|crossing the Golden Gate bridge|
We have loved visiting Muir Woods in the past, so we thought, why not? Well. Once we crossed the Golden Gate, we knew why: these days one has to reserve a time to visit Muir Woods. We had not reserved a time, and we did not want to wait around for the late afternoon openings. So we turned around, headed south toward Campbell -- not Saratoga, our original destination, because a few days before our trip the Saratoga Inn sent a note to say their A/C was not working, due to some renovations. So... we hurriedly booked something else. The hotel was fine, but the big win of the day was supper at Bella Saratoga, where we ate outside on the veranda as a guitarist played beautiful songs, like The Romance Song. Perfect, perfect!
|Parajo Dunes |
Then we headed further south, through Santa Cruz, where I wish I'd gotten a picture of the Adrienne Rich art (she lived there), and on to Watsonville, which turns out to be the heart of the agricultural belt, with acres and acres of strawberry and cherry fields. When we arrived at our Parajo Dunes condo, we opened the back door, and there was the Pacific! We took a beach walk and napped then headed to the Fish House for supper.
|A deer and her fawn|
came to watch events
at the 2nd hole
After all those PEOPLE, we were excited to head east to Mariposa, the little Yosemite gateway town before you get to the Arch Rock Entrance. We stopped in to eat lunch at Jantz Bakery in Merced before making the rest of the drive to Mariposa.
|butterfly mural in Mariposa|
We'd originally planned to eat at the Majestic Yosemite Hotel - we made reservations on the first day they open reservations for that date (like 3 months ahead of time) -- but wow, was the park busy! Bumper to bumper traffic, long wait times... so we cruised the Valley, ate our boxed lunches (from Jantz's in Mariposa -- oh, we wish we had a Jantz's here in Alabama!) under El Capitan, walked through the Grand (a building I love! And which made me choke up, remembering the last time I was there with my father.), shopped a little, and then decided to head south to see the Sequoias -- only traffic was completely stopped, and there were reports of 2-3 hour delays, so we canceled our dinner reservations, turned ourselves around,
and got out of there!
I don't know about you, but I go to nature to enjoy NATURE. Quite. Solitude. Not to be "stuck" between thousands of people! Sigh. On our way out we did really enjoy the crazy white water and thick waterfalls (thank you, snow melt!) And you know, we've seen it all before. So it wasn't heartbreaking or anything to leave. Just kind of ... disappointing. A great example of how flexible one needs to be when traveling, and how important it is to listen to one's heart... what do YOU want to do? It's okay to stay, it's okay to leave. Just be honest with yourself, and everyone will enjoy themselves more.
The travel day home was BRUTAL, with waiting and delays and luggage disasters... we didn't get back to our home until 1 am! The next morning we took a walk on our quiet, secluded road and marveled at how lucky we are to live in a place where we enjoy nature every single hour. Yay for HOME!