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Yosemite 2007 Trip

Day 1 of 4

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Thursday, June 21st
Drive to Bridalveil Creek campground

Thursday morning, we got an early start, heading out of the Bay Area at 8:30am. At 10am we stopped (as we have several times now) at Groppetti's Deli in Escalon to pick up some sandwiches. Another option if you want to pick up something to eat is Oakdale, about 10 miles past Escalon. After that, there's not much. There's Groveland further on, but there's not much there.

I'd always just stayed on 120 the whole way, but this time I decided to take the Old Priest Grade, avoiding the long and winding main road. For those of you not towing a trailer or driving an RV, Old Priest Grade is a good option. It's slow and very steep and winding, but it's a much quicker option than the main road. It probably saves at least 5 minutes.

Just after entering the Big Oak Flat entrance, we stopped at the information station where we met up with Marisa and Brian and their two young children. We didn't have any camping reservations, since everything reservable was booked months in advance. Instead, we relied on the fact that several campgrounds in Yosemite are first-come, first-served. This also affected our decision to arrive on a Thursday instead of Friday. As it was, all the non-reservable campgrounds had vacancies, and the ranger said that most years they don't fill up until July. In any case, if you don't have reservations, be sure to stop at the information station to see what's available. After some discussion, we settled on Bridalveil Creek.

The Bridalveil Creek campground is a little over an hour from the Big Oak Flat entrance, and about half an hour from Yosemite Valley. To get there, start from the valley and take Wawona Road, then turn left onto Glacier Point Road. It's about 15 minutes up Glacier Point Road on the right hand side, just after the sign for McGurk Meadow.

Bridalveil Creek had several sites available, but only a handful with two sites next to each other (there's a maximum of 6 people per site, so with 8 people we needed 2 sites). There aren't any showers, and the nearest groceries are in the valley and in Wawona, both about half an hour away. However, it's a nice campground and feels far away from the relative hordes in the valley. It also provides easy access to Glacier Point and hikes along Glacier Point Road. As of this writing, it costs $14 per night.

After setting up camp, we walked through the campground to find Bridalveil Creek itself. It was a little disappointing. I was hoping there would be good access for the kids to play in, but there wasn't much to speak of. We found a small gravel beach near the bridge near the edge of the campground. The creek here (and everywhere else we could see was narrow, only about 5 feet wide, and shallow. Perhaps in heavier snowfall years it's more impressive, but even then the sides of the creek are guarded by tall grasses so it's hard to find a good access point.

After the creek visit, we came back and had dinner. Of course we had a campfire and s'mores (I managed to set two marshmallows on fire). At night we enjoyed the relative quiet of a Thursday night at camp. We knew the weekenders would arrive on Friday and would probably crank up the volume the next day.

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