Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Spring Break, Part 2 (Entering Yosemite)

I took a LOT of pictures in Yosemite.  Actually, I took a photography class while there so I took a lot of pictures of the same thing while I experimented with light and movement.  So of all the pictures, not many are actually very good or even very interesting.  But I will share some that might give you a sense of the journey. (Hopefully!)

Last year there was a wild fire around Yosemite.  Driving in was rather disheartening, as the forest was charred.

It was interesting to see how in some areas trees that were killed by the fire stood next to trees that appear untouched.  Perhaps the dead ones were killed by heat rather than actual fire?

At this point I was beginning to worry that all of Yosemite would be a wasteland.

Thankfully, the devastation ended before we arrived inside the park.  Along the side of the road there was something that looked like snow.  I believe it was actually remnants of the chemical retardant the Forest Service uses to help put out wild fires.

Finally we were arriving at the park.  It was an absolutely perfect day, weather wise.  Look at that blue sky!

Our first peak at the grandeur of Yosemite was Bridal Veil Falls cascading down from the sheer granite...mountain? cliff?  I don't know what you should properly call these massive granite rocks.

Yosemite is a huge national park.  761,268 acres to be exact.  (3,081 sq. km for my European readers.) Considering that we spent just 3 nights there (not to mention that I am extremely out-of-shape and getting old!) we did not see much.  We SHOULD have hiked in closer to Bridal Veil Falls. At this point I thought we would get back to it.  However, once we got to our campsite and started planning our days we realized we weren't going to get more than a cursory overview of this enormous park.

That's all I have time for today...

Friday, April 11, 2014

Spring Break, Part 1

Spring break happened a few weeks ago; finally a chance to take a planned trip in our "new" RV.  So anxious to get on the road were we that we picked Ethan up from school IN THE RV and hit the road.

The first night we drove to some little town in Nevada.  The second day we drove from Nevada to Yosemite National Park in California.  Today's pictures were taken along the way to Yosemite.

We stopped at a scenic pull off at what I thought was Lake Tahoe.  It was actually Donner Lake which is much smaller than Lake Tahoe.  Oh well, a very pretty spot nonetheless.

The kids took off up the hill where they found some pinecones.

Huge pine cones, actually.  We gathered up a bunch of them and brought them home with us.

Prior to this trip I had only been to the main tourist parts of California:  San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego.  This trip took us through some beautiful agricultural areas.  We saw acres and acres of vineyards and orchards.  After driving by several produce stands we decided it would probably be wrong not to stop and sample some of the local produce, so we just stopped at the next one we came to.

Denise's Farmer's Market in Ripon, California was a great find.  We picked up strawberries, blackberries, apples, pears, almonds, flavored olive oil, homemade salsa and...firewood! The food was all great.  The firewood was awful.  I believe it was from almond trees and apparently almond trees don't burn well.  

I had never seen almond trees before, but the Farmer's Market was set in a grove of the trees.  Initially Eric went into the market while I wandered outside and took pictures.

Here is a close-up of the almonds:

And here is a picture of part of the grove:

I would enjoy spending more time in this part of California.  It was a different world from their famous cities and one that I found much more pleasant.