Thursday, August 14, 2014

Touring The Golden State in their Golden Years - Yosemite. (Not a Ride Report).

In case some of you have been wondering, what happened to my wanderings? This Summer I took a long break from 2 wheeled adventures and spent some very enjoyable and quality time with my parents who visited me for a couple of months. It was a conscious decision to forego any solo 2 wheeled adventures during their entire visit. Although I missed riding off into the yonder, I wouldn't have had it any other way than spending time with them while they were here. 

This didn't mean that we stayed at home all the time, I took this opportunity to show them around our diversely beautiful California. My parents have been to California before, that trip, we mostly explored the great cities of California - San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, and even an excursion into Nevada for a trip to Las Vegas with a side trip into Arizona to see the breathtaking Grand Canyon. This time, however, we mainly stayed away from the concrete man-made jungles, with all the overcrowding and awful traffic and focused instead on what I call God's country here in the scenic wilds of California. 

Our first excursion, in our journeys, was to a place that I consider to be one of the natural wonders of the world - Yosemite!

Our first photo stop being "Tunnel View" vista point, you emerge from the tunnel on Wawona Road and it just takes your breath away!

In the middle of June and Bridalveil Falls had all but dried up. 

A veil not worthy of a Bride. Only a wisp remains of the mighty and thundering veil which we call and are accustomed to as Bridalveil Falls.

The severe drought in California has taken it's toll. Aptly captured by the whining exclamation of one little kid, who had hiked up here - "There is no water!"

I believe my parents have a proclivity for Apophenia - seeing patterns and connections in otherwise random and inanimate objects. They spotted this, what I am referring to as the face of a sentinel near Bridalveil Falls in Yosemite. Do you see it? :)

A closer view.

We moved on towards the imposing El Capitan. Found a spot where we could view El Capitan with the Merced river in the foreground.

My Mom sitting by the Merced River with El Capitan in the background. 

My Dad lost in thought. :)

Frolickers in the Merced River look so puny compared to the imposing El Capitan. 

The meadows in Yosemite Valley were still green in June despite our very dry weather. Yosemite Falls is faring a little better than Bridalveil Falls and is still going, albeit it is a shadow of it's usual self.

A few wildflowers are still hanging on in the meadows. 

A beautiful peaceful place. Perfect place for relaxing and slowing down time under the cool shade of the dancing Aspens.

On our way out of the slightly crowded valley, we stopped at Valley View vista point for one last look at the Valley before we climbed out of it to find other vistas. 

It was a shame to see Bridalveil falls so diminished. I would love to bring my parents back to visit when the Waterfalls of Yosemite are in their full glory!

We weren't venturing very far from the pavement. At least not yet, that was to come later, but there is so much to see and admire in Yosemite, even without having to hike or backpack. 

It was a fun drive up to Glacier Point. We stopped at Washburn point along the way first, for a view of Half Dome and the Vernal Falls. 

Then explored Glacier Point for a while. 

Yosemite wasn't as crowded in June as I had imagined it would be. Traffic seemed light for the season, maybe because of the withering waterfalls. This minimized the delays we experienced in the park and gave us time to go explore some natural wonders not of the granite persuasion - The Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias. Granted, these old growth trees do not quite stand up to the Giants found in Sequoia National Park, but they are still very impressive indeed! 

Mom took the Guided Tram tour and was very disappointed by the apathy of the Park employees who are the Tour operators. Good enough for Gov't work seemed to be the motto. Two Thumbs Down! 

Dad and I on the other hand had an absolute blast hiking the Mariposa Grove. My Dad is still young at heart and in better shape than most here half his age. Here he is standing by the Bachelor and the Three Graces. 

The Grizzly Giant. So tall, that the lens just couldn't fit all of it in, despite how far we stood from it.

The Drive Thru tree. The only one tunneled and yet still standing in this grove. It's a shame that these trees were cut in such a way, but amazing that they still thrive! 

We hiked over varied paved and unpaved terrain to the Faithful Couple trees, which had grown into one another like conjoined twins. Here we met a couple of tourists from Britain, who took our pictures by the trees and my email and promised to send it to us, but it seems they have forgotten us. :)

It was such an amazing experience to see, touch and hug these marvels of Nature! 

Makes one feel so Lilliputian in the "Giant" scheme of things! :)

All in all such a great trip, and such great memories with my awesome family! Really, there is nothing in this world quite like the unconditional love of family! :)

Thank you for reading! :)

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