The Change

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.

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Bridge over Merced River

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.

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Merced River

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.

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Half Dome and Ahwahnee Meadow

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.

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Tenaya Creek

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.

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Mt. Watkins and Mirror Lake

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.

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Black headed grosbeak