23rd September 2022
Another long drive today, from Monterey to Yosemite National Park. We had pre-booked the Wawona hotel which was actually in the park and not too far from the valley floor.
The drive to get there was not the most scenic, and there was endless miles of driving along flat roads passing orange groves and other kinds of farming, or as in this photo lots of nothing!
There was the occasional Walmart (a small supermarket with which Jane found a fascination!) where we would often stop to stretch our legs and go to the loo.
As we got closer we to the park the landscape changed for the better and the road started to climb.
This photo shows the after mass of some of the devastation caused by the recent forest fires. Over the next few days we were able to see many more such incidents………
We also got to see the regrowth as the circle of life restarted its journey.
Jane wasn’t feeling too good when this picture was taken, she was only a shadow of her normal self!
This was the part of the trip when you were excited to drive around every bend in the road, as with each turn there was a magnificent vista to great us!
After a long days’ drive we eventually arrived at the Wawona Hotel. One of California’s original mountain resort hotels, this Victorian-era Wawona Hotel was originally established in 1856.
Ayla was in charge of reception on our arrival. We said we had booked a room for three nights and our name was Smith, she looked down at her computer pressed a few more keys then starting looking concerned “are you sure you have the made a reservation? I can’t see your names and we are full for the next three nights”!
I immediately went into panic mode as there wasn’t another hotel for 50 miles, and I asked Jane to get out the paperwork to prove that I had indeed made the booking several months beforehand.
It was then that Ayla apologised and started laughing. Kev had asked her to play a trick on us to see what kind of reaction we had! She did a great job and said she was worried that I might not see the funny side but as I have often played similar tricks on Kev, of course I did!
I was up early the next morning and caught a beautiful sunrise…………
As we were already in the park, we had decided to make an early start to the valley floor and get a head-start before the rest of the visitors descended on the park.
And, of course, stopping to take in the beauty and a few photos along the way!
Once we had parked the car we started our first hike of the day. It wasn’t a long walk, a 2 mile loop up to mirror lake, however when we got there the lake was empty due to recent dry weather and so we missed out on the reflection effect which is meant to be stunning……oh well!
Our next hike was to a bridge over a waterfall. It didn’t look too far on the map, only about 1.5 miles, so we set off. I hadn’t taken in to consideration the steepness of the trail and also that it was later in the day and the sun was at its height!
It was really hard work and although the pathway was tarmacked we still had to make quite a few stops to catch our breath and take a gulp of water. (incidentally if you want a glass of water in the US you have to ask for a glass of wadder or they won’t understand you!)
All the hard work paid off, there wasn’t much water falling but the view from the top was great!
When we got back to the bottom of the valley we saw a crowd of people and heard a gun shot. Being curious and without thinking we walked towards the gathering group and the sound of the shot. We asked the ranger what was going on and he informed us that a family of bears had come down the mountain in search of food for their winters’ hibernation.
The gunshot sound was caused by the firing of a high powered compressed gun to frighten the bears and prevent them from coming any closer!
We managed to get a few photos between the two of us, even if the bears didn’t really want to pose for us, and even though it would have been a classic shot to get a picture of Jane with a real “bear behind”!
Walking back to pick up the car I heard a rustle in the bushes on the other side of the road and I looked over to see this stag break cover and run over to a wooded area and disappear .
We were certainly very lucky with the weather and had a cloudless sky all day.
As we drove back to the hotel the sun was setting and the park was transformed again, the mountains gradually beginning to turn an orangey-red colour.
And with the sun finally disappearing behind the distant mountains the whole sky began to change colour!
The next day we had a slightly shorter drive to the nearby Mariposa Grove.
Mariposa Grove is a sequoia grove located near Wawona, in the southernmost part of Yosemite National Park. It is the largest grove of giant sequoias in the park, with several hundred mature examples of the tree. Two of its trees are among the 30 largest giant sequoias in the world.
Again we were lucky with the weather and got to see the striking contrasts in colour between the blue skies the green foliage and the orange bark of the trees!