Leigh worked really hard to set up Yosemite reservations for us earlier this year. We have plans to stay in the park for a week for two backpacking trips and several days at RV campgrounds. COVID-19 put things in limbo for the past few months. However, the park is now open in a decreased capacity. This actually reduced the crowds and was kind of nice.
Getting to Yosemite via Tioga Pass
From Mammoth Lakes, we planned to camp near Tioga Pass on Thursday night and drive over the pass on Friday. We decided to camp off of Owens River Road. I drove the RV to drop off recycling at Crestview Rest Area while Leigh drove the Jeep to pick out a spot for us. While driving to meet her at the spot, I took a wrong turn. I immediately realized that turning around might be challenging. However, I didn’t realize how challenging. On the way out, the trailer hitch dug into the ground and the wheels started spinning. This is a first for the RV, surprisingly. I used the leveling jacks to get the rear wheels off the ground and built up rocks underneath. I also removed the hitch. After about an hour of trying, she finally broke free! I met up with Leigh, and we cracked open a beer.
Driving Over Tioga Pass
The pass hasn’t been open long, and we feel fortunate to have this shortcut into the park. However, it isn’t as short as we expected. The Bounder made it over, but the drive was a challenge. We probably averaged 20-25 mph for most of the drive up the pass. We entered the park after about 11 miles but still had a long way to go. Fortunately, it’s a beautiful drive.
As we discovered, the descent from Tioga Pass into Yosemite Valley is deceptively long. I didn’t gear down appropriately and the brakes overheated on the way down. Fortunately, we discovered this in the valley after all of the descending. We drove really slowly through the valley to our site in Upper Pines Campground to let the brakes cool down. This is the first time the brakes have overheated. I’m not going to lie, it was pretty scary. I will make sure to gear down on any descent in the future.
What is the best month to visit Yosemite?
This is my second visit to Yosemite. I previously visited in August of 2008. We had great weather in August, and the weather in June was actually hotter. However, the biggest difference visiting in June is the waterfalls. The water barely flowed in August but waterfalls are everywhere right now. I definitely recommend visiting when the waterfalls are flowing.
Camping and Working in Yosemite Valley
The online reservation system seems kind of crazy for Yosemite. It is almost impossible to get multiple nights for one spot. Therefore, every day is like musical chairs in the campground. Everyone packs up and moves to a new spot. It’s really more work for everyone. However, it worked out for us because we needed to work for part of the day. The internet in Upper Pines is really spotty. We also didn’t get much solar in the campground, so we needed to move anyway.
On Tuesday, we moved to a parking lot closer to the Yosemite Village, which ended up being our go-to work space for the week. The internet here is the best, and we got plenty of solar. Moving to this spot in the morning and to our new campsite in the afternoon became our rhythm for the next few days.
We look forward to a fun week in Yosemite Valley.