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California Road Trip 2010: Yosemite National Park

Moving on from Joshua Tree and Death Valley, we headed to Yosemite National Park.

I have to say that, whilst the Joshua trees fascinated me with their oddness and Death Valley took my breath away with its weird and other-worldly nature, Yosemite stunned me with its beauty.

The weather was (literally) a breath of fresh air, quite cool in the mornings and evenings but it warmed up during the day – pretty much your perfect summer temperatures.  On our first afternoon, after arriving in Lee Vining, we headed out to the park to orient ourselves and plan the following day and coul dnot get over how many places there were to stop and take in the scenery.

For some reason, the landscape reminded me of Scandinavia (even though I have never been there) – and it was so far removed from the previous days’ experiences that it was hard to believe we were even in the same country.

The following day, we head out early in the crisp cool air to take in some of the “musts” – the view from Olmstead Point:

The giant Sequoia trees in Tuolumne Grove:

(dad providing some perspective on their hugeness)

The trail down to the grove is a couple of steep miles (a loop) and is so gorgeous you might not feel your legs hurting as the day heats up around you:

After this, it was hard to believe that there was still MORE gorgeous scenery, around every bend:

On arriving in Yosemite Valley, we were confronted with the most people we had seen all week (a bit of a shock after the comparative emptiness of Joshua Tree and Death Valley) and promptly headed to the relatively secluded Ahwahnee Hotel for a much needed refreshment. It’s truly magnificent – the architecture, the surroundings and the interior:

Seated outside on the drinks-only portion of the patio (how civilised!), we were joined by a little mate, seeking the cookie mum always seems to have tucked away in her bag. She thought he was cute until he really started going for it…

(yes, Aussies tend to think things like chipmunks, squirrels and raccoons are cute because they don’t have to live with them…)

In any case, we got on with what we were there for.  Neil told me I could not go past this:

(well you know, can’t go past a free carabiner – especially when it’s PINK!)

Cheers. I will for sure be recreating this one at home – it was absolutely perfect. For lunch.

Ahwahnee Dining Room on Urbanspoon

Yosemite’s natural beauty is shared by the surrounding towns and we really enjoyed our two nights in Lee Vining at the delightful Hess House B&B.  Our lovely hostess Vinecia cooked the most delicious apple pancake for us one morning that was unlike anything I have ever tasted and on my list also to experiment with soon:

Apart from our gourmet breakfast, we enjoyed a good old-fashioned American dinner at Bodie Mike’s BBQ.

I mean, with burgers on the menu called things like “Good as Gold” and “Strike it Rich!!!” (yes, three exclamation marks and all!), how could you resist?  This was solid standard diner-type fare at reasonable prices and hit the spot after a long day’s drive.  As well as the burgers, ribs and wings made an appearance as well as the largest piece of (amazingly good) carrot cake ever served.

And when you leave with rib meat still sticking in your teeth, you’re relieved to spot the tooth-pick station on the way out:

Now THAT’S a proper BBQ!

Bodie Mike’s BBQ
Highway 395 & 4th Street
Lee Vining, CA 93541
(760) 647-6432

Bodie Mike's on Urbanspoon

Stay tuned for more Road Trip tales – coming up, Gold Country…

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24 Responses to California Road Trip 2010: Yosemite National Park

  1. Belinda @zomppa August 13, 2010 at 06:35 #

    Gorgeous. I love breakfasts like that! That tree is wow.

  2. penny aka jeroxie August 13, 2010 at 07:07 #

    This place somehow reminds of Tassie? I guess nature has alot ot do with it.

    Love that cocktail ;)

  3. Jenya August 13, 2010 at 08:52 #

    This pie looks absolutely delicious! thank you for such a great story:-)

  4. Martha August 13, 2010 at 12:25 #

    What a beautiful park. Hope to see it next summer!

  5. eatmovelove August 13, 2010 at 13:13 #

    Your blog title got me – it is my DREAMS to write and travel…unfortunately only dreams due to debt…very sad…but your pictures are breath-taking!! What is your Ph.D in?

  6. Adelina August 13, 2010 at 18:23 #

    How beautful! The scenery looks like a painting. I really need to plan on visiting here. Thanks for the inspiration!

  7. Anna Johnston August 13, 2010 at 19:36 #

    The scenery is incredible, your making me want to head on over start my own road trip :) I agree with Adelina, some of your photos look like magical paintings and those trees.. Wow!
    I was one of those Aussies who went all gah gah seeing the little chipmonks & squirrels too, but they can be a touch pesky can’t they…
    Cheers
    Anna

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite August 16, 2010 at 16:31 #

      Yes, I was also ga-ga over the squirrels when I first moved to Canada. Not so much any more. Yes the trees are quite stunning…

  8. Conor @ HoldtheBeef August 14, 2010 at 09:12 #

    I remember thinking that it was pronounced “Yo-seh-might” when I was younger. I wonder if I ever read about Penny-lope going to Yosehmight?

    That apple pancake looks like a damn good way to start the day.

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite August 16, 2010 at 16:30 #

      Well I thought it was Yo-seh-might up until not so long ago!!! The apple pancake needs replicating, that’s for sure!

  9. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction August 15, 2010 at 21:30 #

    Lovely pictures! I remember going to Yosemite with my parents when I was younger… I loved it!

  10. Kim (Liv Life) August 15, 2010 at 23:55 #

    What a beautiful, exceptionally clear day you had!! I’ve been to all those spots many times, from my childhood to my children’s. Loved your post!

  11. Mr. Neil August 17, 2010 at 08:48 #

    Indeed, this was a too-rushed visit of the park: but we packed a lot into our 48 hours. Definitely not the ideal time to visit, in terms of busi-ness. So thank goodness the weather was in fine form.

  12. cat August 17, 2010 at 09:30 #

    gorgeous photos – such a contrast from joshua tree!

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