Sunday, July 16, 2017

Yosemite Unbelievably Overcrowded That Some Visitors Unable to Park!

Last year, I had the privilege of going to Yosemite National Park with my son during our trip to the West Coast. We entered through the significantly less crowded eastern end, although it is the western end (closest to San Francisco and Sacramento) which conjures up the most iconic and dramatic views and scenes, particularly of the Half Dome and El Capitan, plus the waterfalls of the region. 

It was a thrill, and I still recall that day fondly. 

However, as with most things like that, I found myself thinking of what could have made the experience better. And the one major thing that could have indeed made it better was arriving earlier. We got there at around 10 am or so, maybe, and there was a very long line to get access into the park. It was worth it, but still, the time spent on a line, while you are completely surrounded by wonderful, awe inspiring natural beauty that seems to call to you...well, I wish we had gotten there a bit earlier is all. Maybe there would have been equally long lines, who knows? But at least we would have had more time to work with.

Still, as crowded as it was to get in, I do not recall parking being a major issue or limitation. We went on a weekday, so surely that helped.

Yet, this year, apparently, they are running into all sorts of problems.

Below is the link to an article about someone else's visit to Yosemite earlier this month. Of course, July is going to be a very busy time, because it is summertime, and a lot of people take vacations during this month. However, the extent of just how crowded the park is, according to this article, is outrageous!

I thought it was crowded on the day when we went! Again, there was a long line waiting to get on the eastern end in the morning, and an incredibly long wait (almost a couple of hours) to leave the park in the afternoon/evening on the western end. But that was apparently nothing compared to what it was just a few short days ago, when there evidently were not even enough parking spaces for visitors to actually stop and see the sites!

And somehow, still, park officials kept allowing cars in, kept allowing more visitors into the park, surely knowing that there was a lack of parking spaces, and that many people would not be able to stop and really see the great sites that the park has to offer. That seems almost criminal, frankly, a kind of fleecing of people by the National Parks system - not something you usually think of as a scam artist kind of organization. Normally, you would not lump them in with cheap money makers that advertise something and then offer something much less than that.

Frankly, it is not even cheap to get into these parks. The visits to the Grand Canyon and Yosemite were $30 each, and if you spend that kind of money simply to get into the park, you expect to be avle to stop near enough to the landmarks, or at least to buses that will take you to the landmark, that you can fit in a good quality visit, and get to experience what makes these parks so famous.

If that is not the case, then they really should not take your money, but cut people off at some point. Tell them that they are sorry, but the park has reached maximum capacity, and cannot accept more visitors.

Sure, that sucks. But it sure would beat paying a lot of money and then still not being able to see the sites.

There really needs to be some limits on these kinds of things. It is a thrill to visit places like this, especially when you did it with someone very special and meaningful to your life. However, you want to actually be able to visit, and not simply to pass through the gates after paying a steep entrance fee, only to drive around and see the sites (maybe) through the car window without ever actually being able to step out of the car and park, to take in the sites more fully. 

Yosemite so crowded you can’t stop; but park will take your money at the gate by John Buckley, July 10, 2017:

Here is a republishing of my review of the Yosemite visit, which actually took place on August 15, 2016. You can see why so many people want to visit this place, right?

Summary of the 2016 Western Trip - Part Two Yosemite National Park & The Western Edge of the Great Basin (originally published on September 3, 2016):

Monday, August 15 - Woke up and had a big, huge breakfast at the restaurant associated with the Virginia Creek Settlement. He wanted to get one of the most expensive breakfasts on the menu (of course), so I ordered pancakes instead, with a side of eggs. We got two chocolate chip pancakes, and they were indeed fantastic! It was breakfast for both of us, and he had the second portion for lunch later! After that, we showed and went to the bathroom, and then headed out towards Yosemite National Park. Stopped a few times for spectacular views of the Great Basin, as well as mountains and streams and waterfalls and lakes just outside of Yosemite. Finally, we headed towards the entrance, and there was a massive line to get in. We waited for quite some time, but finally got in. First place we really visited was Lambert Dome, and we stopped at the Information/Visitor Center on the eastern side of Yosemite. Snapped some pictures, and then headed towards Yosemite Valley, although it was quite the drive. Spectacular views along the way, although we were disappointed that Mariposa Grove (home of the Giant Sequoias) was closed for the season, which I knew beforehand because of my internet research. Finally arrived at the main part of Yosemite, and then visited El Capitan, the Three Brothers, the Merced River, the Bridalveil Falls, the Cathedral Spires, and that place where the falls normally would have been, but they were dried out for the season. Got some really awesome views of the Half Dome. A wonderful visit, pretty full for just one day, although there was not much hiking. Massive traffic jam on the way out, trying to exit, and then we headed towards Sacramento. Arrived around 11 pm, to the worst hotel experience in my life. The parking lot was blocked off on one side, and a card access gate was closed on the other, as a security guard approached us, asked if I was on some guest list. Told him my name, and he looked through the papers, and clearly could not find us, asking me to repeat the name. Then told him that we had room reservations, and he looked surprised. "Oh, you have rooms in the hotel!" He then let us go to the registration, and I got the room. Asked when the pool opens, and was told 9 in the morning. Was told 8 the next morning. There was an extra security charge of $50, for a place that had barbed wire around it. No continental breakfast, only "free" coffee, instant and with powder creamer and cheap sugar. Our neighbors were very loud and obnoxious, with a child around my son's age. He went right outside our window and kept playing some kind of video game or something, and kept making weird noises. I opened the door at one point and kind of stared him down a little, hoping he would get the message. He went back in, but he and his mother (I'm guessing) were screaming at each other. He used language that I would never have dared use on my own parents, including your typical four-letter words. Their door must have slammed at least half a dozen times, if not more! Was surprised my son did not wake up, as this went all the way to one in the morning! Then, just like that, the mother said, "Okay, that's it!" And maybe a minute or so later, I heard their door open for the final time (close much more quietly this time, too), and heard the car doors open, then close. The engine started, idled for maybe a few seconds, and then  they left, apparently never to return (at least not that night). The rest of the night was relatively peaceful, thankfully. This was at the misnamed Good Night Inn Sacramento. One of the worst hotel experiences of my life. 

No comments:

Post a Comment