Hello there! I’m back and I’m ecstatic to say that our trip to California was amazing! Honestly, it feels like a dream.
I’ve been meaning to take some time to journal about our trip so that I don’t forget a single part of it – but I also wanted to come here and share some pictures. So, I plan on writing a series of posts about our 10 day trip in an effort to kill 2 birds with one stone. That being said, these posts are sure to be lengthy, so you might want to grab yourself a snack & a beverage – go ahead, I’ll wait :)
For now, I’ll just be sharing a small fraction of our pictures. We snapped a ridiculous 2,665 pictures – but I have yet to pare those down to a
more reasonable reasonable number. This blog post is undoubtedly a not-so-subconscious exercise in procrastination. But nevermind that…let’s get started!
First up, we flew from Baltimore to Dallas/Fort Worth to Sacramento. I can never resist the urge to take pics of the fluffy clouds:
We actually had a bit of a scare on our second flight. About 20 minutes prior to landing, the pilot announced that the system was indicating a malfunction with our hydraulics, but he felt everything would be fine. Umm, yikes. Then he came on again to say that the system was indicating TWO malfunctions so, just as a precaution, emergency crews would be waiting for us on the runway. Double yikes. Then the flight attendants came around and made sure we all reviewed how to brace for impact, again, just as a precaution. Infinity yikes!
Good news: we survived! Firetrucks did meet us on the runway, and we couldn’t taxi until they said the coast was clear:
We landed around 7:30 PST (10:30 according to our East Coast bodies). After grabbing our luggage and picking up our rental car (a Mustang Convertible #bestdecisionever!) – we didn’t get to dinner until close to 9. We continued a tradition that we started on our trip to Michigan: sushi on the first night. Unfortunately, my anxiety/exhaustion caught up with me, so I didn’t enjoy it as much as I would’ve liked.
Around 10 PM, we started an hour and a half drive to Murphys California. What’s in Murphys, you wonder? The quick answer is “wine” – but that’s not what lured us there. A friend of our’s who is originally from California highly recommended going to Calaveras Big Trees State Park which is about 20 minutes north of Murphys. So, we figured we’d knock the drive out that night so that our first full day in California could be all about the big trees.
This park was amazing: the forest was FULL of giant sequoia’s that you were able (and encouraged) to get up close and personal to. We got there around 10 in the morning, so the sunlight was streaming through these majestic giants in a way that I can only describe as magical. Plus, specs of pollen and (lots of) ladybugs were flying through the air, reflecting the sunlight and making it all even more mystical.
All my life I’ve been both a metaphorical and literal treehugger. I went to California planning to wrap my arms as far around these massive trees as I could, sharing as much positive and grateful energy as I could muster. I got to hug SO many trees…and every single one hugged me right back! :)
I’m SO thankful our friend recommended this park to us – we only had time to do the North loop, but we made the most of it by savoring every moment.
In addition to Sequoia’s, there were also Ponderosa & Sugar pines. Check out how massive the Sugar pinecones are:
While Sugar pines are very TALL trees, they’re still not as tall as Sequoia’s. Yet, ironically, Sequoia’s have much smaller pinecones:
After taking close to 400 pictures (I’m not kidding, I just checked) – we left to grab lunch and lunch supplies for the week. From Calaveras we were heading about 80 miles down to Yosemite National Park, where we’d be staying IN Yosemite Valley (in a tent cabin!) for 3 nights.
But, we couldn’t quite leave this area of California without doing a little wine tasting first. So, we picked a winery at random: Twisted Oak Winery. They are definitely NOT a traditional winery (one of their wines is named “*%#&@!”) – but the wines were good, the atmosphere was fun (lots of laughter) and the views weren’t too shabby either:
After getting some tips on must-do hikes in Yosemite, we purchased some wine and hit the road through beautiful rolling hills of golden grass dotted with dark green trees & shrubs. As we neared the entrance to Yosemite, the landscape changed, and we started to climb a windy road up a lush green mountain. I wish I had gotten a better picture, but there weren’t any good spots to pull over & Paul was having a little too much fun with the Mustang…
At just around 8PM, we reached the North entrance to Yosemite National Park. Then it was another 18 or so miles down to Yosemite Valley. Despite evidence of forest fires, the drive down toward the valley was beautiful, especially as the moon rose over the surrounding mountains.
Then, we stopped at a pull off, and saw our first glimpse of one of Yosemite’s most distinct features: Half Dome.
We also saw 3 waterfalls on our way in, but at that point we weren’t sure which ones they were nor did we stop to investigate as we were eager to get checked in before dark. Even so, it was just before 9 PM that we got on the long check-in line for our tent cabin in Camp Curry.
More on Curry Village, our tent cabin & our Yosemite adventures in my next California Dreaming post. I hope you come along and enjoy this virtual vacation with me :)