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San Francisco, Sonoma County, Yosemite 7/2009

VTskiDiva

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#1
In July of 2009 my DH and I went out to California to visit some friends and go to Yosemite. We spent a weekend in San Francisco where some friends live. They showed us around the city a little. The first evening when we arrived, we visited the financial district and went to the bar at the top of the Bank of America Building where you can see out over the city and the bay. It was a nice view. We went at sundown and watched the sun set and fog roll in over the city. Then we went to an awesome German Beer Hall, Schroeder's, for some YUMMY German Beer(my fav!) and appetizers. For dinner we went to House of Nanking and I had the BEST Chinese food I have ever had. The next day we did some sightseeing and rode a cable car down to the wharf. Checked things out around the piers and did a bar crawl.



View from the cable car down to the bay. You can see Alcatraz in the distance.



We watched some seals fighting on the pier.


Sunday we drove up to Sonoma County for some wine tasting and to celebrate my friend's birthday! It was a sunny (go figure its Cali!) and VERY hot day. We visited Iron Horse Vineyards first. Their tasting room is set way back off the main road on the top of a hill. The views were fantastic!



View from Iron Horse tasting room.

We then visited C. Donatiello Winery. A friend of ours from here in Virginia has a brother who works there and told us about it. He unfortunately was out of town the week we were there though so we didnt get to see him. Their wine is EXCELLENT and their tasting room is VERY unique. They have tiered herb, aroma, flower and tasting gardens around the building. They grow fruit in some of the garden and since they don't spray pesticides they encourage tasting the fruit right of the vine :eyebrows:. I had some delicious strawberries, an apple and a pear. Very nice! I HIGHLY recommend visiting this winery if you are in Sonoma County. Its not as well known as some of the other wineries in the area but their wine is excellent and the gardens are really beautiful.



View of C Donatiello's tasting room.

After visting our friends for the weekend we left to spend a few days in Yosemite! I have literally about a thousand pictures from Yosemite so it was VERY hard to limit it to a few for this forum! We drove from San Fran to Yosemite which took about 3 hours (if I remember correctly). On our way in to the park we stopped and did a short hike to the Merced Grove of Redwoods. There wasnt anyone else on the trail that day and it was very peaceful. We got to the redwoods (and it was my first time seeing them) and I was amazed! They are so big and beautiful. You get such a peaceful and calm feeling when you are around them. Just amazing! :smile: We then continued our drive into the Yosemite Valley. If you have never been there, there is really no way to describe the beauty of the place. We stopped every so often and took pictures. Then we did a short hike to Bridal Veil Falls before we checked in to our camp site in the valley ;) That night almost as soon as we laid down to go to sleep there was a rumble that shook the valley. We were told there was a rockslide nearby! Then later on we heard someone screaming because they saw a bear and promptly heard the rangers chasing it off! hehe



View of Yosemite Valley (El Capitan on the left foreground, bridal veil falls on the right, and half dome in the distance)

We got up early the next day and did a LONG hike up the Mist Trail to Nevada Falls and then back down via the John Muir Trail. Amazing views everywhere!



Nevada Falls from the John Muir Trail

After a late lunch we relaxed a bit and did some site seeing in the valley. We then drove up towards Glacier Point and stopped to do a short hike to Taft Point. The point looks out into the valley with a very sudden drop off of 3,200 feet! It was kind of scary for me when my DH was on his stomach taking pictures over the edge! After that we drove to Glacier point for the sunset.



Nevada Falls from Glacier Point (zoomed alot)

We were a bit worn out from all the hiking the day before so we made the next day a driving day. We first checked out the Ahwahnee Hotel in the valley and had some brunch. Its a very nice hotel and should we ever go back and dont want to camp, I would like to stay there. Then we drove up along the Tioga Road through the whole park. We stopped at Olmstead Point for some pictures. Then stopped at Tenya Lake and hung out on the beach for a little while. We continued on past Tolumne Meadows (my favorite part of the park I think) and over Tioga pass and out of the park. We saw Mono Lake, which was very interesting. My DH complained of the smell. We hopped on 395 South and headed to Mammoth Lakes. We checked in to our hotel and went for some Sushi for dinner, yum!

The next day we drove back up into the park and did some hikes around Tolumne Meadows. Its a beautiful high alpine meadow with the Tolumne River running through it. We spent a couple hours around the Meadow taking in the beauty, taking pictures and watching some wildlife. Then we headed to our campsite.



Tolumne Meadows



Tolumne Meadows

We spent our last morning in the Mariposa Grove of Redwoods. We saw all of the 'famous' named trees, The Grizzly Giant, The Bachelor and three Graces, The Clothespin Tree, The Tunnel Tree, etc. Just amazing!



This is a picture of the "Clothespin Tree". If you look closely you will see a small spec standing underneath...thats me!hehe

After we were done hiking in the grove we made the drive back to San Fran. Ended up missing the first BART train from our friend's place to the airport which made us 15 minutes too late to check our bags so we missed our plane back to Richmond! We had to rebook our flight! But ended up getting back just a few hours after we were supposed to. Overall it was a very good trip. Wish I could post more of my pictures!
 

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