A cable car ride to Fisherman’s Wharf is on every tourist’s to do list for San Francisco and why not?! It’s history, it’s charming, it’s a tour and you see a lot of the city. I’ll never tire of the cable car!
This trip was special. On this trip I was joined not only by my daughters Courtney and Kelsey but also by my wife Beth! When the lure is San Francisco and it’s snowy cold back home then I guess they can be coaxed.
They came in two waves toward the end of my time at TechShop. Continue reading
Throughout the park are sites named “Flat” or “Meadow” but finding the level spot can be almost impossible. At Tuolumne it was plain as day as the meadows run flat and level and ran very wide.
Tuolumne Meadows is highest easily-accessible area of the park. It’s so high that half the year it’s closed because the roads are impassible due to snow. My last full day was spent in these meadows where glaciers staged themselves for the carving ride down into the valley. Good timing too. It was the Visitors Center’s last day open and all the gift shop items were on sale at 50% off!
What makes Tuolumne Meadows special has to do with its terrain and its elevation. This is the largest flat space in Yosemite and very high at 8600 feet. Still sub-Alpine, trees and grasses grow abundantly and crystal-clear rivers gently flowed through meadows and forests. It was a peaceful place where after visiting you feel refreshed.
My favorite spots were bridges along the Lyell Fork of Tuolumne River. The water there is perfectly clear. The air is crisp and dry. The trees stand tall and strong agains the coming winter. It’s a special place. In addition the path I hiked was part of the Pacific Coast Trail which next to the Appalachian Trail is probably the long-haul trail which most interests me.
Below you’ll see pictures taken along my hike and around the meadows. Continue reading
Just look at this outdoor girl. She’s all decked out in boots, hiking clothes from head to toe and a bladder pack filled with water and munchies. This girl is set to hike!
Kelsey’s flight to Anchorage was days away after which this girl with no backpacking experience was going to spend a month in backcountry Alaska. We were nearing the end of our “toughening her up” agenda and mixing it up with a little variety of location. Most of our training had been up Old Rag but after many ascents, variety was called for. Harpers Ferry was today’s answer.
Hiking around this little gem pulls lots of fun stuff together. There’s a section of the Appalachian Trail to be hiked. There are three states to tread in: VA, MD and WV. There is a National Park with great exhibits and services. There are wonderful vistas from the hills on all sides above the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers. And there’s a wonderful little town with shops, history, and sites worth visiting such as the AT HQ and Storer College, America’s first black university. While weather could have been better, we faired well.
As you can see below, we liked the view so much from a Maryland cliff looking across to Harpers Ferry in WV and the mountains of Virginia that we took two vanity pictures. Enjoy!
How can San Francisco be made to look small? Take a picture from far away, from way up high, and use a long lens. From atop Mount Tamalpias in Marin County, the City can become just a feature.
Beth talks fondly about Mt. Tamalpias from the days before we married. She lived and worked for a time in Marin County just north of San Francisco. While climbing Mt Tam has been (and remains) on my list of things to do, I did drive up today and took the short hike around the peak.
The reason I didn’t hike it today was for lack of a trail. For a short few years there existed a tourist train which made the steep ascent via many switch backs up to the peak. It railway started service in 1896 but by 1930 was closed due to a tragic fire that burned down the facility, competition from the new fangled automotive, and the onset of the Great Depression. However, the path of the original tracks exists to be hiked and next time I’ll find them! Continue reading
The Ferry Building sits at the end of Market Street in San Francisco and has been the primary fixture of the Embarcadero forever. The clock tower highlights it on the waterfront. Behind is the Bay Bridge.
Special things stand out and catch your eye. If it’s a tower on top of a hill then it grabs your attention any time you’re near by. Coit Tower is such a place and it stood within easy walking distance of where I disembarked from Alcatraz.
Coit Tower stands in Pioneer Park atop Telegraph Hill in San Francisco. (For me, that last sentence was loaded with place names from my youth.)
The tower itself was built with a $100,000 donation from Lillie Hitchcock Coit to be used by the city to beautify San Francsico. The interior of the tower is lined with 1930s paintings promoting California agriculture; the work was funded by the WPA to support the arts during the Depression. I’m not sure the tower ever served much of a practical purpose but it certainly achieves its funder’s ambition. It is beautiful and views from the top are remarkable. A tiny elevator takes a few people at a time to the observation level and below are examples of what can be seen.
For a long time I’ve known about the Monarch migration to Guadalajara in Mexico. However, it turns out that Monarchs west of the Rockies head to Pismo Beach where I went and saw thousands!
Normally I drop into a rut when I drive up the California coast: relax, enjoy becomes hurry up, running late. To reset where my rhythm kicks in I reached the coast via a new route. Now I had the luxury of suffering the same pattern but starting at a different spot on the coast.
Back when we lived in Los Angeles, Beth and I talked about living in San Luis Obispo some day. Why? It’s not too complicated an answer. SLO lies along the glorious stretch of California coast, has a large enough population to have all necessary services and benefits from having a local university: Cal Poly. Continue reading
Before and after Rainier I visited with family. The Pacific Northwest is where my heart calls home and I have more relatives in the area than you can shake a stick at. I’ve tried!
Great Hike: Sourdough Ridge
I had only finished my second hike and I knew that it was “The One”. At a starting point of 6,400 feet, twice the height of my favorite hike in Shenandoah, my hike took me upwards. Easy destinations can take you to 7,000 or 7,200 feet. Me? I climbed to 6,800 feet and ambled along a path called Sourdough Ridge. The word “ridge” in this case is key because at these altitudes you can see forever in many directions. I could look south to Mt. Saint Helens and Mt. Hood or north to snowcapped mountains in Canada. On a day such as today, what I could see was astounding. No doubt, my One Great Hike for Rainier is this hike in the Sunrise Area of the park.
The scarred landscape of Badlands National Monument is something I cannot drive past, I must drive through. Besides, this time I had morning light and the Visitor Center was open!
Great Hike: Mammoth Hot Springs.
I can already tell that I have big problem with my theme: “One Great Hike Each.” Within U.S. National Parks pretty much every hike is great. For instance, in my one day in Yellowstone I went on three serious hikes. Each was remarkable in it’s own way. From past visits to Yellowstone I know this to be true of other hikes as well. Suffice to say I’m sticking with the theme and will simply explain my selection.