Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Golden Gate & Yosemite

Phil and I grew up on opposite sides of Glacier National Park in Montana (he spent his high school years in cloudy Columbia Falls, while I grew up on the east side of the park in sunny - but windy - Shelby).

We both have a great appreciation for the National Park system (pre-dating the Ken Burns PBS documentary by decades) and have been to many of the National Parks in the Western U.S.

For years I have wanted to visit Yosemite National Park. Yosemite, one of the first wilderness parks in the United States, is best known for its waterfalls, but within its nearly 1,200 square miles, you can find deep valleys, grand meadows, ancient giant sequoias, a vast wilderness area and much more. Although not the first designated national park, Yosemite was a focal point in the development of the national park idea, largely owing to the work of John Muir.

John Muir is a shirt-tail relative on my mom's side of the family, and I have read some of his writings about the Sierras and Yosemite.

Phil had a very brief drive-through visit to Yosemite in his late teens, but didn't have a chance to do much exploring.

Our friends Lowry & Colleen are back on the mainland (San Jose) after years in Hawaii (which was also a great place to visit, of course). They are two of our preferred adventure companions, and were itching for a reason to get out and play. San Jose is kind-of-sort-of-almost reasonably close to Yosemite . . . Further, one of Phil's college friends is an engineer for the Park Service, currently working in Yosemite.


We spent the first day of our trip in the San Francisco area. We saw the King Tut exhibit at the De Young Museum.

Walking up to the museum in Golden Gate Park for the King Tut exhibit.

Looking toward the Bridge from Land's End as the fog lifted.
Then Lowry took us on a tour of his favorite mountain bike areas near the Golden Gate Bridge and Marin Headlands. To quote Arnold - "we'll be back" with our bikes, for sure. We also made a quick trip to the Muir Woods National Monument - we had quite an action-packed day!

At Fort Point, below the Golden Gate Bridge.

The next day we were on our way to Yosemite.

In the Merced Grove, just inside the Yosemite park boundary.

Half Dome and El Capitan - an iconic view.

Phil's friend Mike was a GREAT guide. From meeting us with a picnic to share at the base of El Cap on our first day, to guiding us on his double secret trail in bear country on the last day, it was an adventure through and through.

At Vernal Fall.

Before the rain - and the bears - and the scrambling across exposed talus slopes . . .

Bridal Veil Falls from a perspective few visitors to the park ever see.

Nature Boy on the super double secret trail (after chasing bears and stressing out Colleen!).

Phil, Mike, Colleen & Lowry.
We couldn't have had a better trip. Good weather, good food, good company . . . when can we go on another vacation?!
You can see more photos from our trip at the Facebook link below. I don't think you need to be a Facebook member to see them.

1 comment:

  1. You know, for years I felt that Yosemite = Californians in the 1,000's. Sort of like LA (which I dearly hate) with pine trees. But after watching the Ken Burns series, I am far more interested in going there. You look like you all got to enjoy some of the best of it.

    Bears? Bears? no pictures!! Egads, girl!! And the rest of the bear story is....??? Peggy