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Published: June 25th 2017
Geo: 39.5245, -119.812
Today began at 8 AM and 70 degrees under clear blue skies. And it was a perfect day for what we had planned. We left Mariposa and headed for Yosemite National Park. We were here three years ago and only got to the south side of the park. So we decided to drive west to east, thru the park and out the other side, crossing the Sierra Mountains and seeing areas of the park we had not seen. We drove through Sierra National Forest, along the Merced River, deep in a canyon, for over an hour. The scenery was spectacular. The hills were yellow with rock faces poking out of them and the roads in places were lined with trees…soft wood and hard wood…at times creating a canopy over the road, shielding us from the early morning sun. In places there were huge rocks hanging over the road, balanced precariously on ledges, threatening to fall but still secure in place.
The river is not rushing as it did last time we were here, but that was in May and California was not suffering a serious drought. The river had water in it, but mostly we saw rocks. I will opine
that this park is way more rocky than Rocky Mountain NP ever dreamed of being. The canyon walls are mostly limestone, cracked by weather and age, and pieces of the wall faces have broken off in huge chunks and fallen into the canyon. I am not only talking about rocks and boulders, but some of these pieces are as big as a house. And some have fallen into the river bed below. One part of the road has been blocked for years where a rock slide destroyed it and temporary bridges had to be built to move traffic around it. They are still working on it, as they were three years ago.
Inside the park we located the highway that crosses through and found ourselves climbing in elevation as we went. Ultimately we reached over 11K ft. before landing on the other side. After we reached 5K ft., we began to see redwoods…so strong and formidable in place, surrounded by other more vulnerable trees. They live in a suit of armor that protects them from harm and allows them to live a very long life.
Nearing the east side of the park we enjoyed the views of Mono Lake, surrounded by
the Sierras, deep blue in color, still and calm, reflecting images on its surface of the trees and mountains around it. And then we were out of the park and in Inyo National Forest where the trees became more sparse and the topography became desert-like, with yellow hay and silver sage stealing any water that happened to fall on them.
Heading for Reno, we drove through small towns where you could make purchases at the General Store, stay at Ruby's Inn or the Redwood Motel, and buy groceries at Buster's Market. Smaller than one-light towns, they exuded a charm of the west…rural, peaceful and quaint.
We drove through Carson City, and stopped to snap a few photos of the capitol building before completing our drive in Reno. We checked into our hotel around 4 PM…no upgrade today, just the room we reserved. Tomorrow we head for Salt Lake City
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