Friday, May 2, 2008

Yosemite-Summer 2007

Each year, Judith and I go to San Francisco, where she sits on a grant review board for the University of California. After the review is over, we go somewhere relatively close by. One year, we travel North and visit the wine country in the Napa Valley and the hot mud baths in Calisota. One we travel South to Monterey, Carmel, and Big Sur. Both were great adventures.

This time, we travel to West to Yosemite.

More than 40 years ago, I visited Yosemite with my deceased wife Sally, as part of a grand tour camping trip which started out with a modest goal of seeing the Grand Canyon and then deciding along the way where else to go. So after seeing the canyon we drove to the coast went up Highway 1 along the cliffs, thru Big Sur, stopping just short of Monterey Bay before heading towards Yosemite. I was in my late thirties and had never seen anything like Yosemite in my Midwestern life and was awed by it. Turns out hundreds of thousands of others have also. I urge everyone to enjoy the experience before they become too frail to walk. Judith had never been there before so this was somewhat of a mission as I wanted her to see it.

My first Yosemite trip was staying in a camp site just outside the park. Our Datsun 260Z and our two person tent were what we lived in and we ate food mostly purchased at 7-11 types along the way.

Turns out, it was a totally different and enjoyable experience for me also.

Judith plans our trips and in the process asks me about my preferences. As I have mentioned before, she really enjoys staying in nice hotels and B&B’s. This time we stayed in a luxury B&B complete with servants dressed in the old time European style. The woman wore long black shirts and skirts with a long white apron over everything. If we wanted something to drink it was served up pronto. The owner, a woman, came over from a Slavic country; I forget which one, and opened a restaurant in the park which became very successful. She experienced a bit of back luck when the park service decided to eliminate most private enterprise in the park and they didn’t renew her license. But she had by then such a following that she open another restaurant only this time she went up scale with it, followed by building a mini-B&B mansion next door.

The Chateau du Sureau ( Our first night there Judith had made reservations to ride an old steam driven logging train which used to haul logs down the mountain to the river. The locomotive was huge and had each of several wheels had its own independent power.
The train people fed us and off we went down the mountain during which we got a history lesson about the type of trees and the history of logging in the area. The loggers cut down a virgin forest and left little remaining so the trees there now are young trees by tree standards. We stopped, got out of the cars and were entertained by some unamplified folk singing we could not hear, and then headed back. There was a full moon and our eyes feasted on moon derived shadows as the train snaked back up the forested mountain. There were a lot of excited children on the train and overall this was a great family outing. To us oldsters, it was probably a grade B.

The next day was a down day for us and we stayed at our B&B the whole day laying around the pool and exploring the grounds. That night we ate a very expensive dinner at the restaurant.

The restaurant is in the background with the pool in the foreground. The staff came frequently to make sure our drinks were refreshed while we were at the pool.
We had a view out the window as we waiting for out drinks. Isn't she beautiful?
My Margarita looked so good I could not resist taking its picture.
After dinner we move outside for your dessert warmed my an outdoor heater as the sun went down.
The next day at Yosemite was spent touring the park in a yellow Hummer with a guide. There are two main Western entrances to the park. We used the South Entrance, the one I had not been to before. This entrance is less dramatic than the North Entrance. Our first stop was to the Mariposa grove of Red Woods. I had not been there previously.
This is a fallen giant.
This is the largest giant in the grove.
If you don’t have more respect for nature after walking through a red wood grove, something is seriously wrong with you.

From the grove, we drove up to Glacier Point to overlook the valley below and the majestic Sierras.
From our view the upper and lower Yosemite falls can be seen.
This is the famous Half Dome.
This is looking down into the valley and the village.
We ride down to the valley below and visit the the museums, shops and art galleries. This photo shows the lower Yosemite Falls.
We had a late lunch at Tenaya Lodge.
This photo was taken at the North Entrance, the one I used over 40 years ago. Imagine a flatlander seeing these mountains and view for the first time.


GETkristiLOVE said...

Yes Judith is beautiful, but I just couldn't take my eyes off the margarita!

'Bubbles' said...

I'm here from a link from Kristi

great post. great pictures. thanks!

Judith is very beautiful!

I wish I had conversed with you more in Chicago. Yes, we met at the Tiki bar!

You have some awesome kids, but you know that, don't you?

Bubbles, faithful reader of Vikkitikitavi, GetKritiLove, and now, DadE!

Dad E said...

GKL-Its times like this that you think live could not be better.

Bubbles-I remember you and always enjoy your comments, especially this one. When all of us get together, it is most entertaining. I am really a lucky man.

Dad E said...

GKL-er,"life" that is.