Yosemite High Country

It’s been 3 years since my last autumn trip to the Yosemite High Country. I mentioned this to my best buddy from grade school so he flew out from Florida, and the two of us took off in the RV for a week. We agreed to concentrate on the high country, but he hadn’t been to Yosemite Valley in a long time, so we also planned a few days there.

After picking George up at the San Jose Airport, we got an early evening start Saturday, so we drove close to the Yosemite Hwy 120 gate and parked at a little secret spot I found years ago just off Hwy 120 to sleep for the night.

Rising early, we drove into Yosemite, and our destination for the day, Porcupine Flats Campground, the only campground still open in Yosemite along Hwy 120.
I did an afternoon ‘warmup’ painting right by the RV. Porcupine Creek was dry, but the lush grass around the creekbed seemed to attract the local wildlife.

Our home for a week, my Lazy Daze motorhome (you can click on any photo to see a larger copy)–

Permanent residents–

The first painting of the trip–

The next day we headed east, further up Hwy 120 toward Tioga Pass. After stopping at some of the viewpoints like Olmstead Point, we stopped at Tenaya Lake so I could do another painting. Here are some shots along Hwy 120–

Views from Olmstead Point. That is Halfdome in the back of the first, and Tenaya Lake in the second scene–

A small Lake just below the highway (not sure the name) —

Here is Tenaya Lake, me painting and the finished painting–

Another stop was Tuolumne Meadows, the campground and other facilities had closed for the season, but the gas station was still open. The Tuolumne River flowing through the meadows–

We originally planned on staying at Porcupine Campground for 3 nights, but instead decided to go on over Tioga Pass and see if there was any space available (and my RV could fit) in a couple small Forest Service campgrounds there. We found a good place at Tioga Lake Campground. It was quite unsheltered/open and the view was wonderful. I did a painting right by the RV in the late afternoon.

A couple of shots of the motorhome and me painting.

Here is the scene I was painting, and the painting–

It was a full moon that night, which came up later in the evening. That was nice, but it also washed out the starry sky.

The next day, our destination was May Lake. It is a 1.2 mile hike uphill all the way to the lake, and close to 10,000 feet in elevation. Ever since my last hike up to the lake in 1992, I had been wanting to go back and paint it.

Hiking up to May Lake–

Painting at the lake–

The scene I was painting and the finished painting–

In the afternoon, I did another smaller painting–

We hung around the lake for most of the day, then hiked back down, and headed back to Porcupine Campground for the night.

Next day was on to Yosemite Valley. We took our time, sightseeing along the way.

Here is one view as we were coming into the valley–

The next day, we drove over to Sentinel Beach Picnic area and I did the largest and probably the best painting of the trip. I had company of some of the local ducks. They kept getting underfoot waiting for a morsel from my lunch to drop–

Here is the scene and the painting–

The next day, we got a fairly early start and headed back to San Jose.