President’s Day Weekend: Feb 16-18, 2018
The Santa Barbara Ventura Country chapter has hosted a trip to Yosemite for several years in a row. The dates have always been one of the three-day weekends in January or February because Camp Curry was open for three nights on those weekends (otherwise it was open just two nights on weekends in the winter). That has changed this year. The new contractor is opening Half-Dome Village, as it is now called, for just two nights for the three day weekends, therefore our 2018 President’s Day trip is only two nights. I am hoping that Aramark will change the policy but that can’t be counted on.
Yosemite is one of the most popular National Parks in the country and we in southern California are very fortunate to have it so close. If you have never seen it then this Great Outdoors trip is a good opportunity for you to be introduced to this special place. If you have been there once or more, then you’ll understand why Great Outdoors has made a Yosemite visit an annual event. The grandeur and majesty of the park are so enriching that Yosemite can be experienced and enjoyed again and again. The sublime beauty of the park has inspired many for the last 150 years, but perhaps none more effusive than John Muir, who said of Yosemite, “It is by far the grandest of all the special temples of Nature I was ever permitted to enter.” Please join us in this temple of the great outdoors.
The locus of this trip will be Yosemite Valley. Our accommodations are tent cabins in Half-Dome Village (formerly Camp Curry), a rustic but charming village near the east end of the valley. Arrival should be after 4:00 pm on Friday afternoon. Once everyone is settled in we will gather for tea in the village dining hall and perhaps decide to have dinner there. Afterwards we might play games by the fireside or just relax in our cabins.
On Saturday morning the group activity will be a hike to the top of Vernal Fall, following the Mist Trail (weather conditions permitting) and returning along the beginning section of the famous John Muir Trail. The difficulty of this hike is characterized as moderate to strenuous, includes about a 1200 foot elevation gain, distance is 6-6.5 miles, and will probably take 3.5-4 hours. If we’re ambitious (and in condition) after reaching the top of Vernal Fall we could continue on to Nevada Fall, adding about 2 miles and another 700 feet in elevation gain. If this hike sounds like too much of a challenge there are many other hikes and/or activities to choose from, such as walking the “loop” trail around the valley, a flat hike around the beautiful Mirror Lake, a ranger led nature walk, ice skating in Half-Dome Village, skiing and/or hiking at Badger Pass.
Sunday we will have to check out of Half-Dome Village by 11:00. I propose that we have a late breakfast or lunch at the Ahwahnee Dining Room before we go home. Let me know if you’re interested in that.
Even though we’ll be there in the middle of February we might not have winter conditions. Last year there was very little snow on the valley floor and the daytime temperatures were in the mid- to high 50s. The trip leader will inform you of the weather conditions a couple days before our arrival but you may also want to keep abreast of them by using the Yosemite National Park website. http://www.nps.gov/yose/index.htm
Driving & Directions:
When driving to Yosemite in winter it is recommended to take CA Hwy 140 through Mariposa. It's the lowest- elevation route and therefore the least likely to be affected by snow and ice. Check highway conditions outside the park at the Caltrans website or call (800) 427-7623. Since weather conditions can change quickly, it is also recommended to check the current conditions inside Yosemite, check online or call (209) 372-0200.
Tire chains are required when you go to Yosemite in winter, and be prepared to use them, even if you have four-wheel drive. They may become mandatory at any time. You may be able to find chains for rent in Mariposa, but it's better not to count on it.
Cooking facilities/campfire rings are not available in Half-Dome Village. However, there are several dining options near our cabins. You may bring snack food and drinks, but all food and scented items must be stored in the bear-proof storage locker in front of the cabin. This includes all food, food related items, toiletries, sundries and ice chests. Bears have a strong sense of smell and are attracted to anything they think will lead them to human food. Remember, not to store these items in your vehicle or tent cabin. It is recommended to use sealed plastic containers for storing your food inside the bear boxes. This makes it easier to keep your food organized, and away from campground critters.
Be sure to remember a flashlight or headlamp to find your way around Camp Curry at night. In addition, a sleeping bag or an extra blanket may help keep you warm at night. Other things to bring:
•Warm outer gear appropriate for snow and/or rain
•Layered under gear (long underwear, etc.)
•Hat, gloves, scarf, etc.
•Sunglasses, sunblock (for your face), lip balm
•Broken-in sturdy, hiking shoes (not new)
Weather: Average daytime temperatures in February in the Yosemite Valley range from the 30s to the 50s. It will be colder at Badger Pass (7,200 ft.), which is about 3,000 feet higher than the valley. Conditions may vary between sun, clouds, rain, or snow. Be prepared for anything.
Price: $115 for Great Outdoors members, or $140 for non-members.
Cancellation policy: full refund (minus a service fee of $12.00) given at least eight (8) days prior to the departure (by Feb. 8); no refunds after that.
For more information, contact:
Thomas Larson firstname.lastname@example.org (805) 220-8276