Saturday, June 4th – We had an easy morning but were off and on our way by about 8:30am. On our bikes, we may a short trip to Happy Isles in order to attend a Junior Ranger program. Bicycle is really the only efficient way to travel around Yosemite Valley. Driving a car makes no sense. There is no where to park and the roads are crowded. The bus system in the valley is over utilized; buses are packed tight and make seldom appearances. The valley is generally flat with lots of bike trails. It makes it very easy to get around.
The Junior Ranger program started at the Happy Isles Nature Center, we spent a bit of time there and then walked around a bit. The Ranger programs here are top notch with both adults and children getting a lot out of it. Happy Isles was pleasantly empty and encompassed by the loud river flowing near it. After the program we spent some time inside the Nature Center. They have great displays – the one I liked the best was about the trees native to Yosemite. If you are looking for calm and peace in the Yosemite Valley, Happy Isles is one place where you will find it.
Today is the day Christa arrives! Unfortunately, it proved to be a series of problems, some of which could have been overcome by better planning on my part. Christa was arriving via the YARTS bus that was originating from the Fresno Airport. There are a few stops in the valley where she could get off but we were told the only place to rent a bike was at Yosemite Lodge so I suggested she get off there. Her bus trip went find and we ate at the food court at the lodge. Massively crowded at the lodge. People everywhere. Afterwards we find out bike rentals are by the day and must be returned by 5:00pm. That stinks. We have Christa take the shuttle to the camp site, we ride our bikes. It takes her about three times as long to arrive. She is not happy. We walk over to Camp Curry for dinner (about 1/4 of a mile away from our campsite) and see that they have bike rentals. We could have just avoided the entire Yosemite Valley Lodge circus! The pizza at Curry Village was excellent. The ice cream inside the Curry Village Lodge/Dining Room was better. At the main entrance inside they have a huge poster advertising the old firefall. The idea of the firefall fascinates me. Yesterday when we were enjoying a reprieve from the heat along the Merced River, I talked with a volunteer who shared her memories of seeing the firefall as a child. I bet that had to be an amazing experience.