My First Trip to Yosemite May 2014

After almost a year in planning I achieved my goal of driving to the Sierra Nevada and visiting Yosemite National Park. I hiked the eight hour day to the Vernal and Nevada Falls on the wet, Mist trail, using my new trekking pole to keep me from falling backward with my pack on! The view and sound of these waterfalls was spectacular! Roaring water pounded the rocks above my head, and below, past Liberty Cap into the Merced gorge. My 64 yr. old legs cramped in my Curry Village tent lodging that May 13 evening as I ate pizza. The next day I rode the bus tour up to Glacier Point (see painting below) and then walked the Four Mile trail back down to the valley while gazing at Half Dome, El Capitan and Cathedral Rocks. Other memories include the Ansel Adams Gallery, Indian village/ museum and the Ken Burns film in the Visitor Center. I really enjoyed Mariposa Grove sequoias alone before the crowds arrived. Other highlights of the region: Millerton Lake below Oakhurst, Lake Kaweah and Lake Success near Porterville, grassy chaparral foothills dotted with oak trees, the Trail of 100 Giants near Johnsondale, the Kern river, Lake Isabella, Walker Pass Joshua trees, Trona Pinnacles near Ridgecrest and Death Valley back into Nevada for Idaho. I visited 4 national parks in California in 11 days. Wildlife: Deer, white-headed woodpecker, Clark’s nutcracker, mountain chickadees, Cassin’s finch, ravens, turkey vultures and several species of warbler. The entire region stretched out before me with distant horizons of John Muir’s beloved California wilderness, for which I’m glad I found too.

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California

Beautiful state but a bad local attitude! I witnessed routine tailgating, passing on a solid line and speeding through the canyons marked 35 mph. A cutesy snobbery of wealth personifies a cool façade, disguised as educated pretense, dressed in alligator shirts and checkered shorts. I say behaviors like illegal woodcutting in the national parks, driving motorcycles on the footpath in 100 Giants, the loud talking/ clamor in the campgrounds and trails is a disrespectful indulgence, that anything goes. Do you ever listen to the birds and wind I asked? And I’m impolite?

King’s Canyon National Park

King's Canyon National Park

High runoff in the King’s River along CA180, the road from Grant Grove to Road’s End. I left the campground at 4am May 18 to avoid crowds, traffic-being rewarded with Venus rising still dark with a waning gibbous moon overhead. I could see the valley lights of Fresno below at McGee Point. Wildflowers and giant pine cones scattered the roadside landscape. Do not touch or remove! Cedar Grove at the end has campsites and a permit station for those hiking into the backcountry; King’s Canyon is a wilderness park.

General Sherman Tree in Sequoia National Park

General Sherman Tree in Sequoia National Park

A nice paved trail, walkway with steps and benches takes visitors downhill from the parking lot about a mile and half to this magnificent tree! It is the world’s largest living thing. Height: 275′ Circumference at base: 102′ I viewed other sequoias in Mariposa Grove, Grant Grove, Balch Park and Trail of 100 Giants in the Sequoia NF. These trees have soft, silky-like bark to the touch, and are very resistant to drought, fire. I marveled at the mass of these trees.