Every year my father and I take a trip together. Last year we visited literary New England. This year we journeyed west to Yosemite National Park. It's a destination that had been on both our lists for some time, so it was pretty satisfying to actually make that happen. I could write for days about how amazing our trip was, but for this post I will just hit some highlights.
Here is the early morning sky at the airport in Birmingham as I was walking from the parking deck to the terminal.
My father and I met at San Jose airport, quickly got into our rental car and lingered over a a wonderful lunch at The Fish Market Seafood Restaurant.
We then headed over to our home base for the trip: Mariposa! What a lovely little town! Great restaurants -- Savoury's, Sugar Pine Cafe, Happy Burger Diner. Also, Jantz Bakery, which provided us with delicious boxed lunches each day we went into the park. (We also enjoyed homemade cinnamon rolls and blueberry scones for breakfast. Yum!) AND, we lucked upon their monthly Art Hop, which allowed me to bring home some creative baubles for myself and for others. :)
We took the Arch Rock entrance for our first day in the park. After seeing so many pictures and poring over maps and talking to other tourists, I really was surprised by how BIG everything was! El Capitan took my breath away. All that granite... how deep the valley... WOW.
Here's a picture from the Valley Tour:
And another from our drive up to Glacier Point. (Photo taken... I think... at the Tunnel View stop.)
We shared a wonderful meal at the historic Ahwahnee Dining Room where we were the first guests of the evening and treated like royalty.
Here's another picture, just to give you an idea of the grandeur. It really was like stepping back in time and experiencing life as one of the privileged. Amazing!
We saw a fantastic play with Lee Stetson as John Muir Among the Animals. More amazingness! Another highlight was the Big Trees tour at the South entrance of the park. You really can't grasp the size of these giants from pictures. Some things I learned was how ropy the texture of the sequoia trunks, how redwoods are coastal, and it was the grove that John Muir first fell in love with.
Here we are at outside Galen Clark's research cabin. Wow, did he pick an inspiring spot in the forest!
Another highlight of our trip was the grand finale: the Moonlight Special at Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad. This included a lovely supper (grilled steak, cowboy beans, corn salad and bread pudding), a 20 minute ride on the narrow-guage deep into the Sierra National Forest, and a camp fire singalong, which felt super-special in dry dry DRY super-fire-risk California. So much fun, and a great way to finish out our visit.
Finally, I will leave you with one of my favorite John Muir quotes, as displayed at Wawona Hotel:
But you know what the best part was? Spending time with Papa. We didn't even need all that fantastic scenery. PRICELESS.