On Sunday morning, we drove to Tunnel View for some pictures. Although we lamented the rain, sleet, and fog at the time, some of the shots actually turned out to be pretty cool.
We had wanted to visit Glacier Point, but Glacier Point Road was closed. Plan B was to go to Mariposa Grove. Upon leaving Tunnel View, we drove through the Wawona Tunnel, which is 1.3-mile-long channel through solid granite. As we approached the other end of the tunnel, we could see that snow was falling. I wish I’d thought to get a picture, but it probably wouldn’t have done the experience justice anyhow.
As we continued on Wawona Road, the snowfall increased, and the car windows started to fog up such that we had to pull over multiple times to wait for them to clear. All in all, we were fortunate that we’d left when we did and that we weren’t delayed too long because there came a point where park rangers had begun stopping cars that were going in the other direction (which was to higher elevation while we had started to descend), requiring them to put on tire chains or turn around. Not having tire chains, we would have been SOL, so our timing was good. We made it to the Mariposa Grove Welcome Center and took the shuttle the rest of the way to the grove.
Part of me wasn’t thrilled at being snowed upon so late in the spring (May 19), but I have to admit that the snow made Mariposa Grove seem magical. I’m sure it would have been lovely under just about any conditions, but the snow definitely added an extra something. It helped that I was wearing appropriate footwear (waterproof hiking boots), unlike this fellow I saw!
We hiked the Grizzly Giant Loop Trail in this springtime winter wonderland, and although we did not build a snow-person, we did see one!
We got the shuttle back to the parking lot and, in our rental car, made a lunch of some provisions we’d picked up that morning. We discovered that we’d accidentally bought vegan cheese, but all in all, it wasn’t half bad.
Our next destination was Butterfly Creek Winery, which is not a place one is likely to stumble upon by accident but is well worth a visit. We were greeted at the car by the winery dog (whose name escapes me), and not far behind him was a somewhat scruffy looking cat, who we’d later learn was named Riley and was 21 years old (roughly 100 in human years), which more than explains the scruffiness. Upon entering the tasting room, the owner (Bob) eyed Ian’s ever-present Cubs hat and exclaimed, “More people from Illinois!” (he pronounced it Illinoiz)–apparently we were the ninth set of the week. Bob was a hoot. During our tasting, he not only regaled us with several humorous tales, but he also provided some Yosemite tips we ended up using the next day (more to come on that). I think that if we’d been able to stick around, he would have happily talked to us all day. If you ever happen to find yourself at Butterfly Creek Winery, ask Bob to tell you the story about merlot and ginger ale.