Wednesday, May 28, 2014

20th Anniversary Adventure: Yosemite National Park

So this is the first in a series of posts on our trip.  (A short series, I assure you.)

We went to Yosemite National Park for the first leg of our journey. We stayed at the Blue Butterfly Inn on Highway 140.
This is the front.  The B&B has a quirky story.  The land has been owned by the innkeepers since the late 70s, but only built in 2007.  In the meantime, a huge lodge and hotel complex has been built up right up against their tiny plot.  But - good for them - they refused to sell, and now they have a lovely space nestled up against the park!

This is our room - note the antique English Arts & Crafts furniture!   You can't see it, but to the left is a hug bay window and sliding glass doors leading to a balcony overlooking the Merced River.

We took this from upriver - see that umbrella?  That's on the main deck where we had breakfast every morning. Woot!

The B&B was about 5 miles from the arch rock entrance to the park.

We saw most of the major sites the two days we were there.  The second day we planned to go to Glacier Point and Mariposa Grove.  But a late season snowstorm closed the roads, so we made the wise decision to stay in the valley.  (We didn't think the lime green Kia Soul would do well in ice, and oddly enough, Dollar Rental didn't offer us chains when we rented the car in San Francisco!)

Because all the streams were in full flow, we got some beautiful views of Bridalveil Fall.  And the first day the sky was gloriously blue (though a bit chilly for us Georgians in the mid-50s).  We took the picture of El Capitan from the West Valley Trail.
This is Cathedral Spires and Cathedral Rocks, which is also along the West Valley Trail.

And this is from the Merced River, looking east back down the valley.  You can see El Capitan and Bridalveil Fall, and farther in the distance a hint of Half Dome.

Here's a look of the same valley, taken from the Wawona Tunnel at an elevation around 5000 feet. Again, that's El Cap in the foreground, and in the center right you can see Half Dome.

So that was the morning of Day One.  After lunch we drove towards Glacier Point and stopped at the Sentinel Dome trailhead.  We donned our boots once again, and journeyed to 8000 feet.  (!!!!!)

An exhausting climb, but TOTALLY worth the views.  (It was also 15 degrees colder at the summit  ...  BRRRR.)

This is Sentinel Dome from the lower part of the trail.

And this is what we saw from the top.  Friends and family, I give you the Sierra Nevadas!

(And the philosopher, standing on the marker atop the dome.)

Day two was spent on Mist Trail headed up to Vernal Fall.  This was Plan B - Vernal Fall is considered part of the Valley, not the higher elevations.  So it wasn't snowing, but there was a misty/rainy/cloudiness to most of the day.  Know those of you who know me know I hate being wet (think "cat").  I figured we should hike anyway, and if it was going to rain anyway why not do Mist Trail?  

So off we went.  (Can you see the look on my face? "I'm gonna get wet and I'm not gonna like it but by golly we're in Yosemite, so how can I not be outside?!?)

This is from Vernal Fall Bridge, which is about halfway up.  Oh my, the power of nature was awe-inspiring!

This is Vernal Fall.  All that fog?  Not fog.  Mist.  Pouring out of the canyon.

The brave philosopher made the final quarter-mile trek up the stone stairs to get to the very top.  This is looking back down the fall, and he even managed to get a rainbow in the shot!  Way to go!

The rest of the day was spent poking around Yosemite Village, visiting the Ansel Adams gallery, going through the Indian museum and the welcome center.  Then we ate dinner at Mountain Room, a yummy restaurant at the Yosemite Lodge.

So those are some of the highlights.  (I'm working on a massive scrapbook, so when it's ready in a few months let me know and I'd be happy to show it off.)

Post two, "On to Civilization.... Napa Valley" will be coming soon!

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