First snowshoe adventure of the season in March? Yes indeed, and we sure weren’t going to waste anytime getting our snowshoes on that snow. We just didn’t know when Mother Nature would take that opportunity away from us. A good workout, gaining 1,000 feet in elevation in 2 1/2 miles, but we also received a wonderful surprise when we arrived at the Yosemite Ski & Snowboard Area that they were opening up the Nordic operations on a limited basis in a couple of days!!
Where: Yosemite National Park
Distance: 5.74 Miles
Difficulty: Moderate to Strenuous
Elevation Range: 6,059′ – 7,280′
Date: March 7, 2018
Maps: El Capitan Topographic Quad Map
Dog Hike? No, dogs not allowed in Yosemite National Park Wilderness
We headed though the south entrance to Yosemite National Park to Chinquapin, where Glacier Point Road starts and the restrooms are located. Glacier Point Road was closed and we parked in the parking lot at the restrooms. The trail started to the right of the restrooms where the metal vault was located. It wasn’t signed when we were there but if you follow the tracks in the snow, you can’t miss it.
The trail started gaining elevation from the start and the trail was full of footprints that had postholed in the snow but that foot traffic tapered off within a quarter of a mile or so. The trail had been broken by others so we didn’t have that hard work to do. A few sets of cross country ski track paralleled a set of snowshoe tracks. There also was small tree across the trail but it was easy to duck under.
The trail that we were following was actually the old stagecoach road the led early Yosemite visitors from Wawona. Carolyn Feroben, Mariposa County History and Genealogy Research, helped make my research easier from an article that she wrote for the Sierra Sun Times on May 6, 2007.
If you look at topographic maps for the area, you will see Monroe Meadow and that is in the area where the ski resort sits today. The meadow was named for George Frazier Monroe, a stagecoach driver for the Yosemite Stage Line, driving for them from about 1866 until his death in 1886.
A friend to all, his pride centered particularly in one equipment. Alert with the spirit of morn, gorgeous in silvered buckles and bits were the horses, gay with new paint and fresh washing the stage coach, but brighter than either the man on the box- George Monroe. Wide was the brim of his costly sombrero, white gauntlets embroidered in silk, the gloves on his shapely hands, and polished like mirrors his bootlegs.”
Of the later, (George Monroe) Commissioner Ben Trutnan, in an article published 1896 quoted the following words form Mr. Washburn:
“after an experience of nearly forty years and having had as much as fifty regular drivers some seasons, I have never known another such as an all-round reins man as George Monroe. He was a wonder in every way. He had names for all the horses, and they all knew their names. Sometimes he spoke sharply to one or more of them, but generally he addressed them pleasantly. He seldom used a whip, except to crack it over their heads. Metaphorically, he spoke daggers, but used none. He drove over my lines for nearly twenty years and never injured a person. I always put him on the box when there was a distinguished party to be driven, and fast and showy was expected or necessary, and he never disappointed me or exceeded the limit schedule or fell behind. Once, coming down the last grade in Mariposa his brake broke short off while his teams were on a clean run, and he dashed the whole outfit into a chaparral clump . In less than two hours he had the animals extricated, the stage pulled out, and was trotting in to Mariposa. He came into Merced on time; the fourteen passengers made up a purse of $70 for him, and two English ladies abroad sent him acceptable Christmas presents annually until I informed them of his death some years later.”
MONROE, George F.
November 27, 1886 Mariposa Gazette Death of George F. MONROE.
The never welcome, but none the less inevitable visitor, Death, has again made his appearance in our community and with but slight warning laid his icy hand upon one whose familiar face and form will be long and well remembered. George F. MONROE, the subject of this notice, was a native of Georgia, and a son of Mr. and Mrs. L. A. MONROE. His father came to California early in the fifties, locating first in Calaveras County, and thence removing to Mariposa in 1854. His mother arrived the following year, leaving George, (then about 11 years of age) at school in Washington D.C. A year later he accompanied his uncle to California, coming direct to Mariposa. As a boy he was civil, polite, studious and industrious. As he grew to manhood he tired of the monotony of town life, and developing a natural taste for horse breaking, riding and driving team, he entered the employment of A. H. WASHBURN & CO., as a Yo Semite guide in 1866. In 1868 he commenced driving stage for the same company and was in their service up to the date of his illness which was only a few days duration. He left the Valley on the 15th inst., for Wawona, and two or three days later for the home of his parents on Pea Ridge, where he died on Monday last. He had been complaining for some time past and in coming out of the Valley the stage in which he was riding upset by a runaway. He may have received some internal injury from the shock, though he was on his feet in an instant and instinctively sprang to the heads of the leaders and assisted the driver in disentangling the horses and righting the stage. His funeral took place on Wednesday last from the Methodist Church, and his remains were followed to their earthly resting place by a large concourse of friends. George was a universal favorite among those who knew him boyhood, as well as hundreds of stranger tourist whom he has guided and conveyed to and from Yo Semite Valley. He was kind, attentive and obliging to all with whom he came in contact, and many a tourist has visited Yo Semite who came specially consigned to the care of ” George Monroe” by friends who had preceded them over the road. He has also been frequently remembered in complimentary letters and occasionally by substantial tokens of gratitude and esteem. The duties of the driver of a six horse stage on a mountain road are arduous and responsible. They require a quick eye, a skillful hand, a steady nerve and a peculiar knowledge of horses. George possessed all these qualities to a remarkable degree. His employers say of him ” he never met with any accident, never failed to be on time and never cost the company a quarter of a dollar for damages to passengers, horses or vehicles. Whenever George was on the box and held the lines, we knew everything was all right. He always did his duty.” Can any man do any more? To his parents he was a dutiful son, as a child, and in manhood a comfort, solace and support to their declining years. The grief stricken couple have the sympathy of their entire circle of friends and acquaintances.
You can check out my prior blog with much more information on George Monroe and his history related to how he came from Georgia to Yosemite. What an amazing man!
As we got closer to the ski resort, the tracks merged into a shared set of tracks.
And that snow became nicer and fluffier.
When we reached the ski resort, it was very quiet. The cloudy skies did not help us to take nice pictures because there just wasn’t any contrast or light on the snow or in the sky.
We headed over to the ski lodge and ate a snack on the steps. And that is when we learned that the Nordic Center was going to open in a couple of days. That means that we would be able to drive into the ski resort parking areas and have access to snowshoeing Dewey Point and the Merced Crest! If people need to rent Cross-country skis, boots, poles and snowshoes, the rental shop will be open to get you going. We heard that Glacier Point Road was groomed up to the Ostrander Point trailhead.
A nice man offered to take our picture. And in case you were to ask, that is not a GoPro on my head. I took my buff, tied a knot in it and made a hat to keep my head and ears warm. It may not be the most fashion-forward look but it did the trick.
We waved at the Yosemite Ski & Snowboard Area Webcam. Did you see us?
It was a strange feeling to look at the ski lifts and the snow, mostly untouched with just a few ski tracks that carved their way down the hill. And it was so quiet. No people were talking, no machinery was running, just still quiet.
We took a little walk to the other side of the lodge to get a picture.
I wanted to get a glimpse of an area without a ski lift. Just so beautiful and peaceful!
If you are interested in snowshowing out of Yosemite Ski & Snowboard Area, they rent snowshoes and there are even guided snowshoe hikes. They are open on a limited basis, Friday-Sunday through April 1, 2018 as conditions permit. You can also check out their webcam, along with the rental and snowshoe hikes and current conditions at the Yosemite Ski & Snowboard Area’s Home Page here. Yosemite National Park has some great information on how you can safely enjoy winter sports at the link at the end of the blog. You can also access a PDF of their Glacier Point Road Winter Trails brochure on this link, which includes a map of the trails in the area with safety information.
Dog Hike? No
Dogs are not allowed on this Trail.
Where Pets Are Not Allowed
- On trails, including the trail to Vernal Fall (however, pets are allowed on the Wawona Meadow Loop)
- On unplowed roads covered in snow
- In undeveloped and wilderness areas
- In public buildings
- On shuttle buses
- In lodging areas
- In all walk-in and group campgrounds/campsites, including Camp 4
- In any other areas, as signed
These regulations protect both pets and wildlife from disease and each other. The National Park Service has prohibited pets on trails for many years. In particular, some pets chase wildlife, pollute water sources, and can become defensive and dangerous in unfamiliar surroundings. Pet owners have the burden to assure their pet does not damage the park values for others in those areas where pets are allowed.
Yosemite Hospitality operates a dog kennel in Yosemite Valley from approximately late May through early September. Written proof of immunizations (rabies, distemper, parvo, and Bordetella) must be provided. Dogs must be at least 20 pounds (smaller dogs may be considered if you provide a small kennel). You can get more information about the kennel by calling 209/372-8326.
Map and Profile:
Prior Blogs in the Area:
Mariposa Gazette, November 27, 1886