Saturday, October 22, 2011

Yosemite (part 3)

Our last trip into Yosemite took us 22 miles up Tioga Pass Road to the trail-head for North Dome, supposedly a fairly strenuous 10 mile hike (with the requisite side trips).  As it turned out, the information was right.  Much of the hike was through beautiful woods with occasional glimpses of what was to come.  The start was a bit slippery as the snow was on the trail.

After a couple of miles we stopped for some water and a snack (Pop-Tarts).  

As we sat on a log to rest, I noticed a round marker embedded in a large rock by the trail.  We got up to read the marker which was a geological survey marker from 1905.  

As we looked back, the remainder of our Pop-Tart had fallen off of the log.  Or so we thought.
This little fellow had evidently had been waiting to make his move.  He seemed to enjoy his prize.

We took a detour at about 3.5 miles to see Indian Rock Arch, a thirty story climb in a short distance.  It was well worth the effort.

As we hiked on, we got occasional glimpses of what we thought was North Dome.  But we were wrong, and when we arrived at a huge outcropping of rock we could see that we had a long hike down and back up to actually get to our destination. 

 It took some scrambling down a granite wall (thankfully with two huge spikes in the rock in case you needed them) and then a final climb up the dome to get the views we wanted of Half-Dome.

Notice the backward lean I have.  It gave us a strange feeling to look through the camera near the edge.

Looking down to the valley.

And a few parting shots from this hike.

Our stay in this area of California was one of our best.  We have seen so many wonderful parks in our travels and each one was special.  But we both agreed that Yosemite was the most strikingly beautiful of all of them.

We've now landed in southern California for a couple of weeks before heading to Arizona for November.  It was sad to leave Yosemite with its clear cool air.  It hit 94 today and it's smoggy here in Menifee.  Quite a change.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Yosemite (part 2)

This is a couple of days late as we are in one of only two places we've been where our Verizon coverage is next to nothing.  But here goes.
We took a short trip to see a small grove of Sequoias at Merced Grove and it was worth the trip.  Although we have been to Sequoia National Park, the size and beauty of the trees never ceases to amaze us.

Our next trip was a double hike with an anti-climactic finish at Glacier Point, one of the most visited views in the park. We started at the Sentinel Dome trail-head and were treated to beautiful views along the way.  The ascent to the top of the dome was not too tough and we got to see a 360 degree view of Yosemite.  

This is all that remains of the Jeffrey Pine made famous in an Ansel Adams photo.  The tree died in the seventies during a long drought despite volunteers hauling buckets of water to the top of the dome.  It finally fell in 2003.

After leaving Sentinel, we took the back route to Taft Point, known as one of the scariest overlooks in the park with just a small metal railing to keep you from falling.  In the warning we read, it's listed as "not just a fall, but a squish you like a bug fall".  And when we peaked over the edge, we knew why.

Along the way to Taft, we took a little excursion to this overlook.  

Here's Val getting a picture of the drop.

And the view over the edge.

Here's a look as we approached Taft.  Notice the small railing (upper left).

Over the edge.

View of Yosemite Falls from Taft Point.

A closer view showing the color.

Before we left, we were visited by two ravens.

And this little fellow.

After hiking back to the bike, we went up to Glacier Point and walked to the overlook.  Despite being a wonderful view, there were a lot of people there, and it couldn't match what we had experienced earlier. 

As we headed home, Val and I both agreed that this day's hike was the most beautiful we've ever done.

Next on the list: North Dome.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Yosemite (part 1)

We're staying 5 miles from Yosemite and it's beautiful here.  On Friday we took the bike up to Hetch Hetchy to see the reservoir and take a short hike.  The first phase of the dam was finished in 1923.  The water from the reservoir supplies San Francisco 167 miles away.  It was planned after the 1906 earthquake when there wasn't enough water, and 4 square miles of San Francisco burned.  Since Yosemite was already a national park, there was a lot of opposition (which was led by John Muir).  But practicality won out and the dam was built.
We stopped on the side of the road for lunch at this spot.  Not bad, huh.

From the top of the dam.

Looking down stream where the water shot from a pipe onto the rocks.

The tunnel leading to a hike along the water.

And a similar shot to the first one.  This was taken with my phone using a new HDR app.  What do you think?

Alcatraz and San Francisco

Two places we've never been: Alcatraz and San Francisco.  We did both on the same day with Dean, Margie, Rich and Dee.  First up was a one hour BART ride into San Francisco near pier 33.  Since we had already purchased the Alcatraz cruise tickets we got right in line and in about a half hour we were on "The Rock".  And what a fascinating place it was.  We did the audio tour along with just walking the grounds.  I must say that it was smaller than I imagined.  But well worth the trip.

After returning from the island, we walked the pier and laughed at the sea lions.  Then we tried to take the cable car up to Lombard St., but the cable was being repaired.  So we took the bus to China town.  What an interesting place to walk around.  When we arrived it was around 4 PM and we seemed to be the only non Asians.  Everyone seemed to be buying odd fish and produce, much of which I haven't seen before.  We were thinking about trying the eel and fish heads... not.
We finally arrived at a restaurant that looked like they might have something appetizing and we were right.  We settled on the party of six menu that included 3 appetizers, 7 main dishes and dessert.  It was tasty!
And when we left the restaurant, it seemed that China town was filled with nothing but tourists.  Interesting.
Since the cable cars were operating again, we took one back to where we started so that we could catch the BART back to Antioch where our cars were.  It was a long day, but worth every minute.
The cable car and a shot from our ride at night.

The folks on the trip.

And once again, for Kathie.