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Yosemite: 4-day trip questions [early March 2017]

Yosemite: 4-day trip questions [early March 2017]

Old Feb 21, 17, 1:33 pm
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Yosemite: 4-day trip questions [early March 2017]

I'm in the middle of planning a trip for next week. We're taking Amtrak to Merced, staying the night, and the 7 am Yarts bus to Yosemite Valley.

My dad wants to do the $99 Yosemite Conservancy group snow shoe hike to Dewey Point on Saturday, March 4, so we're "committed" to going next week . It runs "rain or shine". I've been in regular communication with their office and they haven't sent any alert emails. Has anyone done this or any of their hikes?

We're booked Friday and Saturday nights at Half Dome Village (formerly Curry Village) in a 2-bed cabin with no bath for $130/nt all in. I vaguely remember the community bath facility back when we stayed in a canvas tent cabin in the 1970s and it wasn't so bad. How is the facility now? Original, but updated (I hope)?

Are the Sunday breakfast buffets really worth $28+ (Yosemite Valley/Falls Lodge) and $49+ (Majetic/Ahwahnee)? I'm thinking of splashing out on our last morning there.

How bad is cell phone service in the Valley? Specifically, Verizon and TMobile. I may/may not need to coordinate with another snow shoe hiker. Just thinking ahead in case last minute communication is necessary.

And lastly, I'm thinking of buying trip insurance for this trip due to the storms we've been having in California this winter. I'm considering a $70-$80 policy only for my dad - to cover our '7-day out cancellable' hotel rezs and his hike fee... and ummmm, if he needs to be airlifted out. Sounds prudent, right?

Thanks for any insight.
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Old Feb 21, 17, 1:55 pm
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It has been a long time since I last snow-shoed in Yosemite but it was great back then.

We have another big storm due in this weekend. I rather doubt it will be as big as the last one that shut down access to the Park but I'd watch the Weather Channel. The Merced overflowed into the central meadows and over a few bridges during that event. You seem to be on top of that.

I think insurance is probably a good idea. Even with a "rain or shine" policy, blizzard conditions could stop you.

My cell service is spotty in the Valley. Texts seem to be fine but voice is hit-or-miss. I often send "I'm here and you are not" photos to friends. I have a very cheapo service plan so yours may be better.

Almost $50 for breakfast at the Ahwahnee seems pretty extravagant but it IS the Ahwahnee and that is what you pay for. Food and ambiance will be very good. The Lodge isn't quite so nice but the food will be good.
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Old Feb 21, 17, 2:16 pm
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We have TMobile and had no service within the park.
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Old Feb 21, 17, 4:23 pm
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Originally Posted by boxo View Post
My dad wants to do the $99 Yosemite Conservancy group snow shoe hike to Dewey Point on Saturday, March 4, so we're "committed" to going next week . It runs "rain or shine". I've been in regular communication with their office and they haven't sent any alert emails. Has anyone done this or any of their hikes?
Make sure whatever you have on your feet (boots, whatever) when you are snowshoeing is extremely well watersealed. Been there, done that, frostbite wasn't fun.

Originally Posted by boxo View Post
We're booked Friday and Saturday nights at Half Dome Village (formerly Curry Village) in a 2-bed cabin with no bath for $130/nt all in. I vaguely remember the community bath facility back when we stayed in a canvas tent cabin in the 1970s and it wasn't so bad. How is the facility now? Original, but updated (I hope)?
Tolerable, but it's a campground bathhouse. Remember to take your toiletries in a waterproof container, like a small plastic bucket, and things should be fine. Why waterproof container? Because many of the facilities don't have counters or the counters are always soaking wet - you can hook the bucket on a door or set it on the floor and your stuff won't get gross.

Originally Posted by boxo View Post
How bad is cell phone service in the Valley? Specifically, Verizon and TMobile. I may/may not need to coordinate with another snow shoe hiker. Just thinking ahead in case last minute communication is necessary.
Verizon is very temperamental in the valley. Sometimes I get a great signal, sometimes none.
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Old Feb 22, 17, 10:45 pm
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Thanks for the comments so far.

I'm happy to say a Stoneman House 2-bed with bath option popped up tonight for literally a few bucks+ more per night. And I'm unhappy to say I procrastinated last night booking our first night's res at Yosemite Valley (Falls) Lodge and the rate has increased by $30+ for the night.

This. Thank you, I hadn't thought to check my dad's boots.
Originally Posted by CDTraveler View Post
Make sure whatever you have on your feet (boots, whatever) when you are snowshoeing is extremely well watersealed. Been there, done that, frostbite wasn't fun.
The weather.com forecast has been wildly fluctuating from partly cloudy to snow showers. The big January storm, they evacuated before it hit. We wouldn't mind it all getting stuck in the park. Not that that's likely to happen, but hypothetically, how does that work - do they charge you for the lodging? https://weather.com/weather/tenday/l...CANPYOSE:13:US
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Old Feb 22, 17, 11:01 pm
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Regarding food, has anyone been to the Valley Village Food Court (Yosemite Valley Lodge) somewhat recently?

We were at the Grand Canyon in December and dined at the Maswik Lodge food court all but once. We were really surprised we ate for an average $6 per person every meal by each ordering something different and sharing, and never went hungry. And we were surprised at the more than decent quality and freshness of food. The beautiful mixed greens salad with shredded carrots, cucumber slices, whole cherry tomatoes, which fed 3 of us, was only $3-something. No price-gouging.

Both parks are serviced by Aramark. I'm wondering if the options will be similar.
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Old Feb 22, 17, 11:03 pm
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Oh, and does anyone know why Grand Canyon lodges are available for booking on online travel sites (Orbitz, Hotels.com, etc), but Yosemite's aren't? I booked Maswik on Hotels.com using a promo code + a discounted Hotels.com gift card, and got a great deal at < $100/nt all in.
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Old Feb 22, 17, 11:10 pm
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Originally Posted by boxo View Post
Oh, and does anyone know why Grand Canyon lodges are available for booking on online travel sites (Orbitz, Hotels.com, etc), but Yosemite's aren't? I booked Maswik on Hotels.com using a promo code + a discounted Hotels.com gift card, and got a great deal at < $100/nt all in.
GC are run by Xanterra and Yosemite are run by Aramark
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Old Feb 22, 17, 11:32 pm
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Let me know if you want my my go-to cheap but decent hotel in Merced.

Have fun! Hope you don't hit too much rain/snow.

Doc
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Old Feb 23, 17, 12:02 am
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Originally Posted by VickiSoCal View Post
GC are run by Xanterra and Yosemite are run by Aramark
Oh, yessss. I won't expect the services to be similar then.

Originally Posted by Doc Savage View Post
Let me know if you want my my go-to cheap but decent hotel in Merced.

Have fun! Hope you don't hit too much rain/snow.

Doc
I've currently got the Holiday Inn Express booked for $90-ish all in. I'm intrigued to know your go-to. PM me.
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Old Feb 23, 17, 10:45 am
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Originally Posted by CDTraveler View Post
Verizon is very temperamental in the valley. Sometimes I get a great signal, sometimes none.
Same experience for me with Verizon in the valley: hit and miss.
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Old Feb 23, 17, 10:48 am
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Originally Posted by boxo View Post
Regarding food, has anyone been to the Valley Village Food Court (Yosemite Valley Lodge) somewhat recently?
I assume that's the cafeteria in Yosemite Lodge (all these name changes are so silly). Yes, it's pretty good and reasonably priced. Lots of choices in there. There is also a restaurant in that complex that is a little pricier.
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Old Feb 23, 17, 11:27 am
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Please note that Highway 120 into the Park is now also closed for storm repairs. The only entrance still open into Yosemite is Highway 140.

This might impact your YARTS bus.
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Old Feb 23, 17, 1:21 pm
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The National Park Service has an alerts page with road closures and other emergency info. You might want to track it until your trip to keep up to date on park and road conditions.
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Old Feb 24, 17, 11:31 am
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Originally Posted by abmj-jr View Post
Please note that Highway 120 into the Park is now also closed for storm repairs. The only entrance still open into Yosemite is Highway 140.

This might impact your YARTS bus.
Wouldn't the YARTS bus from Merced travel straight up Highway 140?
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