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Old 01-03-2016, 05:51 PM   #1
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Yosemite/Sequoia Trip Suggestions

Planning a trip to Yosemite/Sequoia for early to mid May. Never having been there before, we would be appreciative of campground suggestions to stay in both. Our intent is to utilize the park shuttle service for a few days while in the Yosemite Valley. Not being retired yet, I have to call on more experienced trippers. We know we are a bit late in this planning but it is what it is. It is time to get the AS I3500 out for a road trip for 2016.
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Old 01-03-2016, 10:42 PM   #2
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Kings Canyon and Sequoia have daily sites. Go early and find someone leaving. Yosemite is very crowded. Make a reservation now or stay at a commercial campground and drive in. If you can drive out East.
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Old 01-03-2016, 11:02 PM   #3
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We were in Yosemite April last year, not really that crowded. We used our bicycles to get around, the valley is basically flat. Lots of waterfalls early in the year.
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Old 01-04-2016, 05:05 AM   #4
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We've been there twice in the last five years and valley campsites are not impossible but tough if you want specific sites. Generally the sites in the summer are fully booked as soon as they're available but May should be a good time. When we were there in July, we just checked for cancellations about 5-8 weeks prior. The campsites outside the valley are generally easy to get.
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Old 01-04-2016, 08:19 AM   #5
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Following this for ideas. Same destination, same timeframe.
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Old 01-04-2016, 12:18 PM   #6
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Hopefully you will be in Yosemite Valley when the Dogwoods are in bloom! Easy to get around the Valley on the shuttle.
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Old 02-06-2016, 02:49 PM   #7
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My advice:

1. Go to the only Yosemite site run by the National Park Service for information.
http://www.nps.gov/yose/index.htm
There are tons of websites that have Yosemite in their names but there's only one run by the National Park Service. The Park Service site has information like road advice for RVs, current road conditions and weather. Other sites generally try to steer you to a particular commercial attraction.

2. Don't use a GPS to plan your route into Yosemite.
The Park Service site advises to follow the directions on the site and not to rely on a GPS. Why? A GPS will usually choose what it thinks is the most direct route as the crow flies. It doesn't take into account the hundreds of feet in elevation along a route. My Garmin had me on a road that was little more than a paved goat trail on the side of a cliff. I was scared driving my minivan. I would never want to be on that road driving an RV.

3. If you can, enter the park for the first time via the Wawona Tunnel.
When you come out of the tunnel, you'll see what's known as the Tunnel View Overlook. This view will cause your jaw to drop—guaranteed!!! There's a parking lot there that's always full of buses and people, but the view makes it all worth it. There are lots of photos of Tunnel View online but absolutely nothing can compare to seeing the real thing.

4. Stay outside the valley and take day trips into the park.
Staying in the park itself can be tricky and crowded. Campsites are tiny, stacked next to each other and are usually booked up months in advance.

5. Spend some time with a map of the park before you go.
Yosemite is a huge national park with lots to see. There's Yosemite Valley, where most people go, and there's all sorts of things outside the valley to see. Spend time on the National Park Service site to see what will be open when you plan to be there. Note that one of my favorite places, Mariposa Grove, will be closed until 2017. For info about the Mariposa Grove restoration and info about other nearby groves of giant sequoia redwoods, go to:
http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/mariposagrove.htm
No matter how old you are, you'll feel like a tiny baby when you stand next to a tree that's a few thousand years old, and still standing and growing. Note that there are no drive-through trees. Over the years, cars got bigger and people kept expanding the holes in the trees. The trees died or fell over.

6. Enjoy the spring wildflowers.
Since you're going to be there in the spring, you'll probably be there during the time that wildflowers are in bloom. Check out this site run by a concessionaire at Yosemite:
http://www.yosemitepark.com/wildflowers.aspx

7. Learn about the history of the park before you go.
Read this article on the PBS site:
http://www.pbs.org/nationalparks/parks/yosemite/
Also, Yosemite Ranger Shelton Johnson gives great talks about the early history of the park. Call and see if he's going to be lecturing while you're there. He's been featured on Oprah and on PBS in the Ken Burns' documentary, "The National Parks, America's Best Idea." If he's not going to be in the park while you're there, you can see clips of him on the National Park Service site:
http://www.nps.gov/yose/learn/histor...falo-video.htm

8. Don't feed the animals and be aware that bears aren't stupid.
Feeding the animals (including birds), makes them forget how to get food the natural ways, and makes them dependent on people. They also lose their natural fear of people. Bears, in particular, are a problem. They can easily break into cars. According to park staff, they've figured out things like cars that have child seats visible usually have Cheerios all over the floor, so they break into those cars first. Because of their size and strength, don't do anything that will get you close to a bear. They can wipe you out with one swing of a paw. Keep food (and child seats) locked up and out of sight even if you're just parking somewhere.
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Old 02-06-2016, 03:21 PM   #8
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Here's a video of the kind of damage bears cause vehicles in Yosemite. The video has no sound.
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Old 02-06-2016, 04:29 PM   #9
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Seeing the video about food in vehicles........what should I do with an RV? It is a vehicle, with lots of food.........


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Old 02-09-2016, 06:07 AM   #10
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Sienna Guy thank you for your comprehensive pointers.
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Old 02-09-2016, 08:14 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by toskeysam View Post
Seeing the video about food in vehicles........what should I do with an RV? It is a vehicle, with lots of food.........

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This is a good question - I have wondered myself. I have a BearVault for backcountry camping (never been attacked by bear) but I don't know what steps would be wise for an Interstate. They do break into cabins and whatnot, so they can smell it even if it is well packaged and hidden.
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Old 02-09-2016, 08:56 AM   #12
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This is a good question - I have wondered myself. I have a BearVault for backcountry camping (never been attacked by bear) but I don't know what steps would be wise for an Interstate. They do break into cabins and whatnot, so they can smell it even if it is well packaged and hidden.
On the plus side, an Interstate should be harder for a bear to break into than most automobiles, given that even the lowest window sill is at least 5 feet off the ground. And if you use a windshield cover to block the windshield and front windows, the dark tinted side and rear windows would prevent the bear from seeing in even if he rises up onto his hind legs. You would have to keep the windows and MaxxFan closed as well to prevent odors from escaping, and rely upon your rooftop A/C for air circulation inside.
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Old 02-09-2016, 09:33 AM   #13
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SiennaGuy you nailed it. That's the perfect advice for a trip to Yosemite. With the amount of snow they've had Tuolumne Meadows probably won't be open until late May.
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Old 02-09-2016, 09:51 AM   #14
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Campsite reservations in the valley are done by lottery (in February I believe). Campsite reservations are also sold by scalpers. All reservations are gone within an hour. There are first come first serve sites in the park. There are a couple of private campgrounds which sound good to me. Yosemite Lakes and Yosemite Pines.
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