Tag Archives: Yosemite

More than a Dry Spell

Lake McClureLiving in California in 2014 has meant coming to grips with the fact that the world’s weather systems have gone off the rails.  While we punched our way into the history books with record-breaking temperatures and clear blue skies, the other side of the country was being hit by a polar vortex.

I’d never even heard of such a thing before this year!

Storm followed storm. The east coast and Midwest found themselves buried under feet of snow; people had to add extra layers to their layers of clothes in order to stave off the freezing temperatures.

The lakes and ocean shorelines froze. Cabin fever set in and people waited for any sign that the long freeze would come to an end. I saw a photo taken from the inside of someone’s house. Upon opening the front door they were greeting by a wall of packed snow!

Even in the south the city of Atlanta was thrown into chaos as a snow storm blasted them out of their comfort zone to the point where thousands abandoned cars on the highway in an attempt to get home.  Continue reading More than a Dry Spell

Little Ahwahnee and the Miwok Indians

Little Ahwahnee InnThe Little Ahwahnee is an inn situated in the mountains surrounding Yosemite Valley in a minutely small town that boasts a population of 59 and goes by the name of Fish Camp. 

It has a general store and a lake and that’s all. The neighborhood though; it’s gorgeous. Serene, peaceful, and if you need it there’s a spa across the street at the Tenaya Lodge. Get those hiking or skiing aches and pains massaged right out!

The Little Ahwahnee is a place I would comfortably recommend. The owners, although timid at first, soon came around and ensured a memorable stay with friendly conversation, an evening fire, and a full cooked breakfast when you woke.

But it’s the name Ahwahnee and the history of these people who command at least a basic understanding for anyone traveling in the area. There are a couple of versions of the story but the one I outline below appears to be agreed upon by most. Continue reading Little Ahwahnee and the Miwok Indians

Crawfish in the Sierra Nevada

Cajun LandI had mentioned in a previous post that one of our trips for this year was to be to the Deep South.  Taking in the states of Georgia, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana with the intention of staying off main highways; seeing where the route takes us.

The only plan; indulge in BBQ, Blues, and Bayous.

Since arriving at this plan we have scoured San Francisco for restaurants where we could whet the appetite and satiate a growing desire for southern bugs; with all the fixin’s of course.

Every Cajun or New Orleanian establishment found we hurtled ourselves through the door in complete and utter anticipation. The expectation being that a full bucket of freshly boiled crawfish would be delivered and spread out across the table for a finger lickin good time.  Continue reading Crawfish in the Sierra Nevada

The Yosemite Valley

163Climbing into the Sierras the air becomes both cleaner and crisper; temperatures drop. Tall redwoods funnel the road and you are elevated to the top of a ridge at 6000 feet.  

Yosemite’s magic, that stays with you forever, is it’s sudden and monumental welcome.  It’s like an over-zealous relative who hasn’t seen you in a while.  Big hugs, cheek pinching, comments about how much you’ve grown, and a torrent of gushing that fills you with warmth.

You know it’s coming but you never fully anticipate the effect.

Yosemite’s approach is by way of tunnels cut through shear rock.  These prevent the first time visitor from accurately anticipating the true moment of entry.  Out you burst to a vista of incredible beauty and scenic splendor. Instantly you are captivated; there is nothing you can do about it.  Relax, draw a deep breath, and release a sigh of satisfaction.

The Yosemite Valley is just a small portion of the park however given the time of year it
was all that was open.  Imagine the reaction of those explorers who first came
across it.  It must have certainly been quite a hallelujah moment.   Continue reading The Yosemite Valley

House Slippers and Gold Mines

Mariposa, CA 1854Driving along the secondary roads of Northern California to the base of the Sierras is like taking an inter-active lesson in history.

One horse towns like Groveland, Mariposa, La Grange, and Coulterville are proud of their heritage.  They rise out of the foothills in stark contrast to their surroundings.  Isolated, full of character, charm, and personality.

The buildings that line Main Street, every town has a Main Street, date back to sometime in the mid to late 19th century.  Saloons and courthouses, I imagine the two saw a lot of the same customers, proudly display signs and placards declaring established dates and other historical information.

It seems there is more than one bar that is the oldest in the west.

Traveling west from San Francisco to Yosemite’s northern entrance takes about 4 hours if you do it one shot.  However stopping along the way and smelling the roses is all part of the journey.  Continue reading House Slippers and Gold Mines