Cal Poly SLO To Yosemite

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).

Somewhere near Paso Robles
Cody moving up through the finger crack
Cody, Atai, Patrick and Belyn with Vernal Falls in the background
Descending from the semi-secret spot

3 thoughts on “Cal Poly SLO To Yosemite

  1. From someone who doesn’t use their plane enough for stuff like this, thank you for the inspiration!


  2. Groveland has a perfect little airport for your itinerary. We just need to get a “crew car” set up here. Not everyone that wants to fly in has the luxury of another person driving. Loved your photos.

    1. Groveland is perfect, and such a nice town! If not for that little problem with transportation. I do know that Larry Jobe of Yosemite Area Realty will give rides to town (209-962-5501), and of course to any homes that may be for sale, but of course not to Yosemite.

      It seems like someone could run an Enterprise rental car operation as a side-business there and do OK. I know some pilots would use it, and locals must need a car occasionally. I also know that a car repair business in Lone Pine CA rents a few old cars, so there must be a way to handle the liability of renting just a few cars.

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