Day 2: Gettin' Down Glacier Point
This next video tells the story of day 2 if you don't want to read. But definitely scroll down to see the pics and additional videos.
Since the adrenaline rush from day 1 had us up all night, we decided to sleep in on day 2 and have a late lunch before heading to the park in the late afternoon.
We stopped at the Visitor Center in Mariposa and decided we would drive up to Glacier Point, which is 7200 feet up, and has spectacular views of Yosemite Valley. The lady at the Visitor Center mentioned they got snow up in Glacier Point that morning but that the roads were completely fine.
Glacier Point is about an hour from Yosemite Valley and the road up is one of those white-knuckle narrow & winding mountain roads with a steep cliff on one side. A lot of the turns require 15 mph. But, along the way, there are many beautiful scenic overlooks and pullouts that we took full advantage of.
Sorry, Jay, but you take a selfie, you face the consequences.
One of the coolest stops on the road to Glacier Point, is the "Tunnel View". I thought they called it this because you can see through the valley, as if it's a tunnel. But, it's actually because the stop comes right before a tunnel. Ha! Maybe it has a dual meeting. Tunnel-esque, right?
After the tunnel, we pulled over a couple more times, cuz how could we not? Yosemite is breathtaking!
Washburn Point is very close to Glacier Point and although you can't see Yosemite Valley from it, it offers stunning views of Half Dome and some waterfalls.
Finally, made it to the top! Glacier Point, baby!
The sun was just setting and the colors were coming in nice with all the clouds in the sky! It was pretty cold up there, and we realized it was flurrying!
This area is very much off limits, but dude had no problem dangling his dog out on the ledge. Cruel? Well, at least he got the photo and that's what really matters.
Every night on Glacier Point, a Park Ranger comes and gives a talk about the history of Yosemite and some of the interesting flora and fauna that live in the park. Interesting Fact: The only human death by animal in Yosemite was a deer, who sadly, impaled a child with its antlers as the kid was trying to pet and feed it.
If you read my Day 1 blog, you may recognize these next waterfalls, as the moonbow falls. And the green grass below the falls is where we took the pics of the moonbow and saw the deer.
And, Jay also pointed out, "Hey that's where I got lost!"
Oh, Half Dome, you had me at Half.
It started to get a little dark, and we figured it was time to bolt. Didn't want to do the white knuckle drive in the dark!
In the parking lot, Jay was amused by the fact that there were snow piles and he decided to make a solid snowball.
We set off driving back down Glacier Point Road...and the flurries started turning to bigger flurries. Jay recorded this video of us joking about getting caught in a whiteout. Yeaaa, we may have just jinxed ourselves again.
Sure enough, in 5 minutes, the flurries turned to hail! The hail turned to bigger hail and bigger snowballs! It was a complete whiteout.
Glacier Point Road is a white-knuckle drive sans snow. You add snow to the mix and it's like a death drive.
I was only going 15-25mph, and my car started fishtailing! I have a rear wheel drive Lexus and it is not meant for snow in any way shape or form. I righted the ship and continued on, slower...
Hmmm...this is scary.
Whoa...I think the sleet created a nice layer of ice below the snow that was accumulating with the quickness.
And, fishtailing again...
After the 3rd fishtail, I came to a stop on the hill. I tried to accelerate and my car just starts spinning with my rear sliding toward the cliff side!
On a hill.
The car behind me was stuck too. And the car behind them and the car behind them. Some cars ended up in the ditch.
And within 15 minutes, our windshield was covered in snow. It was coming down HARD.
Looking back, I did notice there was an obvious storm on the horizon. But, I didnt' think twice about it. Never even considered that it would come our way.
We settled in, with no clue how long we would be up there. There is NO cell service on Glacier Point Road. But, people with 4 wheel drive were able to drive down. And, we knew there was a Ranger that would have to come down at some point.
Thankfully, we had snacks bags, water, even a 5 hour energy drink that would come in handy later. We went into survival mode, rationing our snacks, occasionally turning on the car for heat. Broke out the leftover glow necklaces that I bought for #beachBonfireBash .
Not gonna lie, things got a little punchy!
But, we were able to amuse ourselves with tunes, pass-n-play scrabble on my phone, and steppin' outside every now and again to check out the scene & talk to fellow strandees. (word?)
Hazard lights cast a cool color spectrum illuminating the dark road!
We got stuck around 8:45pm and had bets on when we would get down. Jay said 7am. I said 1am.
Thankfully, the Park Ranger came around 11:30pm and let us know that help was on the way! The plows were over an hour out, but at least they were coming. I think I won the bet.
Once the snow stopped, the skies cleared and it was mighty nice out!
The plows came around 1am, and they started towing the cars that went into the ditch. And, they came and shoveled us out of our spot around 2am.
On the way back down the mountain, we stopped at Tunnel View, and I snapped this long exposure.
And, I couldn't help stopping for one more snap in a foggy moonlit meadow.
It took us ~2.5 hours to get back to our hotel. I was so nervous driving thinking everything was black ice! All in all, stuck at 8:45pm, got to the hotel at 4:45am. 8 hours.
Ohhhh, Yosemite, you!!!
What a weekend. Two days in a row, madness in the mountains!
On Remote Year, our Community Manager and Travel Guru Travis King introduced me to the 'levels of fun'. Level 1, planned fun. Level 2 fun is unexpected, serendipitous moments! And, Level 3 fun is when things go terribly wrong!
You've got to embrace the Level 3 fun! 'Cause, the reality is, Level 3 stories are the ones you'll remember and retell for the rest of your life!