Part of the easiest route to our cabin is still closed due to snow and a second route is congested due to construction; we decided to drive through Yosemite and over the Tioga Road.
We passed Yosemite Creek, several miles above where it will leap over the cliff and become Yosemite Falls.
We passed Olmsted point (I took this shot last year). Looking east we see Tanaya Lake. To the west, on a clear day, is a view of Half Dome.
Olmsted Point is the most dangerous part of the road to clear of snow in the spring. Deep drifts and steep drops make it necessary to go slow and watch for avalanches. A few years ago a plow operator lost his life and the park service doesn't want a repeat. This year, due to the heavy snow pack, it didn't open until June 18.
When we stopped to admire the view at the top of Lee Vining Canyon I saw this plaque.
I am not surprised that it is considered a civil engineering masterpiece. I can still remember when I was a child and this part of the road was still one lane dirt with turnouts. I could feel the stress and tension in my father and I hid on the floor of the car. There were no seat belts in those days.
|Turnout at the top of Lee Vining Canyon looking back up the road.|
The road is now much improved and much safer.
|The view down canyon towards Lee Vining|
It is still hazardous, though. One year we were stopped for several hours. A motorist had gone over the edge and taken several motorcyclists with him.
Some places it just wasn't possible to level out a roadbed so they improvised. Those who don't like heights might want to avoid this road. It's no longer legal to hide on the floor of the car.