August 1, 2020
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
We followed the “new” trail uphill. I quickly recognized that it used to be a horse trail that we walked several years ago.
The path eventually becomes the John Muir Trail and the trail to Half Dome miles ahead.
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.
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.
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.