Yosemite – Memorial Day Weekend Getaway

Only 3 weeks passed and the next tremendous activities happened.
However I’ll split up the stories to keep them nice and short. Now you will read about the Yosemite National Park getaway. In the next story I’ll write about Hawaii and later then about the Road Trip on the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway).

On the Thursday night before the long Memorial Day Weekend I did nothing more than writing the last blog entry. So far nothing spectacular happened.

But then on Friday the trip to Yosemite National Park started just after work. A 6 hour drive with tailgate picnic brought us to our cozy camping cabin. The walls were made of thick timber, there was a small kitchenette with only basic tools, pots and pans and also a small relaxation area just beside the front entrance. The porch was just big enough to hold a small wooden swing. This night didn’t last very long as we all have been very tired after that long ride.

We didn’t waste much time on Saturday morning and steered the car towards Yosemite west entrance after pan cake breakfast. The one hour ride to the entrance offered spectacular views of a valley with the road beside a river. One of the motorhome drivers didn’t have much luck this morning as he fell down into the river with his recreational vehicle. Already impressed by the scenery on the way we were even more impressed when reached the actual Yosemite Valley. First day was meant for a long breathtaking hike and so we started to hike the Mist Trail at Curry Village. The first part of the trail, let’s say until the upper part of the Vernal fall, was pretty much crowded. Soon we got to know why this trail is called Mist Trail: The hiker is having a “shower” in the mist of the Vernal fall. The path climbed further uphill, offering a wider and wider view of the Yosemite valley. When we reached the Nevada fall upper part  the path was at its maximum height and the crowd was already cleared. Up there the famous half dome was clearly visible. Another steep path was winding down back to the parking lot. The whole hike including breaks took us quite a while and emptied our energy reserves which is why we stopped for a lunch/dinner combination at an italian restaurant for a bite to eat. Completely starched we had a visit to the famous Ahwahnee hotel with its large hall reminding us to a hall known from Harry Potter movies. The backyard of the hotel was quite large and inviting to lay down but we didn’t. Our next stop was the lookout “Tunnel View” with views towards Half Dome – awesome! We hurried to reach the Glacier point before sunset and just made it in time. The drive there took us approximately 1.5 hours following a narrow road. It was completely worth to visit this spot because it offered a panoramic view of the valley inclusive half dome. It is hard to describe how it was to see the sunset up there and even the pictures will just give a small clue of how it actually was. For me there was not more left on that day than a long and tiring drive back to our campground for toast and banana as dinner.

Also on Sunday we didn’t waste much time in the morning. This day we steered the car towards Yosemite south entrance. It looked like the crowd was a lil larger there. Our first stop was at the Sequoias at Mariposa grove. Sequioas are one of the largest trees of the world and approximately 200 of those mammoth trees are standing right here. We decided to have a short 2 hour stroll through the area to get to see a few of those trees. It was actually not hard to spot those trees. Some of them had brandings from wild fires, others were hit by lightnings and a few were cut down by humanbeings – majestic trees!
The drive from the south entrance of the national park to the valley offered a few more stunning scenic views of the Yosemite park with always changing colors. After salad lunch with ice cream for dessert we started an easy stroll on mostly paved road to the mirror lake. First I was disappointed because the lake mirrored half dome but the image was not really clear due to small waves. But then two of my fellows discovered a part of the lake where the Half Dome was mirrored without any distractions – jaw dropping! I also walked in the mirror lake and found that the temperature of the water must be below 12 degrees celsius – jaw dropped again, felt like stitches in the foot while being in there. We returned back to the car and turned on ignition for the ride back to our cabin in Midpines. The sunset was kind of viewed from our porch and the day ended with some pasta for dinner.
On Memorial Day itself we drove through Yosemite National Park from west to east through the Tioga pass. The road was on a high plain and winded between forests, lakes and meadows. Sometimes steep gradients offered dramatic views into valleys. On the other side (east) of the Yosemite a spectacular view of Mono Lake was opening. A short detour north of Mono Lake brought us to a vista point where we got a good impression of how large the lake actually is.
At this point we choose to travel the highway 395 down to LA on a 250 mile stretch. On the way south we had a short detour to search some natural hot springs but we ended up on a dirt road without finding the hot springs. Later we stopped for a tailgate picnic at an old farm area. We passed Mt. Whitney, USAs highest mountain (Alaska excluded) [4421 m], on our way through the Owens Valley.

28.5 Hangover 3: Fun, Fun, Fun. Usually the second and third episode of a series of films is boring. But the production team around Hangover did a good job in changing the story a little to make the film as good as the other 2.
29.5 Croods: I was asked to watch the movie because of its cuteness. And this is actually what it is. This movie was already quite long in the theaters and so I was alone in the theater – someone should have joined me! Still a fun night out!
30.5 On that evening I have been out for a bar tour in Thousand Oaks. The “Lava Lounge” was a nice bar with billard tables and Karaoke. We went to Brendans which I have been visiting a few times in the past already. Not much crowd there on a Thursday.
31.5 Toppers pizza for lunch. I ordered salami and pepperoni as topping. Well pepperoni was a spicy salami too. Hence it was meat pizza with meat – stupid. Evening was meant for surfing but I just have been too tired for surfing, so I relaxed on the beach when colleagues were surfing. The day ended with a BBQ at a colleagues house. One more time tri-tip and steaks – There will never be enough of it!
1.6 Disneyland Anaheim…There is not much to say than whats written on the entry card: “Disneyland just got happier”. It was a day full of action. I wouldn’t bother describe much (it would not be possible) but have a look at the pictures below.
2.6 LA downtown sightseeing. I went to LA downtown to see some of LAs history. First I found a building which has been restored as one of the first buildings of the town. Earlier it has been broken because of some earthquake. I walked past the Town Hall by day and darkness. It’s actually quite nice illuminated by night. I passed the Walt Disney Concert Hall which has definitely a unique architecture. There also is an Angels Flight which helped  the wealthy people of LA to climb the gradient between Hill and Olive street conviniently. My visit expanded towards Little Tokyo and Chinatown – both are not so spectacular.
3.6 Cinema with “Now you see me”. It’s a magician movie which was quite hard to understand for me. Afterwards a colleague helped me to understand the story. Very tricky! Its not a must watch.
4.6 Crystal Fighters Concert. I’d call it a nice concert. We have been there quite early at 8. Alpine was the supporting act and played from 8.30 to 9.30 and the main act started from 10. Alpine is made of two female lead singers both not wearing standard clothing – I’d rather call it something more weird (still attractive). The drummer didn’t bother about a shirt/t-shirt and sat with trouser and shoes behind the drum set. Two guitarist were hitting the strings very accurate. All-in-all a very good supporting act. I finally had a short chat with one of the lead singers but didn’t bother about autographs.
The main act then was also quite nice. The band members were mainly male supported by two female background singers. The (hair-)dresses were all very weird except from the female singers. However the songs were nice and sometimes easy to sing along. A very nice evening which probably ended too late for a drive back to Camarillo.
Worst part of this evening: bottomless cup of water was 1$
5.6 I was busy packing my bag for Hawaii

My trip to Hawaii started in the night of the 6.6

For now enjoy the pictures coming along with this entry and stay tuned for the Hawaii story:

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