Saturday, October 22, 2016

Quick Visits to Mono Lake and Yosemite

The kids and I headed to the National Speleological Society (NSS) Western Regional in Sonora, CA at the beginning of October over a long weekend. We left after school on Thursday and made it to Tonopah, where we stayed the night (but not in the Clown Motel). Then we got up early and continued west on Highway 6, watching dawn break on Boundary Peak, the highest peak in Nevada. The tallest part of the mountain is actually in California.

We kept driving until we got to the South Tufa area at Mono Lake. Tufa is formed from spring water bubbling up and depositing minerals in interesting shapes.

There's a trail with interpretive signs. Desert Boy really wanted to know if Mono Lake was so salty that a rock would float. He tried it out. The rock sank. Now we know.

I had fun taking photos, and we all enjoyed stretching our legs on the one-mile long trail, as we had already driven over two hours that morning.

More pretty views. Sometime I'd like to have a relaxed trip to the area, with time to explore more.

We couldn't stay long because we were meeting friends in Yosemite. The approach from the east side is spectacular.

It's amazing there's a road!

We stopped at Tuolomne Meadows and Desert Girl immediately ran to a rock so she could become the queen.

Desert Boy didn't want to be left out of the fun.

Desert Girl offered to take a photo of me.

There sure is a lot of airplane traffic! This is another spot I'd like to spend more time.

We stopped at this overlook and I noticed the granite on the side opposite the pullout. So we went for a quick hike.

Desert Girl led the way.

We had some nice views of Half Dome.

And at the top we had a nice view of the lake we had just passed.

There was another lake that was kind of hidden.

If it's a challenge, the kids generally like it.

A quick shot of the kids and Half Dome.

We kept driving and driving--it's a long way across Yosemite, and the roads were crowded. We thought visiting on a weekday in off-season it wouldn't be so busy, but we were wrong. Our friends said the campground was full. We met them and went down into Yosemite Valley, parked far away because it was so busy, then waited a long time for the shuttle bus.

Yosemite is getting a lot of beetle kill in its trees. I've learned that often the beetle kill is just another way to clean out the forests, something fire historically did but now we are often too afraid to use wildfire as a tool for promoting forest health. Anyway, the bark patterns were pretty.
We went to the visitor center to get junior ranger booklets, but you have to buy them. How lame, Yosemite, you have more fee dollars than most parks. Way to encourage the next generation of park stewards. Not. (Sorry, I couldn't help a little rant.)

We went for a little hike to Lower Yosemite Falls. Here's Ron playing hide'n seek!

He was found, and Desert Boy was glad to go walking with him.

The dry Yosemite Falls.

So we found entertainment climbing a big boulder.

The kids found that if they took their shoes off, it was easier.

Desert Boy kept trying until he made it to the top.

We took the shuttle bus back (after I had relocated my camera that I had set down to make a purchase).

Then it was on to the activities the kids really wanted to do in Yosemite. And what might those be? Swimming and building sand castles. Go figure. So we waded across the Merced River and found a sandy beach and the kids wallowed in the water and made sand castles. The adults watched climbers on El Capitan.

Desert Boy wanted to get in more swimming.

He found a big log to jump off of.


It was worth it!

He did it a couple more times.

Meanwhile, Desert Girl was watching this tame duck.

A view of El Capitan. That's a big piece of rock! Due to time constraints we left soon after and headed off to the caving event. At least now the kids have a tiny idea of what Yosemite is like. I'm hoping some day we'll go explore the backcountry some more.

1 comment:

jhami said...

Clown motel lol
What a cool adventure! Looks like fun and beautiful photos!

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