We went to Yosemite, saw the falls, had lunch at the Ahwanee, and now we are happy. Here are some thumbnails and a trip report. Click on the small photos to see larger images.
June 1, 2005: Drive to Mariposa
It was about a 6 hour drive from Chico to Mariposa, driving south on Hwy 99. Weather is fine, but windy.
The rice fields are flooded and some of the green rice plants are coming up. One has to wonder at the choice to grow such a water hogging crop as rice here in California. And of course the mosquitoes with their W. Nile virus just love all those rice ponds.
The car thermometer said we were driving through 91 degree heat between Merced and Mariposa.
The grasses are brown already. I think the part of the Valley south of Sacramento is depressing. I didn't see anything pretty .. just ugly town after ugly town. There were obviously no town planners with a vision!
When we left hwy 99 on 140 E the scenery was nice... rolling foothills with grass blowing in the wind and oak trees for contrast. When the wind blows the grass the light gives it every shade of brown, beige, cream.
We are staying in Mariposa at the Miner's Inn... cheap at $69 per night plus tax.
June 2, 2005: Yosemite Valley
We drove from Mariposa to Yosemite Valley in NOT record time. There were several stops in the road due to repaving. We didn't mind the stops because the Merced river was a joy to behold. Jan phrased it "Wild and Scenic" as a travel brochure might say it.
The river is full and running VERY fast. There is white water everywhere and when we stepped out of the car at one of the delays on the road the river was roaring loudly.
Parking was limited due to work being done on the Day Use Parking area. We got there early enough to get a pretty good spot. We walked around the valley floor, oohing and ahhing at the falls and trying find a way across the meadows that was passable. Many of the regular paths were under water.
We made our way to the Village Store and then to the Ahwanee for lunch. Lunch was wonderful and the Ahwanee is still beautiful. The dogwood trees are just about finished, but there are still trees in full bloom.
We meandered back to mariposa, happy to have spent the day in Yosemite Valley.
June 3, 2005: Gold Country
Today is Jan's birthday. Happy b'day, Jan!
We left Mariposa and drove North on Hwy. 49. It was a beautiful drive through the gold country... many miles of twisty roads, wild flowers, oak trees, and old, historic towns (Sonora, Angels Camp, etc.).
There were many stops for road work. It looks like many counties in California are getting road work dollars, but not our Butte county.
It was a good trip. Where to next?