On Monday, August 19th we left from our extended stay in Tahoe for Yosemite National Park. We spent 2 days driving through Yosemite which is best characterized by its massive granite cliffs among many other things.
El Capitan, a 3,300 foot face may be the most popular climbing destination in the world. We stopped off at El Cap a few times to check out the parties climbing the face and also hiked into the base of the most popular route, “The Nose”.
We’ve been so lucky all summer as the weather has been amazing. We’ve had typical mountain summer weather since we left VA and nights have been really cool. Our lowest temp was 42F back in Bear Tooth Pass! Well, all that is slowly changing : ( as we’ve made the turn south and out of Oregon we’ve really started to feel the heat. Yosemite may be our highest temps of the summer so far when it reached 97F here.
Between Yosemite and Death Valley we stopped over at Owens River Gorge to do some climbing. The Gorge is a steep 10 mile canyon on the upper Owens River in Eastern CA and has evolved into a popular climbing area. The descent into the gorge was pretty steep and took us about 20 minutes to get into in and out of it.
After Owens River we made our way to Death Valley National Park. Located in CA and NE, Death Valley contains a diverse desert environment of salt-flats, sand dunes, badlands, valleys, canyons, and mountains. It is the hottest and driest place in North America. Inside the park is Badwater Basin, the 2nd lowest point in the western hemisphere at 282 feet below sea level. During our drive through the park, temps topped out at 109F! It was very hot!!
So many National Parks in such a short span of time has been overwhelming and exciting. We will definitely return to some of them in the future to spend more time, hike new trails, and get some climbing in on the classic routes. For now, we’re making our way to Las Vegas and Red Rocks National Conservation Park.