One day, after a weekend of rock climbing in Bishop, CA, some friends and I decided to take the long route home and go through Yosemite. Bishop is located southwest of the park and has some of the best bouldering there is. It was our first time climbing outdoors and it was exhilarating. The scenery here was outstanding, as well. We had camped a night and the sky was amazing. There were more stars then I had ever seen before, and you could watch the moon go down behind the mountains. We were fortunate enough to have arrived during a meteor shower. This story is not about Bishop, but if you like rock climbing and bouldering, it is a place I would highly suggest that you check out.
We said good-bye to our group and left mid-day on Sunday so we could visit the national park, which none of us had been to before. It was nearing the end of the season, but luckily for us the pass was still open. Though the time the more experienced travelers had quoted us was an underestimate, and we spent quite a long time driving.
We arrived at the northwestern side of the park, paid a fee, and entered. We drove slowly as the elevation increased. I spent most of the ride overreacting, afraid that we might fall off one of the very steep, non-railed slopes. I could see straight down thousands of feet from my passenger side window, which made it difficult for me to relax.
There were many places along the way to safely pull over and enjoy the scenery. The first stop we made was about nine thousand feet up. There was a beautiful clear lake and a view that went on forever. We were shocked when we got out of the car that the temperature was about twenty five degrees lower than when we started and the winds were strong. We took a minute to get some photos, and then hastily returned to the car.
There were many breathtaking sights as we traveled down the long road. There were neat, long tunnels carved through the mountain. As much as we wanted to, and were advised to look out for, we did not see any bears. Also, many of the facilities and customer service areas were closed due to it being the off season. Thankfully, we were able to eventually find an open and working bathroom.
Near the southeast exit of the park, there was a loop featuring many attractions. We found ourselves at a waterfall. It was a small one, and we nearly missed it at first. It was high atop a cliff, but the motion caught my eye. It was the first waterfall I had ever seen in person. It was lovely.
Running short on time and daylight, we missed many of the attractions that Yosemite had. But what we were able to see was some of the most amazing things that my eyes ever had. We wanted to make sure that we had an opportunity to see the redwoods on the way home.
Not long after, we arrived at the Redwoods. We parked and found a map that showed where the various redwoods were. There was a long trail, lined with trees. The main redwoods had fences around them, though they were not constructed in such a way that would actually keep anyone away if they did not want to listen. The trees were tall and impressive.
One thing that surprised me about the forest was all of the fire damage. There were a lot of burned out and knocked over trees. From the literature they gave us I learned that the fire is actually crucial to the reproductive cycle of the Redwoods. It made for some interesting pictures.
By Angela Cavanaugh