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Yosemite Park Activities
    
YOSEMITE VALLEY - - Bicycle rentals: There are 12 miles of bikeways in the Valley. To join in the fun, rent a bike at either Yosemite Lodge (year-round, weather permitting) or Curry Village (summer only).
     Helmets are required for children under 18 years of age and recommended for everyone. They are available free of charge when renting a bicycle. Child carriers are not available. However, six-speed bicycles with child trailers, baby joggers, and wheelchairs may be rented.
     Please stay only on the bikeways and public roads. Riding across meadows, through forests, or on hiking trails is prohibited by park regulations. Off-trail riding is dangerous, damages vegetation, and can injure wildlife.
Because of the steep incline of the road to Mirror Lake and the trail to Lower Yosemite Fall, and because many pedestrians walk on these routes, rental bicycles are not allowed. Cyclists are asked to park their bikes at the bottom of these hills and walk to the lake and to the falls.
River rafting: River rafting on the Merced River provides exhilarating views of Yosemite Valley. In early summer, rental rafts, complete with life jackets and paddles, are available at Curry Village.
Due to hazardous rapids and park regulations, do not raft on the Merced River above the Yosemite Valley Stables or below the Cathedral Beach Picnic Area. Swimming: Swimming is available at the Curry Village and Yosemite Lodge swimming pools. Use extreme caution when in the Merced River as water temperatures can be chilly and the current can be deceptively swift.
     Do not swim above or near waterfalls or rapids. Swimming in these areas has resulted in several deaths over the years.
     Go Climb a RockŪ: Yosemite National Park offers some of the world's best rock climbing on clean rock surfaces. It is no coincidence that the Yosemite Mountaineering School and Guide Service is also among the better rock climbing schools.
     Expert instructors guide you through all the basics, and climbing shoes and gear are available. A basic rock climbing lesson provides instruction on equipment and the correct use of hand- and footholds, belays, and rappels.
Intermediate lessons teach setting belay anchors, use of nuts and runners, more difficult hand- and footholds, direct aid, jamcrack techniques, and other more advanced procedures.
Summer Snow Climbing, Alpencraft, Snow & Ice, Alpine Climbing, Advanced Free Climbing, and Direct Aid are among several advanced courses offered. Private guided climbs and instruction are also available.
     Rock climbing lessons are offered every day, early April through September, conditions permitting. In summer, the Yosemite Mountaineering School and Guide Service is headquartered at Tuolumne Meadows. From September to June, the school is located at Curry Village in Yosemite Valley.
For more information, call (209) 372-8344. Hiking and backpacking: Yosemite has trails for all abilities. Detailed guides and topographic maps are on sale in park stores, visitor centers, and at the Wilderness Center in Yosemite Valley.
  Backpacking instruction and guided trips are available through the Yosemite Mountaineering School and Guide Service, (209) 372-8344. Guided hikes and trips are also offered by the Yosemite Association.
All of Yosemite is bear country. The most effective method for storing food in the wilderness is to use plastic bear-resistant canisters.
     All other efforts are considered delay tactics at best, as Yosemite's bears are cleverly able to undo most well-known food storage methods. Check at the Visitor Center or Wilderness Permit stations for more information.
Bear-resistant portable food canisters may be rented for $3 per day or purchased for about $75 at the Curry Village and Tuolumne mountain shops, the Village Sport Shop, Crane Flat Grocery, the Wawona Store, and Tuolumne Grocery. In 1998, a distribution system, sponsored by the Yosemite Association, will be initiated at the Hetch Hetchy entrance.
While hiking, do not leave food in your vehicle; eat it, discard it (in a bearproof dumpster or trash can), or use a trailhead food storage locker where available. Permits are required for overnight stays in Yosemite's backcountry.
     Half of the allocated permits are available up to 24 hours in advance at the Valley Wilderness Center, Tuolumne Meadows Permit Kiosk, Big Oak Flat Information Station, Hetch Hetchy Entrance Station, and Wawona Ranger Station. Permits are free when obtained in person.
     The remaining half of the allocated permits are available through the mail or by calling (209) 372-0740. Written requests should indicate dates and specific trailheads of entry and exit into the wilderness, principal destination, number of people, and any accompanying stock or pack animals.
There is a $3 nonrefundable advance reservation fee per person. For requests by mail, include a check made payable to the Yosemite Association or a credit card number with an expiration date. Written requests should be sent to the Wilderness Center, P.O. Box 545, Yosemite, CA 95389.
To learn about special precautions before you begin your trip, ask at any permit office or call (209) 372-0200.

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Nature Notes
"Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves."
     -- John Muir, 1901

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