After visiting Sequoia National Park on the previous leg of our trip and finding it to be the most fantastic place we had ever been, our next stop was Yosemite for 3 1/2 days.
We stayed in Oakhurst at the Best Western Gateway Inn and it was a great hotel for our purposes (and budget). Near the southern entrance to the park on a very scenic road through the Sierra national forest (about a 1/2 hour drive to the park entrance). The hotel had a great lobby with stuffed animals and dolls on 2 levels (we had to drag our daughter out of it as she didn't want to leave), nice clean spacious rooms in a park like setting with patios and/or balconies, 2 pools and great maid service (best of our whole trip, the maid even wrote thank you notes to us everyday for the tip and wishing us a great day). The town was small, but bigger than expected with several major stores, restaurants, etc. and nearly all the people were very friendly and helpful. The local pharmacist at Longs drugstore personally helped me and stayed late to fill a prescription for my son while we talked one night. We stopped on more than one occassion at the small fruit stand at the edge of town to get fresh cherries, strawberries, boysenberries, etc. to take into the park with us.
The 1st day in the park we visited the valley and for anyone who has been there, I don't have to tell you that when you exit the tunnel and get your first view.....it's worth a million bucks. The waterfalls, El Capitan, Half Dome, all the names that are now so familure to us, were unbelieveable. We must have stayed an hour in the parking lot there just taking in the view from every possible angle (and using about 2 rolls of film). Once we got to the valley floor we we very surprised by how crowded and commercial it actually was though (sorry, but Sequoia still has our vote for our favorite park just because it's so much less crowded and not as commercial). That said, the place is fantastic just the same. Several of the shops were actually closed due to lack of power caused from downed lines due to the rock slide and road closure on Hwy 140, but you could hear the generators running to keep other places open (the museum, general store, etc). Due to the time of year the bugs were quite bad, but we had brought spray with us and it worked fine. We parked in the day parking lot and walked or used the ample free shuttle busses to get around. Had lunch at the lodge cafeteria which was actually more like a food court and was quite good. The views from the valley floor were spectacular as well and well worth the trip.
The following 2 days we visited as much as we could without doing any long strenous hikes (recent health issues wouldn't allow same). Saw Maripossa grove and walked the trails through the sequoias (saw several deer within only a few feet of us here), saw the Valley and Village and hotels and lodges again and spent a whole day at Glacier point which has the 2nd best views of any place we were able to go. The road to glacier point still had plenty of snow on the ground on either side so we made some snowballs and took pictures of the kids walking through the snow in shorts (pretty cool for kids from Florida). Saw several deer here as well and the tamest squirrels on the planet were hanging out at the trails of Glacier point.
It was a whirlwind trip that wasn't long enough and was limited for health issues to our activities, but we would love to go back and spend some more quality time there (especially on the less crowded trails and vistas to truely enjoy it more fully).
Just an FYI: The rangers said they hoped the Tioga pass would be open by June 21st or thereabouts and as this site has mentioned, Hwy 140 is a real mess and will be for a long time (they had videos of the slide playing at the visitor station in the valley). The rangers also said they were crossing their fingers that the power situation didn't get worse and cause major problems in the whole park.
Last leg of the trip....a brief visit to SF before flying home.......