Sierra Nevada Mountains
September 11 - 13, 2010: Oakland to Yosemite
What a wonderful week Julia and I spent touring
and hiking through the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California; we
started our tour of this sylvan wonderland with the granite jewel,
Moonrise over Yosemite
We have both been here many times before, but I never get
tired of this place.
When we arrived, we took a short walk at the
eastern end of the park to walk off our stiffness from the long
drive from home.
Video: Yosemite day 01
The second day we hiked to Stanford Point 6,000
feet up at the western end of the park.
The Yosemite Valley
The views of Yosemite Valley
are the best there. The weather was clear and sunny, but not too
Video: Yosemite day 02
The next day we hiked 16 miles and climbed 5,000
feet to Half Dome at the eastern end of the park. We started walking
at 6:00 am to avoid the crowds that gather to climb the dome.
However, even with our early start we still encountered a human
traffic-jam on the last section of the climb. The journey was worth
all our effort as the scenery and views are superb. We got back to
the car at 6:00 pm, a full 12 hours of walking.
September 14, 2010: May Lake
We took highway 120 east through the mighty
Sierra Nevada Mountains taking in the views of the vast granite
We took a small detour to hike up to May Lake, which is a
beautiful high mountain lake. We got views of Half Dome again on
this hike, but from the eastern side of it this time.
Video: May Lake
After eating our regular cheese sandwich at May
Lake we continued east on high way 120 until we came to Tuolumne
This is a high prairieland with granite crags surrounding
it. The views and air there are invigorating; I must go back
From here, we travel towards the far eastern side
of the ranges and watched as the white granite gave way to less
sturdy rock and the Sierras disappeared into the Nevada high desert.
September 15, 2010: Mono Lake
We spent a miserable night in a ghastly motel in
Lee Vining. We were supposed to stay two nights, but decided the
place was just too horrible.
Tufas of Mono Lake
Julia went to return the key and the
owner immediately gave her a refund, no questions asked. I guess he
must be used to people leaving his hotel early.
From Lee Vining it is a short drive to Mono Lake.
LA water supply needs long ago diverted the rivers that feed this
lake and so the lake level has slowly dropped. This has revealed the
Tufas. A Tufa is a variety of limestone tower, formed by the
precipitation of carbonate minerals from ambient temperature water.
Underground springs in the lake bubbled-up water laden with
limestone. The limestone slowly built up odd shaped towers of the
mineral. When the water level dropped in the lake the gaudy, Tufa
towers where revealed.
Video: Tufas of Mono Lake
Next stop after Mono Lake was the ghost town of
Bodie. This place is very isolated and reached by an unpaved road,
but well worth the trouble getting there.
The ghost town of Bodie
Bodie is in the Bodie
Hills east of the Sierra Nevada mountain range in Mono County,
California. It is located 12 miles east-southeast of Bridgeport, at
an elevation of 8,379 feet. Bodie is a National Historic Landmark
and been administered by California State Parks since 1962. Beyond
all this Bodie is a time capsule of a way of life in America that is
September 16, 2010: Wolf Creek
Near the intersection of highway 89 and highway
4, back in the midst of the Sierra Nevada Mountains is the Carson
A magnificent hike there follows the Wolf Creek.
The hike is framed by the Toiyabe National Forest and tall granite
escarpments. Julia and I once again ate our cheese sandwiches in a
phenomenal spot. After this hike, we returned to our hotel in Topaz
Video: Wolf Creek
September 17, 2010: Lake Alpine and Arnold
We drove back up into the soaring Sierra again
this day heading west through the mountains to Arnold were we stayed
with Holly, Alex, and Claire our good friends.
Along the way, we
stopped off to take a hike near Lake Alpine where we once again
enjoyed our cheese sandwiches in splendiferous surroundings.
That evening we all attended the Sheryl Crow
concert at the Ironstone Amphitheatre, Ironstone Vineyards in
Murphys California; a nice way to end the day.
Video: Lake Alpine
September 18, 2010: Angels Camp
We finished off our summer with water skiing at
New Melones Lake.
Not a pleasant site, but it was fun
We were treated to Holly's and Alex's prowess on
single waterski and wakeboard. And I made my second ever attempt at
riding two waterskies behind a motorboat careering along at 30 mph;
it wasn"t a pleasant sight, but it was fun.
Video: Angels Camp