Friday, July 27, 2007

Day 7- San Diego Zoo

Day 5 & 6- Yosemite

Sorry I haven't written in awhile- things have been crazy at our house.

The 5th day, we woke up and drove 20 miles to Yosemite. It took us 1 hour to get there! The roads are up and down mountains the whole way, and the 20 miles was just to the park. Once you get inside, it takes forever to get anywhere. We finally made it down into the valley, parked, and took a shuttle to the trail we wanted to hike. The valley has a free shuttle that runs to all the trail heads all day. We chose a 3 mile hike up to Vernal Falls- piece of cake, right? (Here is a view of the falls from the trail.)No, it was uphill the whole way, and the last half mile was straight up these steep stairs. But it was well worth it! The view was incredible from the top of the falls. I got a little dizzy looking down. John swam in the pool at the top of the falls (don't worry- it was a ways down from where it dropped :) ) The water was basically melted ice, or that's how it felt. He didn't want to get in at first, but it turned out to be his favorite part of the trip. He said after you get out of water that cold, your whole body feels so warm, almost like a high. I don't know; it didn't seem worth it to me. :) The kids were playing on a natural slide made by water running over this flat rock. After the walk down, my legs felt like jello. Out of sheer exhaustion, we are sleeping better and better each night! Afterwards, we drove up the Glacier Point, which is the highest point you can drive to. The view was beautiful! (Here you can see Vernal Falls at the bottom and Nevada Falls at the top.)

I thought I was exhausted on day 5, but day 6 was even worse! We arrived back at the park to do Mirror Lake, a "2 mile round trip hike". Well, when you get to the one mile mark where you're supposed to turn around, there was no sign saying which trail went forward and where the Mirror Lake trail ended. We walked 1.5 miles in the wrong direction in "mountain lion" territory, and then had to trek back to find where we started and get back to the shuttle stop. When we got there at 3pm, we were starving! We imagined how pretty the lake must be, bc it basically disappears in the summer, once all the snow is melted. That was a fun adventure. :) We ate in the dining hall there in the valley. Afterwards, we drove south to the grove of Giant Sequoias. We parked and looked around. The trail was .8 miles, round trip. We thought, "that's not too far; let's do it." (This is the root system of a fallen down tree.)About a tenth of a mile down, we read each other's minds- we were too tired to take another step. We barely made it back to the car. :) That night, we drive back down to LA. Here is the sunset we saw on the way out of the park.We made it to the hotel late at night. Yay! Another real bed- finally! The shower can wait until tomorrow! Goodnight.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Cali- Day 4

We got up this morning and drove south to try to find Muir Woods, a popular Redwood forest just north of San Francisco. We took the scenic coastal HW 1. It's very windey (new word) out around the hills and cliffs. Then it took us by the ocean, and when we saw a scenic place with lots of cars parked, we stopped and walked down the path to the ocean. John climbed this huge rock on the way. From way up there he could see that we were headed straight to a nude beach! It was hidden away between two rocks on the beach. He tried to play a trick on me and lead me down there the rest of the way, but this man came out before we got down there, and John had to tell me. :)

We finally made it to Muir Woods after that and made the 2 mile trek around it. The trees were really cool. More driving this afternoon as we went 2 hours east to our new campgrounds at Yosemite Pines, about 20 miles west of Yosemite.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Day 3- San Francisco

This morning, we rode a cable car to Fisherman's Wharf, where we saw Sea Lions right off the boardwalk resting on floating platforms that they set up for them there.
We ate lunch at a seafood place, then shopped a bit at the Wharf. We took a ferry over to Alcatraz Island. They had a fascinating audio tour given by real guards and prisoners that were there. It was really cool.

Below is a cell with a fake head, which was used by a prisoner who escaped. Below that is the hole he dug to crawl through.
For dinner, I had fresh strawberries & cherries- they tasted literally like a jolly rancher, they were so sweet- and some mini donuts. We bought & sent some postcards. That night, we drove about 20 miles north to our camping spot, which was in the middle of a Redwood forest! We drove through the most beautiful town I have ever seen. I can't even describe it- it looked like we were in Europe or something.

Below is the Golden Gate Bridge.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

California- Day 2

This morning, we drove from where we camped on the beach to LA to go to Universal Studios, Hollywood. I like the rides, bc they are virtual reality instead of actual roller coasters. Back to the Future was the best ride there, and I remember it being the best ride at the one in Orlando when I was a kid. John got sick on it though. :) John really liked the studio tour, where they took us through many actual movie sets that have been used. We rode Shrek & Terminator in 4D, saw the animal actors from Evan Almighty, and watched a live Fear Factor show. We went through the "House of Terrors", and John got scared really good 4 times by monsters. :)
Below is a movie set where many westerns were shot. Next is the crash scene from War of the Worlds, then King Kong, Jurassic Park, and a ship from Star Wars.
We had to leave at 5 to drive to San Francisco. The drive was pretty boring through the wine/farm country. We stopped at Carl's Jr. for dinner, another first, and didn't get to SF until 10pm. Our hotel was really unique w/ different artwork on the walls in each room. Here was our room: We were so happy to finally have a warm bed and warm shower!