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Tioga Road Opens!

Tioga Road opened up on May 3, fairly early as far as the history of openings go. [It has temporarily closed in the meantime, but should reopen soon]. I sure appreciate the hard work that the crews have done to open up the road and make the needed repairs to get us in to the high country this early. Although the road is open, there can still be delays due to weather and road work. Yosemite National Park said that they are continuing to work on accessibility improvements, repairing or replacing existing failed curbs, subgrade repairs, culvert improvements and grinding up and repaving the existing roadway. You can always get the latest on the road conditions by checking their website or calling for the current status of all park roads at (209) 372-0200 then follow the prompts.

OK, now on to the fun stuff! The weather reports were a little iffy on opening day, but we headed up the second day to check out the conditions. I would like to invite you to join us as we drove, stopped for pictures and took a little hike to check out the conditions.

We had a short delay at the construction for the new shed at the Hwy 140 rock slide, maybe 5 minutes. They sure are making progress!

As we headed across Tioga Road, we were surprised at how much had been accomplished on the new paving project. The road is very nice and smooth. We did have to stop and wait for a maximum of about 15 minutes for the pilot car on our way home though.

We made a stop at Fiesta Lake on Tioga Road. There are always nice reflections at this small lake on the right hand side of the road at a pullout.

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Of course, we needed to stop at Olmsted Point for those classic views of Half Dome and Clouds Rest.

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Next stop, Tenaya Lake!

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We headed to Tioga Lake next and wow, was this lake low.

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Our original plan was to drive to the base of Saddlebag Lake Road, park, then walk up to Saddlebag Lake. It was a great surprise that Saddlebag Lake Road was open so we drove up.

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We stopped at the overlook before we reached Saddlebag Lake to admire the views. Mount Conness is always beautiful but I was amazed at the lack of snow for this time of the year. While Gail and I took pictures, Steve relaxed on a rock.

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Tioga Opens 10We arrived at Saddlebag Lake! Gail discovered that the restroom was open but I was so looking forward to checking out the lake closely so Sally and I headed down through the snow.

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Saddlebag Lake was unbelievably beautiful. Swirling, melting ice along the shore created amazing patterns.

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Here came Steve and Gail. I had slid down on my rear end because it was just easier and faster and I love doing this! You can see the big slide mark where I did this in the snow. Gail was inspired to also butt slide down the hill but she was able to go much farther than I was. . .until Sally ran to “help” her.

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We walked along the edge of the lake, taking in the beauty of the lake and surrounding mountains. It was early in the day so we decided to walk around the lake and see if we could make it to the next higher lake, Greenstone Lake. Tiny clouds started growing into larger clouds, creating wonderful contrast for our pictures.

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Gail Gilbert took this picture of us as we reached the upper end of Saddlebag Lake. The lake was very low.

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We made it to Greenstone Lake and found a big rock to sit on for our lunch.

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I walked around the edge of the lake and was blown away by the beautiful reflections. The clouds moved across the mountains, creating an ever changing light to play with.

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It was time to head back and after some some last looks at Saddlebag Lake and cloud capped Mt. Dana, we followed the same route that we had taken in the morning.

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The afternoon snow was more melty, causing us to posthole or have the weight of our leg go all the way through the snow. That makes the walking tough and even though our little hike up to Greenstone was only about 5 miles round trip, it felt like much more with that snow. (Second and third pictures by Gail Gilbert)

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Just in case you are wondering the previous dates that Tioga Road opened, I located a great table with that history of the opening dates on Yosemite National Park’s Home Page.

Tioga Road

Glacier Point

Mariposa Grove

Snowpack

Year

Opened

Closed

Opened

Closed

Opened

Closed

as of Apr. 1

2015

May 4

Mar 28

(Didn’t close
for the season)

7%

2014

May 2

Nov 13

Apr 14

Nov 28

(Didn’t close
for the season)

(Didn’t close for
the season)

33%

2013

May 11

Nov 18

May 3

Nov 18

(Didn’t close
for the season)

(Didn’t close for
the season)

52%

2012

May 7

Nov 8

Apr 20

Nov 8

(Didn’t close
for the season)

(Didn’t close
for the season)

43%

2011

Jun 18

Jan 17, 2012

May 27

Nov 19**

Apr 15

(Didn’t close
for the season)

178%

2010

Jun 5

Nov 19

May 29

Nov 7

Mar 26/
May 21

Nov 20

107%

2009

May 19

Nov 12

May 5

Nov 12

92%

2008

May 21

Oct 30

May 2

Dec 12

99%

2007

May 11

Dec 6

May 4

Dec 6

46%

2006

Jun 17

Nov 27

May 25

Nov 27

129%

2005

Jun 24

Nov 25

May 25

?

163%

2004

May 14

Oct 17

May 14

?

83%

2003

May 31

Oct 31

May 31

Oct 31

65%

2002

May 22

Nov 5

May 17

Nov 5

95%

2001

May 12

Nov 11

May 15

?

67%

2000

May 18

Nov 9

May 15

Nov 9

97%

1999

May 28

Nov 23*

May 28

Nov 23

110%

1998

Jul 1

Nov 12

Jul 1

Nov 6

156%

1997

Jun 13

Nov 12

May 22

Nov 12

105%

1996

May 31

Nov 5

May 24

Nov 5

111%

1995

Jun 30

Dec 11

Jul 1

Dec 11

178%

1994

May 25

Nov 10

51%

1993

Jun 3

Nov 24

159%

1992

May 15

Nov 10

58%

1991

May 26

Nov 14

79%

1990

May 17

Nov 19

45%

1989

May 12

Nov 24

83%

1988

Apr 29

Nov 14

31%

1987

May 2

Nov 13

51%

1986

May 24

Nov 29

137%

1985

May 8

Nov 12

97%

1984

May 19

Nov 8

85%

1983

Jun 29

Nov 11

224%

1982

May 28

Nov 15

131%

1981

May 15

Nov 12

77%

1980

Jun 6

Dec 2

144%

Average
(’80-’11)

May 27

Nov 5

May 23

Nov 17

Median
(’80-’11)

May 24

Nov 12

May 24

Nov 12

*Re-opened December 23, 1999 – January 1, 2000.
**Re-opened December 16, 2011 – January 17, 2012.

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Sources:

http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/tiogaopen.htmlhttp://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/tiogaopen.htm

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