I’m Alive!

Finally! Both a night to rest and a hotel room with a stable internet connection. Just be ready for a huge entry!

On Wednesday, November 3, my dad and I went down the coast of northern California and hit the Redwood National & State Parks. These trees are absolutely amazing. You really have no idea what you’re missing if you’ve never been. Walking in the middle of trees that are 15+ feet wide and 250+ feet tall is surreal. They just don’t seem natural. But what it really reminded me of was something that would be in Star Wars and run amok with ewoks.

The hard thing about getting pictures of the trees is that first, you almost always have to have a car or person in the frame to keep the scale in perspective. Otherwise everything just looks like a close up shot of a regular tree. And second, there is no such thing as a landscape picture of a redwood. If you want a picture of the tree, your picture is in portrait orientation. So here are some shots that tried to keep the scale of everything.

Yes. That is me inside of a fallen down redwood, in case you were wondering.

And, also, because we managed to get a good jump on the morning, the sun was doing some pretty spectacular things through the trees. I’m getting some pretty amazing shots on this trip but I think this was the best day so far. I just show up, get lucky, and let Mother Nature line everything up for me. Having a good camera helps too!

And for good measure, one more of the most fun picture taken on my trip, by far! I climbed up the seam you can see a lot better in the November 4th entry. That’s at least 15 feet in the air. And another angle of the trees I’m actually standing in.

Our plan after the Redwoods was to try and make Sacramento. But Highway 299 had different plans. If you know me, you know I absolutely love driving in mountain roads. I like the back and forth, the ups and downs. It’s a real life roller coaster, if you’re careful. But what not even I knew was that I would HATE two and a half hours of mountain roads at 35 or 40 mph. So by the time we hit Redding, CA, it was pitch black outside, I was tired, and there was a knot in my back from all of the turning the size of a softball. Goodbye interstate, hello motel!

Thursday the 4th was my 28th birthday! My dad got me two cards (one serious, one lighthearted to fit the traveling occasion), a scenic byways book I’ll definitely be using on the trip back east, an Anchorage vest (which might not be used on the drive back east, given the warmer weather), and a tour book for Boston, which will be used when I go back there! I got a card from my mom. And my grandmother said anything from her is waiting back in South Carolina. Other than the phone calls from family and facebook messages from everyone else, it was a pretty normal day though.

All I got myself was a 6 hour car ride from Redding, CA to Yosemite National Park with my dad as co-pilot.

We got there a little late, but it was enough time to take in some of the sites before everything shut down and got dark. We stopped at the overlook to check out Half Dome. Apparently it’s just as famous as anything else in the park, but I didn’t know that beforehand.

Then we went to check out Bridalveil Falls next. The one thing VERY different about Yosemite than almost anyplace I’ve been so far is that they almost encourage you to go play on the rocks. There are definitely signs everywhere saying that they’re slippery and you could get injured or die. But I didn’t stop to read that far before blazing into the rock beds near the waterfalls. So I actually got some shots that are fairly up close.

What makes a day good? It being my birthday.

What makes a day better? Seeing waterfalls!

What makes a day great? Animals! Up close at that. And not in a zoo!

After playing with the deer, we went to find a campsite to set up shop for the night. It was probably the most crowded campground I’ve been at on the trip. But then again, we were in one of the most popular national parks. And it was full of hippie hikers and climbers. Definitely not the AARP RV crowd I’m used to. But I can now say I spent the first night of my 28th year on the earth under the sky in Yosemite National Park. And that’s a pretty cool claim.

We got up the next morning and grabbed breakfast at the lodge. Very ski-resort-esque. But then we headed out to check out the rest of the park. First on the list were the Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls. And more rocks to go climbing through!

And of course, more animals. This time it was two young bucks fighting!

Back to the landforms! El Capitan was next. Just as a side note, I love saying that name. There’s absolutely no way you can say it with a regular English/American accent. You need the full fledged Spanish accent flowing for it. That’s one huge piece of rock though. Just massive.

And last were just some shots from Yosemite Valley. It was gorgeous this morning, so I think everything turned out great!

That concludes the amazingness that was the Redwoods and Yosemite. It’s getting late here and I have entirely too many pictures and stories to cover San Francisco in this entry too. So it’s going to need its own! Be on the look out tomorrow night or Tuesday morning for it. And everyone enjoy the start to your week!

See ya in 250 to 400 miles! 🙂

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2 Responses to I’m Alive!

  1. You make me want to go there on a trip – even if it is in the granola state, as everyone nicknames California around here. I’m so glad you had a great time. I’m curious about San Francisco. That’s a city I’ve always wanted to visit. Make your next entry a good one!

  2. RMJinAK says:

    This is so neat to relive it again in pictures and in your words. I think this running commentary will mean more to you when you get done and can look back remember than right now when you are experiencing it. As if I had not told you alreay, I had a really GREAT time seeing the amazing sights and sharing your company while doing it! Back here, we had 4 inches of fresh snow overnight and it kept up all day today. Think about that while you go through Death Valley 90+ or whatever degrees.

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