Monday, May 7, 2012

Yosemite and California: Photos

My husband and I just got back from a trip to California. The first half our trip consisted of visiting friends in the Bay Area and in Central Valley, and then we spent 3 days in Yosemite National Park. Here are some choice pictures I took that depict the entirety of our trip.

Persian-themed winery in Napa valley
Wine tasting is a neat experience to do with friends, even if you're not really a wine fan. If you're going to wine taste, Napa valley is the place to do it. Each winery is unique and just as elaborate. This winery was even adorned with replicas of Persian guardian statues and stones inscribed with ancient language inside—plus comfy chairs to sit in.

Redwood trees
Redwoods in a redwood forest. You wouldn't believe how tall these trees are. They're even taller than sequoias, which are known for their massive girth.

Jellies at the Monterey Bay Aquarium
Can you believe this is an unedited photo? The blue and orange contrast so vividly. In the wild, though, these are probably so translucent you wouldn't be able to see a swarm of them without the light illuminating them from underneath—which is scary.

Sea turtle and hammerhead at Monterey Bay Aquarium
Actually, this sea turtle one is the only one of these photos that is edited. Taken with Instagram. Since I'm so accustomed to the Atlantic, it was neat to see some cool Pacific animals in person for the first time. We also saw puffins and penguins.

The view from Glacier Point in Yosemite
This is easily the most beautiful sight I have ever seen. Try to imagine the immense height and depth of this photo without fearing you'll fall into the computer screen. For reference, the top of Half Dome is 8,835 feet above sea level. And yes, people actually do hike up the mountain and then climb the sheer side of that—using cables. I had never seen snow-capped mountains before, so this experience was surreal.

The view from Glacier Point in Yosemite 
You can see the Sierra Nevada mountains in the background. Also notice the waterfall. Looks like a painting, doesn't it? If it seems fisheye-ish, it's because of the vastness. I'm viewing this from 7,274 feet, and the valley is 3,200 feet below.

Giant sequoias
It's practically neck-breaking. You can't get one of these in one frame! Taken at Merced Grove.

Giant sequoia
The Clothespin Tree at Mariposa Grove. My husband demonstrates for reference.

Hetch Hetchy reservoir

The San Francisco Bay Area gets its water from here, entirely by gravity. This was a beautiful 5-mile round trip hike to a waterfall—also my favorite hike because of all of the springtime sights (I'm from Florida, so we don't have spring). The snow was still melting off of the mountain, so the trails were wet and full of flowers, butterflies and bees.

We enjoyed our trip very much. I was surprised to encounter Wi-Fi and cell service so often while in Yosemite, and our lodge housed a decidedly awesome hipster restaurant. Seriously, I had soup with sake in it, and truffle fries. Yes, the mushroom—fries fried in truffle oil. Okay, most truffle fries are fried in just flavored oil, but still. What. This restaurant had the most awesome and interesting food I had never heard of. But it was the naturey stuff we came for—we hiked I think 18 miles over 3 days and saw some amazing sights. It's just that I didn't realize that you could do that and come back to a warm bed, Wi-Fi, and hipster food. Who knew.

I think a backpacking hike would actually be really cool and adventurous to do one day. Until then...