I recently had the opportunity to visit Fresno as part of the California Raisin Blogger Bunch, which I am thrilled to be a part of. The group of 9 bloggers is diverse, but we all got along wonderfully, and I look so forward to future projects we will all be doing together.
Now, I fully intend to tell you all about the raisin farms, the raisin tastings, the meals, the people, the FOOD, but until I get all of the photos I am waiting for, I’m going to hold off a little bit. Until then, I am going to tell you all about the final day of my trip, when we boarded a bus from Fresno and headed to Yosemite for the day.
When Jon and I first started dating, he was big into spelunking, rappelling, rock climbing…boy stuff. You know the type. He took a couple of trips across the country to backpack several National Parks, he got to see Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon, heck, he even climbed Grand Teton. But Yosemite was one of the places he never made it to. El Capitan has been in my vocabulary for nearly 20 years now. Being an indoor girl though, I never really had any desire to go there.
I assumed Yosemite was a bunch of mountains. Trees. Just another rock face to climb. Nothing much to impress me.
Sweet goodness and mercy, was I ever uninformed.
The trek from Fresno to Yosemite is rather long, winding, and full of really tall pine trees. There’s not a lot to see for a good 45 minutes as you make your way around curve after curve, but once you make one spectacular turn, there it is…
Stunning. Art. Awe inspiring. I heard the words Dear God escape my mouth, without even thinking, it was so spectacular. Pictures? Yes, they are nice, but until you see this in person, you can’t imagine. The trees on the valley floor tower a hundred feet or more into the sky, and the cliff faces are thousands of feet tall. Think about that – El Capitan is over 3000 feet from bottom to top. Over half a mile straight up.
And crazy people want to climb that.
I got sick just looking at it. Which I did a lot of. In fact, after lunch, we stopped and gazed up at that massive rock face and located a couple of tiny climbers, roughly 1/3 of the way up. They looked like ants, and man, did they ever have a long way to go. If you’ve not seen video or photos on how climbers “camp” on the sides of mountains like this, you should. I would never in a million years sleep in an enclosed body-sized tent hanging 2500 feet from certain death.
Thank you very much, I’ll watch from here and then go online shopping at Amazon for some new boots. Seems safer.
As we were there in the fall, the waterfalls were all but dried up. The only one with any water at all was Bridalveil Falls, and even it was a mere shadow of it’s massive self. Beautiful, yes, and very high up – it just makes me want to go back in the spring to see it thundering over the cliff. I bet it’s life changing.
Speaking of life-changing, we had lunch and a tour of the kitchens at the Ahwahnee Lodge, which is one spectacular hotel situated on the valley floor. Surrounded by the walls of the cliffs and pines and meadows, the Ahwahnee is a gorgeous hotel made of rock and wood, full of Native American touches and views from all around.
We ate in the dining room, with a special meal of trout prepared just for our group (and lots of raisin based sides and breads) – a meal I’ll not soon forget. And the kitchens? Wow. Huge. The area for making breads smelled so good that I would like to move in, were it not so hot in there from the massive ovens.
I hope to one day return and stay the night at the lodge, and spend a little extra time in the park. I bet it’s amazing in the winter, with snow on the ground, or in the spring when the flowers are in bloom and the waterfalls are running. I know it was a good time in the fall!
Have you been to Yosemite? When I return, what should I do? Should we stay in the lodge? Camp? Choose another property in the park? Stay outside the park? I need advice!
(For the curious folks, all photos were taken with my iPhone, nothing fancy.)
Have a great weekend!