Day 111 – 12/19 – Yosemite National Park, Hetch Hetchy Reservoir and Mirror Lake

We had a great time at Yosemite today checking out the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, and then walking to Mirror Lake.

The dehumidifier ran all night in the bathroom, and the results are:  bathroom is good, towels were dry last night already, door frame has minimal water.  The kitchen window was half dry.  Other big windows had water, not as bad as the previous days, but still had it.  We need to experiment with location, so leaving it by the kitchen next time.  The dehumidifier also works better with higher temps, and I think that spot in the bathroom gets colder at night, maybe around 60s, so overnight in the kitchen is likely better.

As I was wiping down the windows this morning a family of 4-5 deer crossed behind our trailer, that was cool.  Very few other people in the campground, so no activity this early in the morning makes it ok for animals to just walk around.

Bia was up around 8:30, and I’m doing a bit of writing, I’m behind again.. trying to get the main points documented to finish writing later.  I’ll start making noise around 9 so we can try to leave by 10.  Let’s see.

Well, the plan worked!  I started making noise, turned the TV on, etc and little by little everyone was up.  I made sure the kids changed and ate right away, and Carol and I got things ready, and we were out by 10:10.

We first drove to Hetch Hetchy reservoir, which is a turn right before you start going up towards the ranger station.  The reservoir area is still park of Yellowstone, but you need to access if from this side road, and according to the Gypsy app, it is not very visited due to being a little off the beaten path.  The drive gave us really nice views of the valley.  It is a very pretty area.  The hole reservoir are is very cool, and the reservoir is the water supply for San Francisco.  They take the water to San Francisco in acquaducts, and I remember passing some on the way here from the Bay Area.  

When we got to the reservoir and were about to get out of the car, Bella was having a hard time, she didn’t want to walk and threw a tantrum.  She just complained and gave us a hard time.Bia was good, so we just walked towards the dam with Bella behind is complaining.  We walked over the dam, and saw some awesome views of the water, and the valley below, where the water flows.  Wow.  We then walked through a tunnel towards the trails so we could check it out, even though we didn’t plan on taking any trails there.  The tunnel is right on the mountain next to the dam.  We walked as far past the tunnel as we could, given Bella was complaining the hole time behind or ahead of us.  Then walked back and had lunch right there by the car while we enjoyed the views.  It was so nice and warm by the sun.  It is so great to feel the sun warming you up, felt like we had a heater right in front of us.  We finished eating, and enjoying our stop, and started our drive back towards the main road to Yosemite so we could go to Mirror Lake.

The road to and from the reservoir is small, sometimes one car and is not very well known and visited, but totally worth it!  Especially if you have a chance to take the trails as there’s one that takes you to a waterfall, and you enjoy awesome views the entire time.  The road part to get to and from there also goes through some grazing fields, some camp grounds, etc., it’s nice.

We made our way back into Yosemite, and drove towards the Mirror Lake Trailhead.  Bella was into that and practiced making videos about Mirror lake, even explaining to her “viewers” why it’s called that.  It was a warmer day, so not much ice on the road, but in the high areas there was still plenty of snow.

Down in the valley the roads were icy, and some spots looked like they were sprayed with snow and frost, as the grass was white and the bottom 2 feet from the trees were white, but not the rest.  It was a crazy, weird and beautiful view.  We made a few stops for pictures, and made our way to the parking lot for the trail.  That trail is at the end of the valley basically.  At this point, everyone was in good spirits, so we were feeling good about doing the trail.  When we got to the parking lot, it was full and a few people had just parked in made up spots, so after driving around once and scoping out areas, I just parked on the side where it would not be on the way and just made my own spot too hahah.  Carol was not so sure about that, but with other people doing it, I just went for it.  Carol and the girls needed to use the restroom, so we hurried out and towards the trail, hoping there would be one soon. 

Well, there wasn’t one, so about 5-10 minutes in, they found an area with lots of rocks and just went there, behind the rocks.  :). They are becoming champs at going in the woods. hahahaha… I have to say, this is more normal than we think.  On the National Parks Service website for Yosemite, they have a few videos of trails, and the areas to visit, etc… and one of the videos is “How to Poop in the woods”, and the first sentence in the description is: ”when nature calls and you’re in the middle of nowhere…” hahahahaha…. Yep, they have a video showing you the proper way to poop in the woods.  Anyway, with the ladies relieved, we continue on.  The trail was very pretty, lots of rocks and tress, lots of moss, snow here and there, ice here and there, and mountains.  We didn’t actually gain a ton of altitude on this hike, but we were between a few “granite mountains” and it was an awesome setting.  We saw some cool trees, caves formed from big rocks falling onto each other, etc.  It took us about 50 minutes to get to Mirror Lake, and when we got there…. it was all sand. Hahahah.

Mirror Lake is a seasonal lake, meaning it dries up before winter.  We were hoping to see the awesome views of the mountains reflected on the water of the lake, but, we instead walked on the sand inside the lake.  It was still cool.  We walked around there for some time, soaking in the views, trying to grasp the size of the mountains around us, the magnitude of the cliffs, and all the natural beauty. 

The girls were having fun playing around, playing with sand, checking out rocks, playing with some ice they found from some puddles.  We could not stay too long as we were getting close to having to leave to make it out of the park by 5.   Not sure I mentioned that the park is normally 24/7, but with the tighter restrictions in CA from Coronavirus, it’s 8-5.  After we had enough time to enjoy a bit, we started heading back.  Bia had found some icicles hanging from moss that were on some rocks, so as Bella and I went in front, we looked for those too.  We did find them, and that was pretty cool.  Snow melts on top of the moss, then the water runs to the edge of the rock and forms the icicles connected to the moss.  We went through the trail back a little faster than the way in.  After we hit the paved road again, Bella and I kicked an ice on the road all the way to the car, that was fun :).  She was glued to me through the entire hike and we had a great time.

After we got to the truck, we got ready to drive back, and on the way out enjoy the last looks at the scenery and said good bye to Yosemite.

From there, we went downtown Groveland and stopped at the grocery store, then we went to the brewery to get some beers to go, and then we got some pizzas at Two Guys Pizza Pies, and then went back home.  We enjoyed our pizzas and beers, the girls ate their entire pizzas, then watched some TV before going to bed.  I was also looking for some Xmas gift ideas before going to bed and got a few things.

We had a great last day at Yosemite today.

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