California: Yosemite & Monterey

Angela and one of her phar­ma­cy class­mates, Meg, had sched­uled to attend a conference/training sem­i­nar out in Mon­terey Cal­i­for­nia in ear­ly April. Well, the two won­der­ful women that they are decid­ed that tak­ing their hus­bands along (Travis and me) would make the trip even bet­ter. Of course, when Travis and I are involved, there will be out­door activities!

Getting There

Quite pos­si­bly for the first time in our trav­el­ing togeth­er, we made it to the air­port with plen­ty of time to spare. The four of us actu­al­ly even got some break­fast at the ter­mi­nal before boarding.

As always, fly­ing out of Rich­mond means fly­ing to a car­ri­er’s hub and if that car­ri­er is Delta, that hub is prob­a­bly Atlanta. Atlanta is a bru­tal air­port if it is your final desi­ta­na­tion or if you’re con­nect­ing flights end up being at Ter­mi­nal A and E. How­ev­er, nei­ther was our case and we made it through with­out any trou­bles. Angela and I watched The Step­ford Wives and about half of The Life Aquat­ic on the flight out to San Jose, CA (until the bat­tery died, that is). Arrival at San Jose’s Ter­mi­nal C is like pass­ing through a sar­dine can but for­tu­nate­ly we caught a sun­ny Cal­i­for­nia day once we got outside.

H3 In The Snow

Travis grab­bing some hik­ing gear from the back of our over-stuffed H3 rental.

We went to pick up our pre-reserved rental car, which using Travis’ rental club mem­ber sta­tus, was sup­posed to be sit­ting there wait­ing on us. How­ev­er, they were backed up and offered us to upgrade. Come to find out, upgrad­ing from a medi­um four-wheel dri­ve gets you a Hum­mer H3. Aslo come to find out, a Hum­mer H3 is real­ly just a medi­um sized four-wheel dri­ve with a lot of extra plas­tic and real­ly small windows.

We knew we’d be required to have tire chains in order to enter the park this time of year, so we spent a lit­tle bit of time while still in San Jose to track down a auto sup­plies store that could sell us some chains. We real­ly did­n’t care if they even fit­ted as we had no plans on using them, but they actu­al­ly did have some that fit the H3. Any­way, we were sim­ply going to return them to a store of the same chain in Mon­terey after we left the park (of course, not if we had actu­al­ly used them… that’s what eBay is for).

Yosemite National Park

Well, we arrived at the park just before dusk. There had been some detours along our route do to rock/mud slides but we did get to see some of the parks great views as we drove in.

Yosemite Falls

Yosemite Falls as seen from the val­ley floor

The next day, we quick­ly real­ized why they called our cho­sen acco­mo­da­tions the Lodge at the Falls. We had an amaz­ing view of Yosemite Falls from pret­ty much any­where in the lodge’s cam­pus of build­ings. We took the (free, hybrid pow­ered) bus up to Cur­ry Vil­lage to par­take in the huge break­fast buf­fet before attempt­ing our big hike of the trip: Upper Yosemite Falls. Break­fast was deli­cious and Cur­ry Vil­lage was fun to tool around in. Travis picked up some nice gloves in the out­door shop there before we hopped back on the buss to our trailhead.

The hike from the val­ley to the Upper Falls is, as one might expect, almost entire­ly uphill. How­ev­er, there are some real­ly great pay-off moments. One of which is at Colum­bia Point, where you get a won­der­ful panora­ma view of the Val­ley and some of the notable geo­log­i­cal fea­tures. How­ev­er, we were inter­est­ed in get­ting up to some even high­er ground so we head­ed on. Of course, round­ing the bend to come in sight of the falls takes you to the North slope of the part of the val­ley wall you’re hik­ing up. That of course means: snow! Well, we hiked as far up as we were pos­si­bly pre­pared for in the cloth­ing we had on. Now, I should say that we were pre­pared from cool­er weath­er, but not hik­ing in waist deep snow. How­ev­er, it was still loads of fun and worth every step, even if we did­n’t make it up to the top.

Columbia Point View

The view from panoram­ic view from Colum­bia Point along the Upper Yosemite Falls trail.

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