President Barack Obama and his family have a half-day left in Yosemite National Park before heading home to Washington, D.C.
At mid-morning they headed out on a hike, presumably up Mist Trail.
Bee staff writer John Ellis and photographer Eric Paul Zamora are in the park Sunday to wrap up the president’s visit. Neither is part of the presidential pool reporter crew Sunday, so they’re out gathering reaction in the park to the president’s visit and trying (like many others) to get a glimpse of the first family.
The Obamas are expected to leave early afternoon by Marine One helicopter retracing their route back to Castle Airport in Atwater, where Air Force One awaits.
Here’s a timeline of Sunday; check back for updates.
3:19 p.m.: Air Force One departs from Castle Airport, carrying President Obama and family back home to Washington D.C.
3 p.m.: Marine One lands at Castle Airport as the crowd of a couple hundred people strains to see the president and his family. The president waved at the crowd as he walked from Marine One to Air Force One. At the top of the stairs, he and Michelle Obama turned and waved once more to the crowd before stepping through the plane’s doorway. The media pool is climbing aboard Air Force One.
2:34 p.m.: Marine One with President Obama and his family has lifted off from Yosemite Valley, ending their weekend visit to the iconic national park. They are en route to Castle Airport and Air Force One for the return flight home.
2:02 p.m.: Crews started firing up the engines on the helicopters, including Marine One, waiting to ferry the Obamas back to Castle.
1:20 p.m.: At Castle Airport in Atwater, crowds – many with umbrellas to provide a wisp of shade from the afternoon heat – gathered along the fence line in hopes of catching a glimpse of the president and his family as they return from their weekend in Yosemite.
1:14 p.m.: The presidential pool reports that the motorcade left Happy Isles at 12:42 p.m. Pool reporters did not see the Obamas return from their hike but estimated it was about 2 1/2 hours long. The Obamas returned to the Majestic Yosemite Hotel, and departure on the Marine One helicopter is expected soon.
11:16 a.m.: The presidential pool reports that the Obama motorcade left the Majestic Yosemite Hotel at 10:06 a.m. (suppose the president has an 11 a.m. checkout?). The motorcade took a five-minute drive to Happy Isles, and the White House says the Obamas are hiking, presumably up the Mist Trail toward Vernal Fall.
9:19 a.m.: The presidential pool reports that Obama is back at his hotel after a morning workout.
8:38 a.m.: The presidential press pool reports that Obama departed the Majestic Yosemite Hotel, formerly known as the Ahwahnee Hotel, at 7:54 a.m. for a workout in the Yosemite recreation center. (Bravo, Mr. President – you didn’t miss a workout during your Father’s Day weekend here.)