Posts Tagged With: California

Yosemite National Park

Ah. World-famous Yosemite National Park and it’s iconic granite monoliths.
I had the opportunity to spend several days taking in the sights of the park. Exploring world-renowned granite peaks El Capitian and Half Dome.

My lodging choice was the historical Curry Village (now called Half Dome Village). A tent cabin community located beneath towering Half Dome. I had selected a non-heated tent cabin and later that night, questioned that decision. Overnight temperatures were in the upper thirties. The two wool blankets provided by the park and my sleeping bag were my best friends. Thankfully the cool weather wouldn’t last. Daytime temperatures quickly warmed into the seventies.

If you’re visiting the park, there are a few “must sees”. Tunnel View provides a spectacular view of the park right as you exit the tunnel. Be sure to slow down, pull off into the parking lot and get out and take in this incredible vista. Continuing into the valley you’ll pass the road to Glacier Point. This is another incredible panoramic view of the park and is well worth the drive. If you’re looking for a great day hike, consider the trail fro Curry Village up to Glacier Point. It’s strenuous but well worth it. This trail affords some more amazing views of the valley and towing granite domes.

While visiting I explored several areas including Yosemite Falls, Bridalveil Falls, several trails and of course, the visitor’s centers to stamp my passport! If you’re looking for a relaxing vacation, I’d recommend at least two days. Stay in Yosemite Village and take time to explore the valley floor on any of the paved trails and boardwalks by hiking, running or bicycle. There are numerous dining options, gift shops, the Ansel Adam’s Gallery, a museum, guided nature walks, and more.

Plan to “escape” the valley and head to Glacier Point, and even over to the Mariposa Grove of over two-hundred giant Sequoia trees. If you’re up for the two to three mile hiking, there is a guided tram tour available for around 25.00/person.

Also while your in the valley remember that there is a free bus service available. It’s a good option for less-active folks (of if you’re tired of driving). I hear this is a very popular option on weekends when the park is jammed with passenger cars!

Watch this video for some great pictures and clips of the waterfalls!


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Joshua Tree National Park

It seems like it was only yesterday when I headed out into the deserts of California to visit the iconic Joshua Tree National Park. This vast desert wonderland is so expansive that it covers parts of two distinctly different deserts the Mojave and the Colorado. And lying within this expansive desert, is an amazing convergence zone where varied plant and animal life from both desert ecosystems can be found coexisting alongside one another.

Known for the unique and spiney Joshua Tree (which is actually a Yucca species) which can grow up to forty feet tall, Joshua Tree is also home to the desert tortoise, Big Horn sheep, rattlesnakes and so much more. To experience Joshua Tree at it’s best, you need to spend the night.

Joshua Tree also a rock hoppers, boulders and climbers paradise. Some of the best climbing and bouldering in the region can be found in this desert park. If you’re planning on a visit, keep in mind that in the Summer, daytime highs are in the 100’s.  During my visit, temperatures were in the upper 90’s to low 100’s as I traveled around the park. The park service is doing some construction on the main road in the park closer to the Cottonwood section which is as the south entrance to the park off of I-10.  There’s also load’s of hiking in Joshua Tree with trails ranging from a quarter mile loop, to miles upon miles. There’s something for everyone in this amazing and iconic National Park.

Check out this video for some great pics from JTNP!


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