Monday, July 11, 2011

The Tioga Road

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.

14 comments:

Sylvia K said...

Marvelous captures, Martha! As always they're the next best thing to being there! Love that first shot! Terrific! Hope you have a wonderful day!

Sylvia

katney said...

Yikes! I almost can't believe we've traveled it. I think probably going west to east I would be hiding on the floor.

I also didn't realize how high the elevation at Lee Vining is.

Linda Reeder said...

We drove that route about 10 years ago. It was amazing. We loved it.

Barb said...

I love the tongue-in-cheek of this post, Martha - and, of course, your marvelous photos.

Janie said...

Ha, ha, I might be hiding on the floor of the car anyway!
Scary road, but beautiful views.

Gaelyn said...

I love these kinds of roads!

trav4adventures said...

We were just up there over the July 4th weekend...on the 1st, I believe. Can you believe that Tioga Lake was still partially frozen? There was a LOT of water in Yosemite! We didn't drive all the way down to the valley...just turned around and went back down the pass.

Diane AZ said...

The road does look scary to drive on, but scenic and beautiful as well. It's wonderful to be able to enjoy the sights through your pictures.

Linda (PA_shutterbug) said...

What a scenic route to your cabin! Love that first picture!

Rohrerbot said...

Sounds like a fun road:) However, one that I may need support driving over. I've been on a couple over my lifetime....and you never forget them or the stories of how people lose their lives.

Raine said...

The last pic does make one feel a little dizzy. Great shots.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

NOw that is a road! We enjoy roads like that again now that we drive the smaller RV! I know quite a few people who wouldn't dream of driving (or riding) on that kind of road though.

Your history and pictures are wonderful! It's pretty nice to have the choice of roads to get to your cabin... I might be tempted to drive this one even when the shorter ones were open.

LE CHEMIN DES GRANDS JARDINS said...

Quels paysages ? Je rĂªve d'y pratiquer le land art.

Roger

Kay said...

Hi Martha! I'm just stopping by from Linda Letter's blog. I'm cruising along your posts and enjoying your beautiful photos. My husband just got back from driving over the Tioga Pass. :-)