Yosemite Trip: Day Three - Curry Village in the Yosemite Valley
Tuesday, January 09, 2007
This morning we are headed off to neighboring Curry Village in the Yosemite Valley. For those of you who don’t know, Curry Village is a unique collection of rustic wooden cabins, a dozen or so lodge rooms, and several hundred tent cabins right at the foot of Glacier Point. Curry Village is one of the oldest lodging providers in the park. Established in 1899 by David and Jenny Curry, the village, originally named Camp Curry, was advertised as a place where you could find a good bed and a clean napkin with every meal for just $2.00 per day. I was pleasantly surprised by the Specialty Cabins and the Stoneman Cottages at Curry Village, the rooms are much more spacious and modern than I had envisioned. Both offer guests a private bath and heat throughout the year. Most of the rustic wood cabins offer heating of some sort both those with private bath and those without. The canvas tent cabins are nice clean and comfortable as well. Most of the tent cabins will accommodate up to 5 people and come equipped with linens for the bed, however, you might want to bring your sleeping bag along as well if you tend to get cold easily. Some of the tent cabins offer heating, but not all, and I can’t say for sure just how warm the heaters keep the tent cabins during the cooler nights, as I have never spent the night in one of them personally. The tent cabins and rustic cabins without bath all share a communal bathroom and shower area which is actually pretty nice. There are ample showers available as well as a number of sinks mirrors and commodes. Curry Village also includes several community areas for dining, recreation, and entertainment. There is a very nice dining pavilion right at the edge of the camp which serves up all-you-can-eat buffet style meals throughout the day. There is also a Taqueria, a Pizza Deck and Bar, and a Coffee shop and Ice Cream Stand where you can get your favorite drink or frozen delight made to order. Directly adjacent to the food pavilion is the old post office and game room where families and friends can meet around the large river rock fireplace to play games, tell stories or just relax and enjoy each others company. The thing that impressed me most about Curry Village was its location, right at the foot of 7214 foot Glacier Point. It is a humbling experience to be standing that close to such a magnificent natural edifice of earth and granite. The summer evening campfire program at Curry Village used to climax with the spectacle of “Firefall” when one of the program performers would call out to the top of Glacier Point “Let the Fire Fall!”, and a great bonfire of red fir bark would be pushed evenly over the edge of the cliff, appearing to the onlookers below to be a glowing waterfall of sparks and fire. Unfortunately, the show's climax was discontinued in 1968 when park officials decided to reduce the number of artificial attractions within Yosemite’s borders. I’m sorry I missed it. I have seen photos of the old tradition and now having seen Glacier Point in person I can only imagine how spectacular it must have been as the glowing embers would come cascading down over the sheer granite wall. After our tour of Curry Village is over, we return to the Yosemite Valley Lodge. It is a gorgeous day, the sun is shining, the sky is a deep blue, and the lower Yosemite Falls are calling my name from the nearby mountainside. We have a couple of hours to kill before our next scheduled appointment, so several of us decide to hike over to the base of the falls.
It is a short hike to the falls from the Yosemite Lodge. They tell me this is one of the most popular hikes during the summer months, but today it is hardly crowded at all. The path to the falls weaves back and forth between towering pines and every so often the trees will break revealing breathtaking views of the entire falls from top to bottom. The Yosemite Falls are truly an impressive sight. One of the tallest falls in the world, and the tallest falls in the United States, a visit to Yosemite Falls is an experience that will stay with you forever. There is a viewing area a few hundred feet from the base of the falls, and a small bridge that passes over the river which flows from her feet. It is an impressive view indeed, but we are hungry for more. Our party decides to break from the beaten path and scale the massive boulders which lead to the cascading waters. There are “DANGER” signs warning us of the slippery conditions, but we see no signs that say we can’t be there so onward ahead we forge.
I’m not content to watch the unbridled waters fall from afar, I want to feel the mist on my face. It is a little bit tedious climbing the Volkswagon-sized boulders that rest at the feet of the falls, but it is worth it. Especially to a guy who has recently escaped from the sub-zero arctic temps of Montana to revel in the balmy 60 degrees California sunshine for a few days. A stimulating shower in the overspray of Yosemite Creek’s vertical waters sounds perfectly inviting right about now. There is something very liberating about standing at the feet of a two-thousand-foot waterfall. You feel as if the falling waters are pouring right through you, washing away every care, every stress that seemed so oppressive only moments before. Right now, wrapped in the comforting arms of the California sunshine, and relishing in the kiss of Yosemite Falls, all I can think about is now…this very moment. There is no tomorrow, yesterday is a vague memory, but this moment is pure tranquility. Ryan Becker