.All Trips / California / North America / Southwestern USA

Majestic Yosemite Falls!

00 Yosemite Falls (2)

At a height of more than 2,425 ft (739 m), Yosemite Falls is the highest waterfall in Yosemite National Park and even one of the tallest waterfalls in the world. It can be seen from many vantages in the park. I’m especially fond of this view from across the valley, although the perspective from Glacier Point is also pretty terrific.
Yosemite Falls is a popular attraction, especially in May-June when it’s at peak flow from the melting snow pack in the Sierra Nevada mountains, as it was when we visited this past spring.

View of Yosemite Falls from Valley Floor

View of Yosemite Falls from Valley Floor


Yosemite Falls is actually made up of three separate falls:
1) Upper Yosemite Fall (1,430 feet) comprises half of the fall’s vertical drop.   The upper fall is formed by the waters …

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.All Trips / California / North America / Southwestern USA

Yosemite National Park’s historic Cemetery

00 Yosemite Cemetery

I’ve traveled to Yosemite National Park at least a dozen times in my life, always enjoying each visit, but it was not until my latest visit that I discovered it had a small historic cemetery in it.  
Yosemite Cemetery (also known as Pioneer Cemetery) is located in Yosemite Village, near the Yosemite Museum.  It’s quite secluded and peaceful, shaded by cedars and surrounded by a low split-rail fence.  The graves were originally scattered throughout the park but after President Lincoln signed the bill creating Yosemite National Park into law, the remains were collected into this small cemetery.

Pioneer Cemetery, Yosemite National Park

Pioneer Cemetery, Yosemite National Park


It’s interesting to stroll through and read the grave markers for people who died here, many of whom played important roles in the development …

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“Pic of the Week”, August 28, 2020: Dogwood, Yosemite National Park

00 Dogwood Yosemite

When I make plans to visit California’s Yosemite National Park I target my trip for mid-to-late May.  Mostly this is because the snow melt in the Sierra Nevada Mountains is at its peak and the park’s waterfalls are overflowing and amazing.
A second reason for a late spring arrival is to see the dogwoods bloom.  There are two types of dogwoods: 1) a small ground plant (not the one I’m talking about) and, 2) trees that grow up to 30 feet tall having flowers about 3 inches wide.
Yosemite has many mountain dogwoods which are beautiful in bloom, as you can see.  Dogwoods are especially plentiful around the Merced River in Yosemite Valley, but are quite common along most of the park …

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Karl on | Comments Off on “Pic of the Week”, August 28, 2020: Dogwood, Yosemite National Park
.All Trips / California / North America / Southwestern USA

Magnificent Mt. Shasta, California

00 Mt. Shasta 13

One of the most memorable drives I’ve done in recent years is the road that stretches between Klamath Falls, Oregon, and Mount Shasta in Northern California.  Route 97 heads southwest towards the ever looming presence of majestic Mount Shasta, one of the prettiest mountains anywhere.  
We did this drive last month and the views of that beautiful peak were one of the highlights of our trip.  It was a clear day and Mt Shasta was visible for more than an hour. We stopped frequently for photos because we were worried the peak might disappear the closer we got because of hills obstructing our view, but that was not the case; some of these images are interspersed with this narrative, each subsequent …

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.All Trips / California / North America / Southwestern USA

A Day at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

San Diego Zoo Safari (1)

The San Diego Zoo Safari Park is found near Escondido, California, about a half hour’s drive northeast of San Diego and its world famous San Diego Zoo.  
I’ve visited the San Diego Zoo Safari Park about a half dozen times in the past 35 years and really enjoyed every visit.  When we first came to the park decades ago the place was known as San Diego Wild Animal Park, but in 2010 the name was changed because some people were apparently getting it and the zoo confused.  This is not the zoo — it’s where you can go on a (sort-of) safari.  But at either place you’ll have the chance to see a large quantity and variety of …

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“Pic of the Week”, July 3, 2020: Snow Plant, California

Snow Plants, Yosemite (2)

The only place I’ve ever seen snow plant is on the western (wetter) slopes of California’s Sierra Nevada mountains, especially in Yosemite National Park.  It’s hard to miss seeing snow plant if its there, as it’s bright red and stands out against the melting snow and tree litter in which it grows. 
Some interesting facts about snow plant:
1) It’s a bright fleshy red plant (herb) of the Indian-pipe family, usually 15-30 cm (under a foot) tall
2) It grows in high-altitude conifer forests of California, Nevada and Oregon (generally between 1000 – 3000 m altitude)
3) It derives its nourishment from soil fungi attached to the roots of pine trees, and does not need sunlight to survive
4) It usually pops out in late …

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Karl on | Comments Off on “Pic of the Week”, July 3, 2020: Snow Plant, California

“Pic of the Week”, June 7,2019: Conservation Carousel, San Diego Zoo Safari Park

San Diego Zoo Safari (56)

My wife and I share an affection for carousels.  She’s in love with carousel horses (we have one standing in our entryway).  I have a greater interest in a larger variety of carousel animals.

So you can see from these images that the lovely carousel in San Diego’s Zoo Safari Park really appealed to me.  It’s themed “conservation carousel” and contains 60 mostly rare and endangered animals that can take you for a ride.  An appropriate menagerie of critters for this terrific family travel-friendly destination.

(Click on thumbnails to enlarge, right arrow to advance)

Karl on | Comments Off on “Pic of the Week”, June 7,2019: Conservation Carousel, San Diego Zoo Safari Park
.All Trips / California / North America / Southwestern USA

Remarkable Sequoia National Park

Sequoia National Park 6-90 017. Congress Trail

Going back through my travel records, I was surprised to find that it’s been almost 20 years since I last visited Sequoia National Park — my, how time flies.  I’m glad I spent a lot of time exploring this park during the 1980s and 1990s because it’s a special place.

Sequoia NP was about a 4 hour drive from our home in Southern California (under ideal traffic conditions– often more like 5 or 6 hours) and was one of the easiest to reach natural destinations near us, so we visited it almost every year.  The park spans over 400,000 acres so it’s impossible to see it all.  It’s part of the UNESCO Sequoia-Kings Canyon Biosphere Reserve (1976).

What’s so special about the park?  Lots, to be sure …

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