Martin Luther King Weekend 2020
Friday, January 17 – Sunday, January 19
The Santa Barbara/Ventura Country chapter has hosted a trip to Yosemite for several years in a row. The dates have always been for 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 changed in 2018 and again this year. The contractor has Curry Village reservations open for only the two weekend nights. There is a possibility that reservations for Sunday night might open up, in which case I would be alerted and be able to extend to outing to three nights (involving additional fees). I will keep all registrants apprised of the situation.
Let’s celebrate the return of the original names to the lodging venues at Yosemite with a weekend at Camp Curry. 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 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 there will be choice of activities. Your outing organizer plans on leading a group on a hike up the Yosemite Falls Trail, a moderately strenuous hike, approx. 3 miles round trip, 1000 feet of elevation gain (all of which is at the very beginning of the hike in 60 switchbacks). It is a very scenic trail and will offer views from Columbia Rock of Yosemite Valley and close-up views of the lower falls. Some may wish to continue to the top of Yosemite Falls but it is strenuous hike that includes another 1700 feet of elevation gain in 2 miles and will take approximately another three-four hours (up and back).
An alternative hike is to the top of Vernal Fall, following the Mist Trail (weather conditions permitting) and returning the same way or 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, is 6-6.5 miles, and will probably take 3.5-4 hours. If you’re ambitious (and in condition) after reaching the top of Vernal Falls you could continue on to Nevada Falls, adding about 2 miles and another 700 feet in elevation gain. If either/any of the hikes sound 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.
On Sunday I propose that we have breakfast at the Ahwahnee Dining Room. Reservations for a large group are very difficult to arrange for a time after about 8:30am so it might be an early breakfast. Let me know if you’re interested in that.
Even though we’ll be there in the middle of January we might not have winter conditions. In 2018 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 Curry 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. A pee bottle in your cabin will save a trip out into the cold in the middle of the night. Other things to bring:
- Warm outer gear appropriate for snow and/or rain
- Layered under gear (long underwear, etc.)
- Sunglasses, sun block (for your face), lip balm
- Well-worn sturdy, hiking shoes
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: $120 for Great Outdoors members.
Registration is via this website only.
Cancellation policy: full refund given at least eight (8) days prior to the departure (by January 9); no refunds after that.
For more information, contact:
Thomas Larson firstname.lastname@example.org (805) 220-8276
Lastly: It is a long trip for just two nights. I am going to splurge and spend Sunday night at Yosemite Valley Lodge; just mentioning in case you wish to do the same.