound and added another B word to the list: blowout.  My back tire went flat.  We pushed our bikes back to the truck and ended the day with a picnic under a giant oak tree near the Merced River.  It was another beeutiful day in Yosemite.