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Paul Wagner
(balzaccom) - F

Locale: Wine Country
Yosemite snowshoes... on 02/20/2012 21:30:52 MST Print View

We're back from a quick almost day-trip to Yosemite to explore on snowshoes. We stayed at the Westgate Lodge in Bucks Meadows. This is a relatively nice, clean hotel that is twenty minutes from the Big Oak Flat entrance station of the park. It worked well for us on this trip--and allowed us to get into the park before 9 a.m.

We decided to just hike around the Crane Flat area on our snowshoes. The first trip took us through the campground out to the Clark Range Vista, which was an easy two miles out to the end of the old road. From here you could imagine seeing the Clark Range, but it was pretty much hidden by trees. So P climbed up the ridge until he could get a clear shot, which you can see in the photos.

It was a serous bushwhack to get there. But we were the only people on the trail that day. And the view WAS nice.

And then we went to the Crane Flat store to get a quick mug of hot chocolate.

From there we decided to hike out to the Rockefeller Grove of giant Sequoias. We'd seen this on the maps for years, and now it was time to check it out. Well, there is a reason that this doesn't get a lot of attention. In fact, we were the only people on the trail again. We know how to pick'em!

The trail is easy, but leads through more than two miles of forest that has pretty severe fire damage. And there are not a lot of views on the way. The first mile is also within easy earshot of the highway...

And then when you do get to the grove....it's not much of a grove. A few smaller redwoods sprinkled in among some much more impressive firs and cedars. We're just happy we did this one in the winter on snowshoes, because in the summer it would be a long hot hike through burnt forest, without much water, and without many views. hmmm.
But we did get to see the recent tracks of an ursine visitor. That's ALWAYS fun.

As it was, we enjoyed the hike, had a nice picnic in the forest, and wrapped up time to head home for dinner.

And this trip also allowed us to dine at the Priest Grade cafe...which was delightful. Well-made home style cooking at prices that are perfectly reasonable.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Yosemite snowshoes... on 02/20/2012 21:46:11 MST Print View

Where in the devil is the Rockefeller Grove of giant Sequoias?

--B.G.--

Andrew F
(andrew.f) - F - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Yosemite snowshoes on 02/20/2012 22:14:11 MST Print View

Hey Paul, thanks for the trip report. I've never bothered to do any hiking or exploring near Crane Flat, I usually have plans elsewhere, but it always seems like a really nice forest to walk through in there.

What was the snow like? Was there snow on the ground at Big Oak Flat? I found some of bill-e-g's pictures from Hetch Hetchy from like a week ago and it looks like there isn't much snow around up there. I'm tempted to do an overnight to Rancheria or Tiltill this weekend if that's the case.

Paul Wagner
(balzaccom) - F

Locale: Wine Country
Rockefeller Grove on 02/21/2012 09:32:49 MST Print View

The trail is right across the highway from the Merced Grove. And now a note of clarification. The Park service describes this as a grove of huge Sugar Pines--and we also saw huge cedars in this area. There are a very few smaller Sequoia ( at least, sure looked that way to us) here, but none of them were larger than about four or five feet in diameter--clearly overshadowed by the other trees in the area.

Paul Wagner
(balzaccom) - F

Locale: Wine Country
snow on 02/21/2012 09:34:01 MST Print View

Snow was about a foot deep, and deeper on the north side of the ridge than the south. Without snowshoes we were going in about mid-calf high on each step. With snowshoes, we were sinking in about 3-6 inches. Clean, crisp--perfect!

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Rockefeller Grove on 02/21/2012 11:03:42 MST Print View

"The trail is right across the highway from the Merced Grove."

I guess that would be in the direction of the Tuolumne Grove, but there are large sequoias there.

--B.G.--