I had to take this post down a few days ago because I was getting a ton of pings off it from China. Like, totally a lot. Everyday there were hundreds of hits on this post. It was really annoying. So, I’m posting it again. Unfortunately the comments didn’t save but the general consensus was Yosemite is a dang awesome place.
Last year I received a comment from Liz C. on a post about the Waterwall in Houston. Turns out her girlfriend, Brenda, lives in Houston (Hi, Brenda). Liz lives in Canada and trips South of the Border for obvious reasons. We even had the good fortune to meet Liz and Brenda at our Christmas party last year. In fact, Deborah was there too. Good times. Very festive and all.
Liz informed me a month or so ago they were headed out west to San Francisco and the surrounding area. I asked for a guest post and here it is! Like magic. I, for one, am so glad Al Gore invented the internets.
Yosemite is definitely on my bucket list of must see things before I depart the mortal coil. I’m totally envious but so glad they were able to go and report back on all the fabulousness…
When I think about Yosemite, the big words, like MAGNIFICENT and SPECTACULAR, spring to mind (hyperbolic words I’m not known for).
The landscape truly is awe inspiring – from the granite cliffs, to the forests, to the meandering stream in the valley, to the alpine meadow at around 5000 feet, to the waterfalls we were privileged to catch a glimpse of before they dry up for the summer.
To think that this side trip was an afterthought in our planning! This was to be my bucket list adventure on the Pacific coast (which was also lovely btw). Initial plans were five days in San Fran before heading down the coast, but Brenda said she’d never seen Yosemite and could we fit that in. So glad we did.
After three days in San Francisco, we picked up our rental car and headed east over the Oakland bridge. (according to Brenda, Oakland is where the lesbians live, though we did not go lesbian spotting on this trip).
We travelled through rolling golden hills covered in cattle (and wind turbines too!), past pistachio groves and onto the mountainous terrain that would become Yosemite. We stayed in a hostel (Yosemite Bug) about 20 miles shy of the park, but located in a beautiful rustic setting of its own. It even had its own creek (called Bear Creek – apparently bears are a huge thing in California).
We arrived at our hostel late afternoon, and, after checking in, headed out for the park. Along the way, we travelled through the green covered mountains (which reminded me a bit of the Scottish highlands), detoured past a huge rock slide that had completely devoured the main road, passed beautiful white water rapids and ended up at the main entrance about 45 minutes later. We drove around the valley, spotting various waterfalls along the way. We went in for a closer look at Bridal Veil falls, which produces a lovely rainbow at its base.
After spending a couple of hours just taking in all that Yosemite has to offer, we headed for the exit just before dusk. As we passed a meadow, we noticed a lot of people there staring up at one of the granite cliffs. Not wanting to miss out on what they were obviously fascinated by, I found a place to park and we walked back to see what was holding their interest. Apparently, the granite cliffs are very popular with rock climbers and they had been watching a few of them on their descent. We thought we had missed seeing them, when someone declared, ‘There’s one!’, so, after desperately trying to look where they guided us (thank goodness for the trees in the foreground we used as reference points), we spotted a little black dot descending. Can you spot him/her? (I took a guess. That’s a dang big mountain side.)
(We interrupt this post to bring you a very import message from the Emergency Broadcast Network… AHHHH eets Gah-zirrah!! AHHHH!! We now return to our regularly scheduled program…)
Satisfied that we had not missed out on this spectacle, we headed back to the hostel. If I thought my mind had been blown by what we saw the first day at Yosemite Valley, our trip up to Glacier point the next day proved even more amazing. Brenda did the driving, as we climbed from an elevation of just under 3000 feet to over 7000 feet at the summit. There are some pretty tight curves and I have to admit I missed out on some spectacular views outside my passenger window because I was a little bit (OK a lot) freaked out by how close we were to the abyss. However, Brenda had it all under control and we arrived safe and sound at Washburn Point.
I’m not one for effusive language (just ask poor Brenda), but the views from there were stupendous. Words really can’t do it justice. I was overwhelmed by the sheer grandeur and beauty of it all. Of course, we took tons of pictures, but this is really something you have to see for yourself. We proceeded up to Glacier Point, where we took more pictures. Glacier Point is also great, but I will never get over the amazement and awe I felt when I got my first glimpses from Washburn Point.
Wow. That doesn’t even look real. Something tells me if I’m going to be driving up to Glacier Point, the queen would beg out. Certain death on a winding, mountain road overlooking a sheer cliff? Awesome. Thank you Liz and Brenda! You gazed into the abyss and lived to tell the tale. Every road trip needs a near death story.