1. Derek Koonce
    Derek Koonce July 16, 2018 at 2:48 pm

    I love the rattlesnake picture. A rare moment.

  2. Peter Montalbano
    Peter Montalbano July 17, 2018 at 6:44 am

    Great, been along that whole route, parts of it multiple times. Miss it so much! (Living in Asia) . . . . I’ve seen lots of rattlesnakes down in Little Yos Valley, BTW, some fat ones, too!

  3. Luke Bakken
    Luke Bakken July 17, 2018 at 8:24 am

    Did the youth group follow Yosemite’s large group rules? https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/backpackinggroups.htm

  4. George Greeley
    George Greeley July 17, 2018 at 8:42 am

    Enjoyed your blog today. Regarding rattlesnakes, I hiked the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne last year in August. We started at White Wolf and descended to Pate Valley (where you reach the Tuolumne River). There were many rattlesnakes along the trail, always on the uphill side of the trail. We simply kept moving and never approached them which could be threatening to them and cause them to defend themselves by striking.

  5. Diane
    Diane July 17, 2018 at 9:33 am

    So glad you had a good hike. The photos and wildflowers are beautiful! We dont see a lot of flowers in August. Final preparations are underway for our hike through the High Sierra Loop. Everyone is so excited!

  6. Darryl
    Darryl July 17, 2018 at 9:37 am

    I’ve also never seen a rattler in 20+ yrs hiking the Sierras. I usually hike at altitudes of 8,000 ft or higher & have heard that the cold is a little much for them. The babies don’t always rattle but carry the same amount of venom. I guess the motto here is to sleep in a tent at lower altitudes so they don’t snuggle up with you at night. RIP squirrel.

  7. Lee Whatcott
    Lee Whatcott July 17, 2018 at 11:35 am

    I was looking at doing that exact hike after our week in Yoesmite this year–we went north from Lembert into the Grand Canyon. I’m a bit exposure challenged–anything of concern? Have done the JMT a few times so comparisons to south Forester Pass or crest to summit of Whitney would help

  8. Mark Hannibal
    Mark Hannibal July 17, 2018 at 11:41 am

    What a great summary. I just finished a jmt nobo a few days ago and decided to detour over to the sunrise lakes and over clouds rest since I was a few days ahead and had a few more grinding climbs in me. The flowers were everywhere! So delicate and beautiful. My wildlife viewing experience was opposite yours though. I was concerned about how little I was seeing. A few deer and squirrels ( as yet uneaten) a grouse here and there but generally it felt empty. Glad to hear that is not the case.

  9. Kathy
    Kathy July 17, 2018 at 2:24 pm

    I can answer the question regarding Aramark. I’ve been to Yosemite 6 times since the change, and I was fairly critical of DNC, so I’ve paid a lot of attention. Probably too much info, but here is my 2 cents.
    1. They have noticeably less staff now, and typically, less offerings overall. The Mountain Room menu is cut down, and no longer offers baked potatoes, (seriously…steak with no baked potato?). Service seems much slower to me. The Grill has been completely remodeled, renamed to Basecamp Eatery, and has slightly less seating, less staff, and a slightly smaller menu as well. I used to see employees who previously worked for DNC. They are now gone. I really paid attention to these items in particular, since I used to work in Hotels/Food & Beverage. They are definitely cutting down on costs and quality. Food items are more geared to being “pre-made” in the Mountain Room, in particular (appetizers are mostly cold now).
    2. The village store, also has noticeably less offerings, and the tshirts at least, are lesser quality, (I can personally attest to that).
    3. The shuttles, as you noticed, are completely full much of the time. At one stop, I had to wait for 3 shuttles before there was enough room to even stand. This is particularly noticeable since it seems with the dedicated bus lane, they are trying to discourage driving.
    4. I spoke to an employee who admitted that the focus is more on bus tour groups now, (particularly foreign groups) and they pack as many people as they can in a room, and have purchased roll-aways. This matches my observations. There are noticeably more tour groups. Since Aramark makes no money off the campgrounds, it seems that everything is more geared towards maximizing tour groups, vs families.
    5. The dedicated bus lane and traffic circle in the valley has also made things noticeably worse, with more traffic jams.

    For me….and for the first time in a couple of decades, I have decided to stay away from Yosemite Valley….at least for now.

    1. Lange Jorstad
      Lange Jorstad July 18, 2018 at 11:09 pm

      Kathy – that all sounds like Aramark won the catering contract through low bid, and the consequence of low bid is low service (you can’t change the price of things, or salaries – much, so the only option is to scale back). Last summer was my first visit since Aramark took over – I wasn’t in the valley long enough to get as good a comparison as you (and my last prior visit was getting married in the valley in 2004), but I definitely agree with the shuttles comment. You really need to sneak in and out of the Valley very early, or very late, or just avoid peak season!

  10. Karen Jensen
    Karen Jensen July 23, 2018 at 8:54 pm

    Having worked for Aramark years ago, it sounds pretty typical. Maximum return is the only goal. On your trip report, sounds lovely! Getting away from the TH as rapidly as possible seems a good goal. Amazing how all those industrial tourists will never set foot even a mile from “civilization.” The best places are where your feet can take you.

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