Donnerstag, 2. Mai 2013

Sierra Nevada and Yosemite Valley

I left Reno very early this morning before 6 o’clock. First, there is not much keeping me in this city and second I have a packed program for today. I needed to cross the Sierra Nevada, drive to Yosemite and still have time for cycling the park and enjoying the views.

On this photo, taken south of Carson City, in the distance the barrier of the Sierras can be seen. The best route to be taken would have been over the Tioga Pass, which leads directly to the Yosemite National Park. However, with its 3030 m altitude it is still closed and may open only in mid May. As this route was not possible to take, I had some other, however longer, options. Without great research, other than that the pass was open, I chose the Hw 4 and the Ebetts Pass. However, I might have had a better look on this pass first, as a little extract from Wikipedia shows:

“Today, Ebbetts Pass is one of the least traveled passes in the Sierra Nevada. An extensive section of highway over the pass is less than two lanes with no dividing line. It has very steep sections with hairpin corners. The eastern slope (which I climbed) is particularly difficult, as many of the hairpin corners are blind, and steepen suddenly at the apex, making it necessary to shift to first gear in most vehicles. It is rarely used by commercial traffic and is not recommended for vehicles towing long trailers.”

Would have been good to have known this before! I got a little bit suspicious when approaching the pass from the eastern side there were no vehicles before and behind me and moreover there was not a single one coming down the pass! Also the occasional signs “Very steep and winding road”, “Above 25% grades” “Not recommended for vehicles longer than 25 feet” and “No snow removal beyond this point” didn’t really boost my confidence. As returning would mean a 150+ miles detour I still went on.

As it turned out the road was not half as scary as one might have expected. However, I was somewhat relieved when I reached the summit as I always expected that the road would really get bad. But compared to the north side of the “Balmberg” back home, this is a piece of cake. At least as long it is sunny and dry like today. On my way down I encountered the first cars in about one hour.

Once down from the pass, I didn’t at all regret it to have chosen this way, as the breath taking views and Alpine lake did make up for the strange feeling in the stomach.   

I drove on to Sonora, where I would have my hotel for the night and made a little picnic at New Melones Lake. After my ride around Lake Tahoe the other day I treated myself with a great Steak-Spare Ribs Combo (Ruby River Steak House, Reno) that evening. The leftovers from yesterday make a great lunch today.   

Next stop Yosemite NP. What can one say other than this is an enchanted place. I parked my car right under the Bridalveil Fall, slipped in my bike outfit and started cycling in this one of a kind valley and enjoying its highlights.
Bridalveil falls....

Upper Yosemite Falls...

Glacier Point, which Yannink, Björn and I hiked up to 1.5 years ago

Half dome...

El Capitan...

Having reached the end of the valley and now being really hungry, I noticed in the store at the Yosemite Lodge that I left my wallet in the car. So I needed to do the round another time, which I would have done anyhow. Now on the second try finally equipped with a Roast Beef sandwich, I selected a tree below El Capitan to stretch out in the shade and look out for climbers on the “Nose” of El Capitan.    

Radroute 2097253 - powered by Bikemap 

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