california, part one

I finally got around to uploading pictures from our trip to California. Unfortunately, blogger is a bit of a pain in the arse when it comes to photos. So I'm doing this in two smaller parts. I present, for your viewing pleasure, photos from the first part of our trip, which was spent in Yosemite National Park (*edited to add: these are full-size images, so if you click on them it will open up the large version*):

Okay, so we're not in the park just yet. There is definitely not an In-N-Out burger in the park. It occurred to me on our drive from the San Francisco airport to Yosemite that we needed to go to In-N-Out burger while we were in California. It's been five years since I've been there, as there are none of these on the east coast. So I fired up the GPS on M's blackberry and found us one. I made him pull of the highway and find this so we could have lunch there. It was GOOD. Ahem. On to the Yosemite stuff.

This isn't in the park either. But it is a pretty cool windmill. We spotted this on the winding back roads we took the last part of our drive to Yosemite.

Ah, here we are. Our cottage while we were in the park. It was adorable. Not a thing in it has been updated in at least thirty years, but wonderful none-the-less. We spent most of the time that we were at the cottage out on the deck grilling and relaxing. Gorgeous.

This is a giant sequoia inside Mariposa Grove. Mariposa Grove is one of three groves of giant sequoias in Yosemite. We took a tram tour out into the grove and then hiked about 3 miles back to the parking lot instead of continuing the tour. It was beautiful.

The Telescope Tree! Taken by standing inside the trunk of the tree, which is completely hollowed out by fire and yet still alive, and pointing the camera straight up toward the sky.

This one is the Clothespin Tree. Because it looks like a clothespin. This one has M in it to give you a little perspective... I still can't believe how big those trees were when I look at this picture, even though I saw them with my own eyes.

We sent giant sequoia seeds to my parents. My dad has just finished soaking the seeds per the instructions, and he planted them over the weekend. In thirty days, we'll know if any of them have germinated. Maybe we'll have our own little sequoia grove in CT!

Just your run-of-the-mill squirrel. He almost looks cute and cuddly here, doesn't he? Not like the mangy squirrels climbing the birdfeeders in my backyard growing up, the ones my mom shot at with a bb gun out the kitchen window.

This is Half Dome. It is indescribably amazing to see. It is huger than you can even imagine from the photo. We actually spotted two climbers going up the side of Half Dome, sort of on the right side, but you can't see them here. It made me think of G. He would totally have climbed Half Dome. I thought of him constantly when we were in Yosemite. He would have loved it there. And I think he would have loved that M & I went.

Glacier Point, with a view of Yosemite Falls (upper and lower) in the background.

This is the road we took from the small village where our cottage was located in the park, up over the mountains and into Yosemite Valley. El Capitan is the huge rock structure on the left, then Half Dome in the middle. And our rental truck on the right.

Vernal Falls, taken partway through our hike to the top of the waterfall. It was incredibly steep, about 3 miles long, part of it on slippery rock wet from the mist coming off the waterfall. There is a lookout immediately to the right of the top of the waterfall. It was really hard, but so worth it and it felt great to go on a difficult and rewarding hike.

Still on the trail on our way up to the top of Vernal Falls. This rainbow is created just by the mist coming off the waterfall. Mist doesn't quite describe it, though. We were completely soaked by it, as much as if we had been in pouring rain, because it is so much water.

The view from the top of Vernal Falls. We hiked up along what is the left side of the river in this picture. You can see part of the trail curving along above the river.

M took this photo of a Steller's Jay with a seed in its mouth. The Steller's Jay is one of the only birds we saw in Yosemite, and it is very similar to a Blue Jay.

Yosemite was more beautiful, more awe-inspiring, more fun than I ever could have imagined. Almost everyone has seen pictures of Yosemite, myself included, and it is well-known for being such a beautiful place. But none of that compares to being there. To seeing it all in person. Hiking to the top of a waterfall and driving along the narrow, winding mountain roads. Watching for wildlife and protecting your food from bears. Experiencing the peace and serenity and beauty of true, untouched wilderness.


maresi said...

Aren't squirrels basically just rats in fur coats? And, thank you - I appreciated your explanation of why the Clothespin Tree was so named.

I was going to say the same thing about G, and how much he would have dug into a trip like that. Fences meant to keep people at a distance from the natural wonders wouldn't have stopped him from climbing whatever he wanted to. I'm glad you had good thoughts of him while you were out there.

I'm not sure I can contain myself until tomorrow (depending on what time you get in) or Friday when I see you...

Elena said...

You took some absolutely gorgeous photos! I'm so glad you had a relaxing and awe-inspiring vacation.

Like Maresi, I thought the same thing about G. His fearlessness and his willingness to try (and climb!) anything will always impress me. And, also like Maresi, I'm glad thoughts of him were with you on your trip.

Thanks for posting this, I can't wait for part two.

Anonymous said...

I am so jealous!! Such beautiful pictures. JD keeps saying he is going to take me there someday....

I'm feeling good....I've turned a corner. Those first few weeks are rough let me tell ya! Avery helps to keep my mind off the long wait most of the time!!

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