This trip has reinforced two things for me: I don't do tents or communal living. After a major meltdown last night about the accommodation and crowds at Camp Curry Village in Yosemite Valley, (see the previous post)I skyped a hostel called the Yosemite Bug in the town of Midpine, about 25 miles from the valley. Luckily they had a vacancy in a private room with a private bath so I cancelled the second night at Curry ( at 2.45am in the morning, when I couldn't get to sleep because of the refrigeration unit in the dining hall's kitchen which went on all night).
Hayley and I discovered the Bug when we did our mother-daughter, post-VCE trip to America at the end of 2003. I booked sight unseen then because it was cheap and seemed rustic and it turned out to be an absolute gem. It still is a gem, although no longer as rustic as it was 6 years ago - the rooms have been renovated (in a kind of hippy bordello chic - not as bad as it sounds) and the lovely old lounge with its' squashy couches and mismatched chairs has been updated.
What definitely hasn't changed (and thank goodness) is the outstanding food offered by the hostel's dining room. Rumour had it when Hayley and I stayed that the guy in charge had learned to cook in prison. Frankly I don't know or care where he learned, I just know that the food coming out of the kitchen was then, and still is, some of the best and freshest I have tasted in the US. Certainly I know of no other similar accommodation which offers this standard of dining. The Bug's kitchens grow or source locally as much of their produce as possible. The menu is small, (around 6 mains and a couple of salads) and changes according to what's in season. Dishes are carefully prepared with a real delicacy of flavour and presentation which comes as a complete surprise the first time you eat here. Of course knowing about the food in advance, and having tolerated an over-priced pizza at the Curry Dining Hall, this meal was what we were anticipating along with the comfortable bed and private bath.
So after another day of hiking and taking in the jaw-dropping scenery of Glacier Point and Taft Point above the valley, we headed off gratefully to the Bug and dinner.
David had the catfish po-boy sandwich ($8.95) and I had the slow-roasted pork which was served with steamed fresh beans and boiled new potatoes as well as a fresh chunky apple-sauce. ($12.95)
Serving sizes are small by American standards, but just perfect by Australian ones. You bus your own tables and get your own knives and forks etc, but I'm still not sure how they can do the food they do for the price. Unsurprisingly, there were several locals eating here as well as picking up the food 'to go'. I rounded off the day with a visit to the spa (oh that's the other difference since Hayley and I first stayed here!) feeling much more human. If you're ever in the area, do visit the bug, even if just to eat in the dining room. (Oh and breakfasts are also very good).
The bug was booked up the for the weekend, so tomorrow we're doing a long drive down to Sequoia National Park and King's Canyon.