Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thanksgiving Colors - Stockton, California


Spending Thanksgiving holiday nestled in the Central Valley of California in Stockton made for a great time to explore! Before heading back to Monterey, we made a quick stop by University of the Pacific and toured around for awhile to stretch our legs prior to making the 3 hour drive back.  With the leaves changing their verdant to amber and gold with the architecture of this campus, I felt as if we were in a New England state rather than the West Coast California, granted we were a good distance from the 'stereotype' of the Republic of sunshine and beaches.

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Grand Yosemite - Eastern California

El Capitan - just your everyday 3,000 foot granite monolith. One of the first sites seen as you approach the main valley of Yosemite, and the first to leave an impression!  Often a destination for climbers, this may be my next stop on my return trip to Yosemite.
Upon first entering the Park for our three day adventure over the Veteran's Day weekend this Fall, we were welcomed into the Valley by this interesting entrance into the heart of the park.

Sites that can be taken in from the village center are the North Dome and this stone bridge that I am guessing was a product from the Roosevelt's New Deal and CCC.

With the last hours of the dwindling down into dusk of the first day of the hike, I caught a good glimpse of one of the more notable peaks of Yosemite:  Half Dome.

 Looking east to these snow covered domes as we came down from the Half Basket Dome in the third day of our hike.

Life under the Big Trees - Yosemite, California

The Feel of Yosemite - California

From this, I hope to bring the sensation that I felt as I went through this majestic place.

As I approached the snow capped summits, life was still striving down in the lower valley down below.

Worn by the sands and winds of time...

Crystal clear water from the season's first snow in the first morning light.

The Half Dome - Yosemite National Park, California

The Half Dome


Climbing 4,740 feet out of the Yosemite Valley bottom, the Half Dome is one of Yosemite's most notable attractions.  Up until 1875, this was considered to be "perfectly inaccessable", that is until George Anderson proved otherwise by making the first climb to the summit of this Monolith.  I, too, hope to make that same hike here in the near future!

While hiking along the North Ridge of the Yosemite Valley, this was a common site for me
to look upon while making my way across on my Journey.

I have to admit, going in the mid autumn season is probably one of the best times to go due to the beautiful display of colors, slight snow, and the ability to enjoy it with a reduced amount of park visitors!

A glimpse of the opposing Domes: North Dome and the Half Dome

Yosemite Falls - California

Taking the leap of 2,425 feet, Yosemite Falls are the highest waterfall in North America and is ranked the sixth in the World.

Around six hours after this photo was taken, we were at the top of the waterfalls setting up camp for the first leg of our hike.

With it's source being a small spring aloft in a mountain valley up above, the Falls make the plunge toward the Merced River amd onward through the Central Valley.

A close look from the Overlook...

Grapes of the Wild - El Portal, California

 El portal Spanish for 'the gateway'

 From the grapevine....

Making for a good mid-morning snack, I would have to say that these wild grapes were some of the best grapes I have ever eaten in my day...

Monday, November 22, 2010

Trails of Yosemite - California

The Stairway to the Overlook of Yosemite Falls.
These could have been the last thing I could have possibly set my eyes on had I been any more careless with myself... only a 2,500 foot vertical drop to the bottom down below.

The bridge that crosses the stream before it becomes the Yosemite Falls.

The way down from the Basket Dome.

What we called the Road for the Pilgrimage to the Dali Lama!  ...and that is what it felt like!
The trail in the valley bottom was bursting with awesome autumn colors.

Meandering in the California Red Cedars was a common thing on this hike.  These trees were ranging from small seedlings spurting from the snow to Mammoths of an 8 foot diameter at their base.

Heartland of the Central Valley - Merced, California

 Finding Clouds on a cloudless day in cotton fields near Merced, and then your everyday farmyard complete with a palm tree!  I found out that this area is like the Midwest of California when it comes to dairies and pancake-flat farm fields!  Even with growing up in north central Montana on the plains, these fields were flat to me!

The Memorial of George Hicks Fancher.  Said to have been a major legal dispute following his death between his sons about how his will was followed and this memorial would be erected in his memory as a prominent citizen to the community.  Luckily, this remarkable obelisk stands today despite 'brotherly love' issues.

Treasure Island! - San Francisco, California

 A view onto the San Francisco Skyline.
 Finished in 1939, the artificial Island was debuted in the 1940 Expo.  Now, the home to the United States Naval base of Treasure Island.  Glimpse at the Bay Bridge crossing over to San Francisco on a clear, sunny day.  (Which can be a rare thing for the Bay Area!)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Sports and Classics of Monterey - Monterey, California

I had the opportunity to volunteer myself to work at this auction as a 'car pusher', and it was more than worth it!  I was passed by cars averaging a sale price of about $170,000... mind you, average.