June 22, 2020
Yosemite Valley, Bike Riding
Total distance: 24 miles
Yosemite National Park is my happy place. February was the last time that my husband and I were in the park. It was just before the health authorities considered the pandemic cause enough to close Yosemite’s gates. Months passed. In early June, the park reopened with a new way of doing things. A reservation is now required. In my years of visiting the park, I never experienced such a stipulation for entry.
I admit that I was extremely unhappy when I heard about the new procedure. It changed my plans to hike all summer. The day-use reservation system made me realize what a great country we live in, that I could take the freedom to come and go as I wanted for granted.
According to the National Park System, about four million people visit Yosemite each year. With so many people competing for entry, I wondered if I would even be able to get a reservation.
The clock neared 7 AM (when reservations went on sale). I was on pins and needles as the website (recreation.gov) loaded on my laptop, unsure if I would win a ticket or not. I imagined thousands of people around the world doing the same thing at that moment. With credit card in hand, I entered the information and “voila!” was granted (and paid for) a week-long day-use entry pass. Contrary to my doubts, I had no problem getting what I wanted.
Though I still feel the loss of freedom to come and go as I please, I do believe the new temporary—we’ll see if it actually remains temporary—way of doing things is a good change. Now there are less crowds in the valley, less vehicle traffic, and more parking throughout. Perhaps the change will have a positive impact on Yosemite’s environment as well.
Chris and I were delighted to be back in our happy place that week. We biked the loop through Yosemite Valley twice, picnicked, and wended our way to Mirror Lake.