Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Forever ago (one million years in internet time, or 2 months in human time) I went to California. My mom, sister, and I (girls' trip!) looked at many large and interesting items, mostly in Yosemite National Park, a.ka. The Death Trap. There were many completely unimpressive views, like this one:
Yosemite Valley
There were also some really small trees that were frankly pretty stupid to look at. We have like, 5 of these in our backyard at home.

We stayed overnight in Curry Village. I was a little bit nervous about staying in a canvas tent because bears love me. If Yellowstone was about a 7 on a scale of 1 to "definitely you will die of a bear attack", Yosemite is a 10. (But only signage wise. Actual bear murder-wise, Yellowstone is currently ahead 2-0 this year.)

The next morning we got up early to hike the Mist Trail. If I give you only one tip for visiting Yosemite, it's to get up early. We were up and down by the time the stroller/flip flop/funny hat crowd started in. The trail is kind of odd. The first segment is fairly wide and paved, and continues up to a bridge below the first waterfall, Vernal Falls. After that, things rapidly take a turn for the rugged, which is nice, but is not really posted anywhere. Normally this wouldn't be a problem, but many people seem to saunter up the paved portion and think, "no problem, I'll keep going. And take this stroller, tripod, backpack, and small travel refrigerator with me."

Then you come to this: a stone staircase, about 4 feet wide, with a sheer drop off at one side. Because we were here in June, water was pouring off the waterfall like a torrential downpour, and the stairs were slick. There were portions where I hugged the wall a little as I climbed. My sister and I were both completely soaked by the time we reached the top.

We decided to come back down via a secondary trail, and that was a good decision. We got to see Vernal Falls from above, as well as avoided having to walk down the slippery staircase on the non-wall side. The only downside to this trail is that it is several MILES longer than the straight-shooter trail up.

We drove out via the Tioga Road (towards the east), where there was a ridiculous amount of snow for it being late June. (I know this picture doesn't show a lot of snow, but it was still piled several feet deep along the edge of the road. I had to stop and touch some, because for some reason I expected it not to be cold. I don't know why. It was cold, of course.)

Our next stop was Lake Tahoe. I was expecting it to be more of a sleepy mountain town, but it was more like Vegas-lite. While the lake was beautiful, it was freezing cold. I mostly stayed on the beach in the shade as not to mar my translucent complexion. My sister tells me that it's much more crowded in the winter, when all the coastal Californians visit to enjoy the snow. If anyone wants to come to my house during winter and "enjoy" the snow, you're welcome to, as long as you dig out my car.

We rounded out the trip with a visit to the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose (completing a giant 700-mile circle.) If anyone ever accuses me of having a home remodeling addiction, I refer you to to this house. The owner, Sarah Winchester (also 4'10", a fact that the tour guide really played up as if she was some sort of freak show, when I was standing right there being 4'10" the whole time) built on to the house for 38 years, adding staircases that went nowhere, doors that opened out to a drop off, 47 fireplaces (but only 17 chimneys), and 160 rooms. It's basically a maze inside, and pretty neat to tour if you get the chance.

Aaaaand then I came home. The end.
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