One of our goals is to watch the climbers on El Capitan.
After leaving Motel 6 in Fremont, it's only a few minutes until we are over the Sunol Grade, past Pleasanton and heading out past Tracy in the Central Valley.
The windmills are still turning at Altamont Pass.
Eventually we start into the western foothills of the Sierra Nevada.
You can see the power lines coming from the Hetch Hetchy power dam heading toward San Francisco.
The roads are winding, and you don't rely on any guard-rails to keep you on the road. Out here, you are expected to know how to drive, and take responsibility accordingly. Meanwhile, down below, boaters buzz around on the reservoir, a feeder for the California Aqueduct System.
Along the way we stop at one of the Vista Points. We get chatting with a family from Petaluma and take their photo. Alan, Melita, Elizabeth, Tom, Dillon, Nikki, Morgan, Mele and Mikey are also on their way to Yosemite but will camp at Hodgdon Meadow. I stayed there many years ago, and remember well the aroma of BBQ's wafting through the trees. Perhaps we'll see you again later!
Breezing through the park entrance with only a few cars ahead of us, we soon get to the first views of the Valley. That little line through the forest on the left is the descending road. You can see several tunnels as well.
It's a spectacular drive all the way down and we listen to one of the tracks from the album Sacred Spirits.
It's Native American music, and very fitting to listen to it since this was one of their most beautiful homes.
First stop in the valley is the Backcountry Office to pick up our Wilderness Permit, which we applied for several months earlier. No problems, and lots of useful information there.
The climbers are on El Capitan and we'll see more of them when we get back down from our hike in a few days. Right now, it's time to get to our campsite in Upper Pines and get ready for tomorrow.
At the crack of dawn we grab the shuttle to our trailhead and start backpacking! This time, I hope there are no bear visitors sniffing around at the base. See