For whatever reason they canceled all the rock climbing trips for the winter and spring quarters at Cal Poly. My daughter, a freshman, likes to climb and was disappointed since she had signed up for some of the trips. This presented an opportunity. She likes to climb, we would like to see her and I have an airplane.
So we thought of a plan. My wife Betsy would drive to Groveland, just outside the Yosemite park entrance, and at the same time I would fly to San Luis Obispo to pick up my daughter and her friends. I would land at the Pine Mountain Lake airport just outside of Groveland, and we could then drive together into Yosemite for a weekend of camping and climbing. On Sunday we would reverse the process to get the students back to the dorms. Sometimes airplanes and carefully thought out plans just don’t turn out, but in this case it worked. The loaner crew car at PCF Aviation in SLO was even available each time for me to use to run up to the Cal Poly campus from the airport.
I was nervous flying four passengers, since it is usually just me, one other person or my family. In fact I struggled to get the third row seat back in my plane since I had removed it about 10 years ago and have never used it since. Both flights were dusk/night flights, and each time I did full instrument approaches into Pine Mountain Lake and SLO, even though it was clear, so I wouldn’t have to worry about terrain.
The climbing was great. Betsy and I are more experience with rope handling, protection, etc., but for pure athleticism on the rock these students had us beat and it was fun to watch them. A highlight of the trip was a hike to a semi-secret spot where you can see five major Yosemite waterfalls at once (Nevada, Vernal, Illilouette , Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls).