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A Yosemite New Year's Celebration

Program Number: 18331RJ
Start and End Dates:
12/29/2012 - 1/1/2013; 12/29/2014 - 1/1/2015;
Duration: 3 nights
Location: Oakhurst, California
Price starting at: $598.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Holidays; National Parks; Natural History Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 8; 3 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 3 Dinners    

Ring in the New Year in the inspiring setting of California’s Sierra Nevada mountain chain and beloved Yosemite National Park. Experience one of America’s true treasures in Yosemite: stand below Bridalveil Fall, follow the Merced River and experience the awe of spectacular geological features such as El Capitan and Sentinel Dome. Learn how these distinctive rocks formed and explore the features of the glacially-carved valley with your expert instructor.




Highlights

• Explore the fascinating geological formations of Yosemite Valley, including the world-famous Tunnel View, Clouds Rest and much more.
• Relive your adventures on New Year’s Eve with new friends over dinner, music, dancing and a champagne toast.
• Refresh your spirit with a walk around tranquil Oakhurst Lake or read a book beside the wood-burning stove.



Activity Particulars

Walking up to two miles. Distance of 1,000 feet over uneven terrain between lodging and dining hall/classrooms. Elevation 3,100 feet.




Date Specific Information

12-29-2014

This program includes lunch at the famous Ahwahnee hotel in Yosemite Valley.
Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.



Coordinated by Evergreen Conference Center Oakhurst.




Oakhurst

With Yosemite National Park and the expansive Sierra Nevada just out the backdoor, Oakhurst is an active community and gateway to the region’s many natural splendors, including fine hiking trails and native wildlife.



Accommodations
Clean, comfortable, rustic conference center on 162 forested acres, walking trails on-site. Rooms are without televisions or telephones (both available in main lodge).

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Shirley Spencer

Shirley Spencer has lived in the Sierra Nevadas since 1979. An educator and seasonal Ranger at Yosemite National Park since 1986, she also instructs at Sequoia, Kings Canyon, Canyonland and Arches national parks. Shirley is also a certified Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), and holds a California State Teaching Credential for secondary and middle school science. In 2009, she published her book, “Flowering Shrubs of Yosemite and the Sierra Nevada,” which includes 40 of her original watercolors and scientific descriptions of each plant. An avid hiker, backpacker, skier, kayaker, scuba diver and mountaineer, Shirley teaches rock climbing with her husband Mark. She is also an accomplished watercolor painter, vocalist, guitarist and organic farmer.
 
Meals and Lodgings
   Evergreen Conference Center, Oakhurst (ECCO)
  Oakhurst 3 nights
 Evergreen Conference Center, Oakhurst (ECCO)
Type: Conference Center
  Description: Program begins with registration 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday. Please do not plan to arrive before 2:00 PM or later than 6:00 PM. (Sleeping rooms may not be available until 4:00 PM.) You are asked to check out of your sleeping rooms by 9:00 a.m. on Friday; however program ends after lunch.
  Contact info: 43803 Highway 41
Oakhurst, CA 93644 USA
phone: 559-683-8162
web: www.conferencecenter.org
  Room amenities: All rooms have private baths.
  Facility amenities: In keeping with our tranquil retreat setting, you are not disturbed by the distraction of televisions or telephones in sleeping rooms. Satellite TV is available in the main lodge, as well as a recreation room with ping pong/game tables. Our "Fourth Green" Recreation Complex features fields for basketball, volleyball, football/soccer and horseshoes. Walking/hiking trails on-site and nearby, including a self-interpretive nature trail on ECCO grounds. The towns of Oakhurst, Bass Lake, North Fork and Mariposa feature a number of fine arts galleries and museums. Bass Lake offers swimming/boating opportunities 5 miles from ECCO.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Additional nights prior:  Unfortunately we are unable to offer early arrivals or extended stayovers beyond the scope of our published program times.
  Check in time: 3:00 PM
  Additional nights after:  Unfortunately we are unable to offer early arrivals or extended stayovers beyond the scope of our published program times.
  Check out time: 9:00 AM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
3:00 p.m. You will be staying at Evergreen Conference Center, Oakhurst (ECCO) that night.
  End of Program:
5:00 p.m. You will be staying at Evergreen Conference Center, Oakhurst (ECCO) the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. No later than 6 weeks prior to program start we will forward preparatory materials, including health forms and a supplemental information form. Because these are very important in preparations for your arrival, these must be completed and returned to ECCO by 3 weeks before the program begins.
  Parking availability:
Parking is available in front of each lodge room.
Transportation
To Start of Program
  Location:  Oakhurst
  Nearest city or town:  ECCO is 4 miles north of the center of Oakhurst
  Nearest highway: ECCO is set 1 mile back from Highway 41.
  Nearest airport:  Fresno/Yosemite International Airport
  From End of Program
  Location: Oakhurst
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details
 

Fresno, CA

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Hotel Shuttle
ECCO
phone: 559-683-8162
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

$75.00 - subject to change until reservation is confirmed with ECCO
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

1 hour 

 

Distance:

 

50 miles

   

ECCO highly recommends renting a vehicle if at all possible, for free time options. ECCO shuttle is available only on program opening/closing days; maximum capacity is 4 persons. Other private transportation companies are available in our area; call Bruce at 559/683-8162 for names and contact information.

 
Driving Directions
  From Eastern Sierra Nevada: **THIS ROUTE IS WEATHER-DEPENDENT. Do not plan on this route without checking weather and road conditions. It is generally closed from November through May. Take Hwy 120 west from Lee Vining through Tioga Pass and on to the intersection at Crane Flat. Turn left at Crane Flat (toward Yosemite Valley). Turn left at intersection with Hwy 140. Turn right at Pohono Bridge. Turn right at Hwy 41 intersection, toward Wawona/Oakhurst. Stay on Hwy 41 to the south entrance. Stay on Hwy 41 13 miles. Watch carefully for the ECCO (Episcopal Conference Center, Oakhurst) sign--or the Christ Church Episcopal sign. Turn left and follow signs 1 mile back to conference center. Note: the ECCO sign is difficult to see going southbound from Yosemite. If you pass the Sierra Sky Ranch sign, you've gone too far south. Turn around and watch for the ECCO sign (more visible going northbound).
  From Fresno Yosemite International Airport From FYI turn left on Clinton Avenue. Cross McKinley Avenue, which becomes Peach Avenue. Turn right at the on-ramp to Fwy 180 headed westbound. Merge onto Hwy 41 northbound (toward Yosemite). Stay on Hwy 41 for approximately 45 miles. You will drop down into a valley where the town of Oakhurst is located. At the traffic signal at the intersection of Hwy 41 and Hwy 49, YOU WILL NOT TURN. This is just for identification purposes. Stay on Hwy 41 approximately 4 miles. ECCO is on the right. Look for the large “Sierra Sky Ranch” neon sign. Ours is the first driveway after the SSR sign.
  From Northern California Take Hwy 99 south. Exit on Hwy 140 east (toward Yosemite). At the intersection with Hwy 49, turn right. Hwy 49 dead ends at Hwy 41 in Oakhurst. Turn left on Hwy 41. ECCO is 4 miles north of the intersection of Hwy 41 & Hwy 49, on the right--the first driveway past the neon sign for Sierra Sky Ranch. Watch for the red and white "Welcome Road Scholar" banner. Turn into the driveway (shared with Christ Church) and follow the signs one mile back to the conference center.
  From San Francisco Airport Take Hwy 101 south to Gilroy. Exit eastbound on Hwy 152 and stay on 152 until it merges southbound with Hwy 99. Exit on Hwy 145. At the end of the offramp turn left. Go over the freeway and turn right. Turn right again on Cleveland Avenue. Continue on Cleveland about a mile to 145. Turn left on 145. Go about 20 miles then turn left on Hwy 41. Once you drop down into Oakhurst ECCO is 4 miles north of the intersection of Hwy 41 & Hwy 49, on the right--the first driveway past the neon sign for Sierra Sky Ranch. Watch for the red and white "Welcome Road Scholar" banner. Turn into the driveway (shared with Christ Church) and follow the signs one mile back to the conference center.
  From San Francisco International Airport (Option 2) From SFO go either to Oakland or across the Hayward Bridge (92) to Hwy 580. Travel 580 east (toward Stockton) to Hwy 205 (toward Stockton) east to Hwy 120 (Manteca) to Hwy 99 (Fresno/LA). Travel south on 99 to Merced, exit Hwy 140 east to Mariposa. Turn right onto Hwy 49, follow Hwy 49 to Hwy 41 at Oakhurst. Turn left onto Hwy 41 and travel north about 4 miles. Sign/entrance to ECCO is on the right side of Hwy 41, just after the big Sierra Sky Ranch neon sign. Drive 1 mile back to the conference center.
  From Southern California: Take Interstate 5 north to Hwy 99. Take Hwy 99 north to Fresno. In Fresno take Hwy 41 north toward Yosemite. You will go up into the Sierra foothills and then drop down into the valley where Oakhurst is located. Although you will stay on Hwy 41, your first landmark will be the traffic signal at Hwy 41 and Hwy 49. Continue north, toward Yosemite, approximately 4 miles. ECCO will be on the right-hand side of the road and is the first driveway after the big Sierra Sky Ranch neon sign. (We share the driveway with Christ Church.) Follow the signs one mile back to the conference center.
  From Yosemite Valley ECCO is approximate 1-1/2 hours from Yosemite Valley. As you exit YV, follow the signs toward Hwy 41. As you travel out of the park, you will pass the turnoff for Glacier Point and Badger Pass as well as the Wawona Hotel. Exit through the south gate of the park and continue on Hwy 41. ECCO is on the left approximately 12 miles south. Our sign may be difficult to see from that direction, so watch for the Christ Church sign. Turn left there and follow the signs to ECCO about a mile back.
  Northern California Take Hwy 99 south to Merced. Exit on Hwy 140 eastbound, toward Mariposa/Yosemite. Stay on Hwy 140 until you come to the intersection of Hwy 49 (approximately 50 miles). Turn right on Hwy 49. Turn left on Hwy 41 in Oakhurst. Continue north, toward Yosemite, approximately 4 miles. ECCO will be on the right-hand side of the road and is the first driveway after the big Sierra Sky Ranch neon sign. (We share the driveway with Christ Church.) Follow the signs one mile back to the conference center.
Elevation Note: ECCO's elevation is 3,100 feet

The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Arrival and get acquainted
(Saturday, December 29)
   
 Arrive To: We're delighted you've decided to join us. Please plan to arrive between 3 to 5 p.m. (Not earlier than 2 p.m., please, nor later than 6 p.m.--our staff is available to assist you during those hours only.)
 Afternoon: Meet your fellow participants at a get-acquainted social hour beginning at 5 p.m.
 Dinner: Dinner in Lyles Hall at 6:00 p.m. Dinner features a delicious main entrée of beef, chicken, fish or pasta, along with potatoes or rice, vegetables, salad bar, rolls and dessert. Please note that only one entree selection is served per meal. Dinner is served until 6:20 p.m. (We are unable to save plates for late arrivals.)
 Evening: After dinner, we will have the remainder of our orientation session followed by introductions. The balance of the evening is left free for you to relax after your day's journey. Cards, games & puzzles are available for your enjoyment. Satellite television is accessible in our main dining hall, as is wireless internet. (Bring your own laptop.)
   
Accommodations: Evergreen Conference Center, Oakhurst (ECCO)
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: From our expert instructor, who has lived and taught in Yosemite and the Sierra Nevada for over two decades, gain insights into the forces that continue to shape Yosemite's changing landscape and the critters (including humans) who inhabit it.
(Sunday, December 30)
   
 Breakfast: 8:00 a.m. Breakfast in Lyles Dining Hall. An ECCO breakfast buffet may include French toast, waffles or pancakes accompanied by sausage or bacon. Standard items include eggs, hot/cold cereals, fruits, toast or muffins and yogurt.
 Morning: Class - "A Rocky Start: An Introduction to Yosemite Geology"
 Morning: After a short break, our instructor illustrates what she's taught with a nature walk on ECCO grounds. If you prefer, you may stay in the classroom to look over the reference materials provided. The walk, about 3/4 mile in length, is over level but somewhat uneven terrain. If mobility is an issue, please contact coordinator to discuss. For those who prefer not to walk, you'll have an opportunity to look over our selection of reference materials.
 Lunch: Noon - Lunch in Lyles Hall. - Lunch may include a sandwich bar or a hot entrée. These may be offered with a homemade soup of the day and salad bar, along with a dessert.
 Afternoon: Class continues with an overview of Yosemite/Sierra Nevada flora and fauna.
 Afternoon: About 2;30PM - The rest of the afternoon is yours to explore the beauty of the Oakhurst/Bass Lake area. Our group leaders will be glad to help you make the most of your time. (Or we may plan an afternoon program for you, related to the subject matter you're studying.)
 Afternoon: After a break, your group leaders discuss with you the plan for your field trip tomorrow: what weather to expect, what to wear, your lunch, transportation--all those pieces of information that will help you make the most of your time in Yosemite Valley.
 Dinner: 6:00 p.m. Dinner in Lyles Hall. 6:00 p.m. Dinner in Lyles Hall. Dinner features a delicious main entrée of beef, chicken, fish or pasta, along with potatoes or rice, vegetables, salad bar, rolls and dessert.
 Evening: After dinner you'll have the opportunity to enjoy an evening program. This may be a living history presentation, a chance to see live birds of prey up-close-and-personal or a video about Yosemite and the Sierra Nevada. Evening activities generally last until about 8:30 p.m. Games, cards and puzzles are available after that, or grab one of our plush clairs around the cozy woodstove and read.
   
Accommodations: Evergreen Conference Center, Oakhurst (ECCO)
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: This is your special day to explore Yosemite Valley.
(Monday, December 31)
   
 Breakfast: 7:00 a.m. (Note the time) - Breakfast in Lyles Hall. The early meal enables us to get a headstart on our travel to Yosemite Valley.
 Morning: At 7:45 a.m. the bus loads. Departure is at 8:00 a.m. sharp (or earlier if everyone is on board). The bus is our classroom during our 1.5 hour drive to Yosemite Valley through the communities of Fish Camp and Wawona, past the private development of Yosemite West. View the magnificent Wawona Hotel and golf course en route. Marvel at the eye-popping vista of El Capitan, Clouds Rest, Half Dome and other features of the valley from world-famous Tunnel View. Trek the quarter-mile to the base of Bridalveil Falls then drive along the Merced River to Sentinel Bridge and Yosemite Chapel.
 Lunch: Lunch at a special place in Yosemite Valley.
 Afternoon: At the hour and place your group leader indicates, gather to board the bus for your return to ECCO.
 Afternoon: After your return from Yosemite, get as dressed up as you wish (suggested: dressy pant suit or cocktail dress for ladies; suit or sport coat for gentlemen) for a special New Year's Eve celebration. Begin with a social hour to give you an opportunity to relive the day's adventures with your companions.
 Afternoon: The afternoon is yours to explore the valley features you most want to see. Your group leaders will help you design your afternoon to take the greatest advantage of your available time.
 Dinner: Enjoy a festive holiday dinner in our dining hall. After dinner dance to live or DJ music arranged just for you. Or you can visit, play games or relax. The night is yours to enjoy. At midnight lift a champagne toast to the New Year with new-found friends. Celebrate the New Year, mountain-style, until the wee hours of the morning with no need to worry about finding your way home. This is your home away from home!
   
Accommodations: Evergreen Conference Center, Oakhurst (ECCO)
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Do we really have to say goodbye?
(Tuesday, January 1)
   
 Breakfast: Enjoy breakfast in Lyles Hall and take the opportunity to say goodbye to those who've shared this journey with you. Departure after breakfast gives you a chance to get an early start on your plans for the day.
   
Meals Included: Breakfast

Free Time Opportunities
 
  Oakhurst Bass Lake
Bass Lake is one of the most popular vacation spots in Central California. The lake was created back in 1899. It was enlarged 6 years later, and work on the present dam began in 1909. At 3,500 feet in the southern Sierra Nevada mountains, the 4-mile long lake is on the north fork of Willow Creek which is a tributary of the San Joaquin River. Its waters turn powerful, electricity-producing turbine engines for Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), the world's largest non-government utility. Because of its altitude, it's not unsual for Bass Lake to have snow on the ground for several weeks during the winter--not tons of snow...but enough snow to carry chains in your trunk...and, as locals put it, enough snow to be beautiful but not bothersome. Bass Lake is popular for all of the right reasons. It's close to California's Central Valley (1 hour from Fresno) via Highway 41 and only 20 minutes from Yosemite. Nature lovers appreciate the lake, and so do fishermen--it's stocked with trout, bass, salmon, catfish, crappie and bluegill. Water skiers appreciate the warm water--75 to 78 degrees in the summer. The lake has excellent marina facilities.
  Fresno Flats Historical Site
Fresno Flats Historic Park recaptures the flavor of 19th Century life in the Sierra Nevada foothills and mountains of Central California. Eastern Madera County is the southern end of the historic Mother Lode gold fields, but the people who settled here came not so much for gold but more to build their lives and raise their families, making their living as farmers, merchants and using the rich natural resources of the mountains. The museum complex is built around two restored and furnished homes dating to the 1870s. Both have been designated by the State of California as Points of Historical Interest for their unique construction styles once common throughout Northern California, but virtually unknown today. They were saved from demolition, moved to Fresno Flats Historical Park and restored by the volunteers of Sierra Historic Sites Association, as were a pair of early-day one-room schools, two 19th Century jails and several other farm buildings. For additional information, visit www.fresnoflatsmuseum.org/about.html
  Sierra Mono Museum
Sierra Mono Indian Museum Roads 225 & 228, North Fork 9:00 - 4:00 Tuesday-Saturday 559-877-2115 Admission: $3/Adults $2/Seniors $1/Students The North Fork Mono Tribe is the original inhabitant of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The tribe consists of two clans: the golden eagle and the coyote, both of which are represented at the entrance to the museum. The Mono way of life is featured in the museum through examples of fishing, hunting, acorn gathering, cooking, healing, basketmaking, games and ceremonies. Also featured is the Tettleton Wildlife Collection, one of the finest in California.
  Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad
The Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad is a restoration of the old narrow gauge Madera Sugar Pine Lumber Company Railroad. A section of the original railbed has been reconstructed using the same techniques used at the turn of the century. Two vintage Shay steam locomotives have been brought in from the Westside Lumber company and restored to provide authentic motive power for the trains. Shay number 15 was built in 1913 and weighs 60 tons. Number 10, built in 1928 weighs 83 tons and is the heavest operating narrow guage Shay locomotive today. Railcars once used to provide transportation for logging and track repair crews have been refurbished and are now operated for passenger excursion. Antique Model "A" Ford gas engines power the trolley-like "Jenny" cars over the route. For additional information, visit www.ymsprr.com/
  Yosemite Sierra Visitors Bureau
Check out the Yosemite-Sierra Visitors' Bureau for the wealth of activities available to visitors to our area, from photo, art and antique galleries to outdoor recreation activities to many sites of historical interest. For additional information, visit www.yosemitethisyear.com
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


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