|Journal for 25-Apr-2004 : MidPines|
A short day distance wise but *very* challenging. Not an inch of flat road. It didn't help that it was nearly 11 by the time we left Oakhurst after we did the shopping and Linda packed it all away.
The 49 leaving Oakhurst was a bit of a shocker. Lots of traffic, quite narrow and either going up or going down. After two hours of mostly climbing to cover the first 20km, we crossed the county line and the road widened up a bit. It also flew down a massive descent descent across a windy bridge over the East Fork of the Chowchilla river. This is lovely country, with a great variety of large pines and other indigenous tree species. Not that I saw too much of than on the descent. And on the 4km steep climb back out of the valley I didn't see much of anything. I was seating so much it was running down my face and straight in my stinging eyes. And with both hands required to keep the bike pointing upwards and onwards (my bike objects to climbing steep hills, and wants to shunt me either down a cliff or in front of an RV) there is nothing I can do but squint and bear it.
Turned off onto narrow, bumpy (like a lot of American back roads, pitted with caterpillar tread marks) “Triangle Road”, which simultaneously took a more direct and more round about route to the least major of the three roads into Yosemite National Park: the 120. Lots of small private holdings up in the forests here. Lots more descending and climbing too. As we stopped for lunch near the top of a hill we could see the stop on the other side of the East Fork where took our first break.
Flew down the hill on the 120 through Midpines, which is a post office and a few letter boxes strung out along the highway rather than a town of any note. Turned off at the “Yosemite Bug Hostel”, where we walked our bikes up a steep dirty dusty driveway to a beautifully situated “backpacker's resort” nestled in the trees of the Yosemite forest.
I suppose I should mention the weather at some point. It has been absolutely magnificent for the past week. Beautiful warm sunny days, with no cloud, next to no wind and no oppressive humidity. I still seem to sweat buckets every day, but that has more to do with climbing more than 1000m every day.
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