Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Easter Weekend in Yosemite

For Easter weekend, I took a trip to Yosemite with Krissy and friends from my undergraduate years. We left Berkeley on Friday at around noon or 12:30pm and started driving out to the park.

Yosemite is about 3.5 hours away... past Livermore, past Modesto, past Merced... We just made one quick pit-stop on the way down and we didn't get caught in any crazy Easter weekend traffic.

When we got to our campsite at Lower Pines, it was a little chilly, but the sun was still up. We got our tents pitched and I snapped a picture of Half Dome.

It was pretty overcast and it but at least we could see Half Dome :) Last time I was in Yosemite, the weather wasn't so cooperative.

The next morning, the weather cleared up quite a bit and we were able to see Half Dome from our tent:


On Saturday morning, after eating breakfast, we headed up to the Upper Yosemite Falls trailhead and began making our way up to the top:


We had some time to goof off along the way too:

Halfway up the trail you can see the Upper Waterfall pretty clearly:
The mist from the waterfall freezes overnight and deposits on the sides... The bus driver that drove us from our camp to the start of the trail told us that the technical name for it is "Frazil Ice".

A couple hours and a few miles later, we were at the top:


Along the way down, I got some pictures of Half Dome. You couldn't see it from the very top of the falls, but this is what we saw:


At night we had a good meal and we ate lots of marshmallows :) I tried to sit still for 20 seconds at the campfire while everyone else was moving around:


The next day we took a much shorter walk to the Lower Falls view spot before leaving the valley:


The hike from the valley floor to the top of the Upper Yosemite Falls is 3.5 miles long and it has an elevation change of 2500 feet. The hike took us about 6.5 hours round trip with breaks. The Lower Falls trail, in contrast, is only about a 5-10 minute walk.

On our way out, we stopped by the Tunnel View Vista and I snapped this shot of the valley:


Overall the trip was excellent and I'd love to go back and get more shots of Yosemite.
My little Jetta managed to squeeze out 31.6 miles per gallon :) Which was super good considering it was fully loaded and had a full camper shell on top of it.

Over the summer, I'm going to try to build a telescope, and hopefully take it somewhere cool so that I can take some cool astrophotography shots.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Tilden Hike with Pascal (posting a little late)

Pascal and I went on a hike through Tilden Park last weekend to look for critters. We were looking for newts, salamanders and snakes and bugs and whatnot.

The first critter we came across was a banana slug:


We romped around a bunch of poison oak:


Lifting up logs and rocks, we found a couple skinny salamanders:


We also saw some lizards running around:


and some gnarly bark:


And most cute of all, a little turtle!





There was a turkey, some pigs, goats, and other random animals at the Tilden Petting zoo.



It was a great hike/walk and I think I'll have to explore more places for more new critters!