California Trip Part One: Yosemite

Half Dome

We officially began our summer this year with a trip to California, partly to celebrate my recent college graduation, partly to see our good friends Seth and Laura in San Francisco, and partly because we both needed a vacation. We spent the first part of our trip at Yosemite National Park, which has to be the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen. Being a fan of Ansel Adams et al, I’ve been looking at pictures of Yosemite for years…but pictures just don’t do the place justice. You can’t truly appreciate the place until you’re standing there.

Three Brothers

We spent two days at Yosemite, driving from San Francisco Friday night and returning Sunday evening. Our cabin in Coulterville was a scenic hour drive from the park itself, with plenty of great overlooks en route to keep us entertained. We drove through the Stanislaus National Forest (The Forest of Many Uses, or so the signs exclaimed), climbing from the Chaparral* of the foothills to the rich evergreen forests of the National Park itself, then back down again on Sunday. Much of the trip looked like something out of an old Western movie. I was really fascinated by the multitude of geography and climate we experienced, being accustomed to the rather predictable terrain and weather of Oklahoma. Nothing reminds me just how ugly Oklahoma can be like a trip to pretty much anywhere else. And speaking of things from Oklahoma, our good friends Seth and Laura were along for the ride, and graciously provided us with lodging for our week in San Francisco–and unlike many other things from Oklahoma, they’re not ugly at all! We couldn’t have asked for better travelling companions, and unless I’m mistaken, they had an awesome time (photographic proof on Laura’s flickr). They also love squirrels, as evidenced by the following photograph.

Laura and Seth (with critters)

All in all, our trip to Yosemite was an astounding success. We were able to see a lot in the two days we were there–Yosemite Valley, two amazing waterfalls (Yosemite Falls and Bridal Veil Falls), giant Sequoias, and Glacier Point (where both the scenic shots in this post were taken), not to mention bears, lizards, chipmunks, all sorts of birds, and of course squirrels. I think a person could spend a year in Yosemite without growing tired of it, so two days was hardly even enough to whet my appetite. Needless to say, we’ll be back someday.


Both scenic shots in this post were taken with a medium-format Mamiya RB67, which got me the special pat-down treatment at the airport when they saw it in my carry-on…but here I am. For more shots from our Yosemite trip, check out my Yosemite set on flickr, which will be continually updated as I get stuff edited.

* I had to do a lot of research to find the name for this type of terrain/ecosystem. It’s really captivating, and I wish I’d pulled off to get some pictures of it. As the wikipedia article states, it seems that without roads it would be almost impassible by humans. It’s a really interesting terrain.

4 comments on “California Trip Part One: Yosemite”

  1. being from California and having parents who took us to these places as summer vacations your trip really hits home. If you want t see some real beauty check out Death Valley and Joshua Tree. The desert is one of the most beautiful places around. What a little bit geology does for a landscape huh!

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