Day six: Yosemite

A blue sky and white fluffy clouds greeted us this morning. We had stayed just a few miles from the entrance to the Sequoia National Park which was our first stop. We bought an America is Beautiful card which will give us free access to other sites on our holiday.

In the park the roads are well paved but twisty and the views alternate between forest and valleys. And there is no mistaking a Sequoia tree. They are a red/russet colour and their girth is so much larger than those around them.

Sequoia trees

We headed for Tunnel Log, before the roads got busy, as we wanted to take the generic car-being-driven-through-the-tunnel photo. We were in luck and managed the feat in both directions.

Tunnel Log

The General Sherman tree is the oldest, largest by volume tree in the world. There was a small queue for ‘that’ photo and we listened to a short talk about Sequoias in general and the General Sherman tree in particular before catching the free shuttle bus back up the hill to the car park.

I was entranced by these huge trees, so majestic, in the totally peaceful Park. Park is too small a word for the area covered. And tree is too small a word for these behemoths.

We stopped for coffee at Grant village, a collection of buildings housing a PO, general store and a gift shop and where I bought Sherman, a little cuddly racoon, before driving to the General Grant tree, the third biggest tree in the world and taller than the General Sherman tree.

General Sherman tree

It’s hard to convey just how impressive these giant trees are. Their bark is gnarled and rough like the tiny cones they produce and are totally fireproof but have fire scars the height of 20 to 30 feet deep into their trunks. I didn’t want to leave..

But leave we did, we still had a long way to go and we’d already stayed a couple of hours longer than intended. As we descended from 7000 feet to the Central Valley floor the temperature rose to 38C so we baked getting out of the car for lunch in Fresno.

I ordered a Cobb salad. Simple or so I thought. It was lettuce, egg, turkey, bacon and avocado. Which dressing? I had a choice of four. And which muffin? Muffin? I had a choice of three… I chose buttermilk and spice and had it to go!

The arid, featureless landscape of yellow fields and scrubby hills and row after row of dark green fruit trees gradually became just hills, then back to pine forest as we entered Yosemite National Park.

Central Valley

We were determined to complete the day’s itinerary and made it up to Glacier Point by about 6.30pm. It was crowded! We were surprised because we’d been quite alone on the 17 mile drive up there, and back again… A stop at Tunnel View, Bridalveil Falls then El Capitan saw us arriving at the hotel in time to have nowhere to park!

Glacier Point

Bears raiding cars for food is very common here and all food, including any food waste and wrappers, must be disposed of or locked in bear proof containers. So we had to bring our case of wine into the hotel room just in case the bears fancied a tipple.

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