Saturday, 25 November 2017

US trip: Yosemite

From Napa, we drove the 330km to our next stop... Yosemite.
Al and I at Yosemite
 On the way we stopped at the town of Mariposa to re-fuel the car and ourselves given it was dinner time. Our meal at the quaint diner we found in the town was massive... I had eaten enough half-way through the unexpected entree that came standard with every meal! After dinner, we continued to our accommodation, Highland House, which wasn't too much further a drive. This place was incredible, really comfortable and one of our favourites of the entire trip. The location, the owner, the room, and the breakfast were all top notch.
Highland House, Mariposa... amazing accommodation!
In the morning we headed to Yosemite National Park. We stopped along the drive to take photos of the amazing scenery... and then we got to the park itself and the amazing scenery we had seen on the way suddenly looked rather average.
Entering Yosemite National Park
To quote Al, a blind person could take photos in Yosemite and still get amazing pictures. The sights were breathtaking, and I think we spent most of the day saying "wow... woah.... oh wow". At the first chance we had, we parked the car and did a short hike to Bridalveil Falls...
Bridalveil Falls

And then we did the walk to Mirror Lake... although as there wasn't much water in the lake due to the time of the year, I had to get creative with my photography!
Mirror Lake, Yosemite
We managed to get some pictures in of El Capitan, drive around exploring the park, then see all the torch lights dotted up El Capitan once the sun went down and the rock-climbers had settled in on the wall for the night. Al had told me about it but I have to say, I was still surprised to see so many lights up the side of El Capitan—particularly given we had only spotted a couple of climbers during the day.
A rock-climber making their way up the side of El Capitan
Thankfully we had allowed ourselves some time the following day to head back into Yosemite before moving on to our next destination. We drove out to Glacier Point to begin with...
Half Dome, Yosemite, viewed from Glacier Point
And then parked the car to do the Sentinel Dome walk. This walk around 1.5 km each way, with a reasonably steep climb to get to the top of the dome itself. But it was well worth the effort!
Al, with Sentinel Dome behind him
El Capitan viewed from the top of Sentinel Dome, Yosemite
We stopped at Tunnel View on the way back from Sentinel Dome, which proved to be a great 'summary' spot for our time at Yosemite. From this spot you can see El Capitan, Bridalveil Falls, and in the background Half Dome. Yet another 'wow' moment for us.
Tunnel View, Yosemite
To get to our next overnight accommodation spot, we headed out of the park via Tioga Pass. We were really lucky that the Pass was open—a month later and it would have been closed for the winter. Soon after taking the turn-off for the pass you reach Toloumne Grove—home to Giant Sequoia's (Sequoiadendron gigenteum), the worlds most massive trees and sadly endangered. With Al's love for trees, of course this was a must-stop for us.

Al and I in the cut-away in a remaining stump of a Giant Sequoia otherwise destroyed by fire
We continued on our drive through Tioga Pass and continued to muse over the sheer beauty that this earth offers us. As the sun started to set, the changing colours amplified the majestic sights.
Driving through Tioga Pass, Yosemite
View of Yosemite from Tioga Pass at sunset, with Half Dome in the background
We stayed at a motel in a small town called Bishop that evening, and enjoyed a delicious (albeit huge!) burrito at a small Mexican diner. The next day would see the drive to Vegas...

More on the trip next time x

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