We continued on arond Lake Tahoe along the eastern more rugged side which was less developed. We crossed into Nevada and stopped at Carson City another old western town and in fact the state capital of Nevada. Carson city used to be one of the stop off places on the old pony express route and was a well preserved historic town with loads of old buildings from that era still sued, many with historic plaques outside.
Leaving town along the scenic route 395 it became very dark with heavy clouds and started to rain heavily, the first rain we had seen for weeks now. We arrived at Yosemite but had to camp for a night outside the park as all the campsites in Yosemite are state parks with no showers, flush toilets or in some cases water. Yosemite has very, very basic camping and in fact California as a whole has been surprisingly basic. Camping is camping here in Yosemite with no big RV's with plasma screens and 4 yapping small dogs in a cage outside.
We hiked up to Lake Elizabeth only a 5 mile round trip climing 1000ft in 2 miles which was pretty tiring especially at 9000 ft altitude. After our walk we were desperate for a good coffee and walked from our campsite a further 2 miles to the 'lodge' which we immagined as something like one of the many game lodges we saw in Africa, a beautiful oasis. what we got was a rustic dining room with a tented village which looked like any army outpost from MASH and this was the best accommodation. There was no coffee and we were so tired we caught the shuttle bus back to camp and had a cup of tea instead.
When the sun went down it started getting cold so we made a big fire which still didn't keep us warm. We got out for the first time our big warm fleeces which still didn't keep us warm and so went to bed at 8.30. The old couple in the next to us were in their 70's and had mittens on said their pots had ice on in the morning and the temp gauge in the car said 3 degrees at 9 a.m. We had planned to stay another day but all the campsites near the valley floor were either booked up or closed due to fires but we didn't fancy another cold night so we moved on. We drove down into the valley and took our bikes off the racks and rode around which was the best way to see it.
From the waterfalll-striped granite walls next to the emerald green valley to the sky-scraping giant sequoia trees it is amazing that such a placae of such natural beauty actually exists. The massive bulk of the rock El Capitain looms over the valley and is an awesome sight,, no wonder this has been designated a Unesco World Heritage Site.
We cycled through Curry Village the only area with a restaurant and showers and another lodge of tents and wooden huts which actually looked like some of the poorer villages we saw in Africa. they did have one beautiful old hotel named after an Indian trible The Ahwahnee where we finally found coffee and we sat in the gardens watching the obese squirrels overfed by tourists, they were so fat they looked like huge rats, it was actually quite sad seeing them looking like that.
To exit the park we had to go back the way we came which took us back past all the areas that had been burned by fires which had closed 4 campsites. Some of the areas where still smoldering and were still attended by firefighters, All in all we had done a round trip of 130 miles in the park but were glad that the temperature had reached a more pleasant 23 by the time we reached the town of Bishop at a lower altitude.