The road to Yosemite

Trip Start May 11, 2012
Trip End Jun 08, 2012

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Flag of United States  , California
Thursday, May 24, 2012

5/24/12 – We left Monterey this morning at 8:30, headed for Yosemite National Park. And it was a frustrating  experience just getting on the road. The Garmin was  confused and so were we. I don't understand the streets in Monterey and apparently the Garmen doesn’t either. Our Trip Tic was no help, since it was taking us up through San Francisco and over to Reno. Change of plans.  Eventually we were on our way, with a few hick-ups en route.  

After driving along the coast for a bit, then through some rolling hills, we ended up in farm country. I mean, some really serious farm country. The land was as flat as Florida, and the fields of crops went on for miles and miles in all directions. I can’t say what most of the crops were, except for corn and olives. I just don’t know much about plants, but the land was being worked very actively, with crops ready to harvest, crops young and growing, crops that were only seedlings, and empty fields waiting to be planted. The fields were active with farm hands and tractors and all sorts of mechanical equipment.  And the sprinklers created a mist over the green fields and the rich black soil.

Eventually the hills were back and the mountains were on the horizon, again in a haze. What is it about California…the air never seems to be crystal clear. We came over a hill and there was a large body of blue water…a reservoir…nested among golden hills on all sides. We stopped at the information center and were told that this water is owned partly by the Federal Government and partly by the State of California. CA sells most of theirs  to the local farmers and a little to surrounding communities. And the Federal Government sends its water to wetlands, to keep them wet, for the birds.  Yup. That’s what we were told.  And we saw the aqueducts that take the water to its various destinations...large cement troughs filled with blue water. Very impressive.

As we drove through the rolling hills we saw jagged black rocks sticking up out of the ground, like tombstones, partially hidden by the feathery yellow hay, waving in the breeze.  And we began to go up and up and up as we approached the mountains. And we drove over them and down the other side. And there were more mountains, larger mountains ahead of us.  And the yellow hills, dotted with dark green trees, became hills covered with dark green trees.  And we found ourselves in a canyon, between rocky mountains with sharp gray ledges sticking out of the trees on one side, and smooth  rocks on the other, worn down and stained by the water that runs over them. And we followed the river through the canyon for many miles…we were going east and it was flowing west, out of the Sierras, over lots of river rocks.  And there were blue rafts filled with people riding down the river on the white water.

And as we approached the park, we drove under large boulders, cut but not removed, to allow the cars to pass under them and along the road that leads into Yosemite. And where the rocks were solid, there were tunnels cut to allow passage through them.

Finally inside Yosemite,  we headed for the top of the park. On the way we saw Bridal Falls, and Tunnel View, and finally the incredible views from Glacier Point.  And it was clear…this park is all about rugged and raw, nature as God created it.  And the word for the day is MAGNIFICENT.

We got lost coming out of the park. If you plan to go to Yosemite, do your homework. (We didn’t.) There are few signs, the roads are unmarked, and the maps do nothing to indicate reference points to help you find your way. Eventually we found the exit, with the help of a park ranger. We had a long drive to our hotel from there, and it was a long day for driving, up and down and around and around…curvy roads with no guard rails and cliffs  looking hundreds of feet down. And that first glass of wine tasted awfully good.

Tomorrow, we head for Nevada by way of Reno.
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Art on

Yosemite is another place I would love to see and do some back-country hiking in.

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