After the wine country we started climbing upwards towards Yosemite. The countryside here is made up of huge ranches which looked parched.
The last settlement before Yosemite itself
Our lodging was in the next door valley to Yosemite, there's not many people around...
Until you get to our wood cabin based resort
The place had pretty cool wood carved playgrounds dotted around.
And a very good sized pool
On our first day there we drove down to Yosemite, here you can make out Half Dome in the distance
El Capitan - totally crazy that people regularly climb up this shear cliff.
The local wildlife did not seem concerned about us
The granite cliffs are really dramatic!
A glacial erratic? Rather liked the way the tree has grown in and around it.
On recommendation, we hiked up to the Carlon river, to it's waterfalls. It was a little strenuous (Ali swore at me a lot) but in the end we had this pool all to ourselves for a picnic and a swim, it was fantastic.
Yosemite has a sister valley (Hetch Hetchy) which was controversially converted into a reservoir to provide clean water to San Francisco. Unlike Yosemite which was crammed full of people we pretty much had these views to ourselves - in 2hrs we saw under 10 people.
Hydroelectricity in action
Despite the amazing scenery we came out really disappointed with Yosemite it did not feel good at all. Not sure what this was down to, perhaps the drought they're having or perhaps the huge forrest fires that had recently run through near where we stayed, but it seemed like nature was dying/under threat. Either way were really happy to leave the area.
Writing this blog several months later and looking at the photos, it looked like we had a really a good time seeing amazing stuff, when in fact we really din't enjoy it. I guess it shows what a photogenic place it is.
For anyone thinking of going a couple of bits of advice: Stay in the valley itself, it's a long drive in otherwise. Check that the giant sequoia area is open (it wasn't when we were there). In July/August/Sep the rivers run completely dry so forget seeing the normally impressive waterfalls (particularly during the drought they're having at the moment). To get away from the crowds Hetch Hetchey is fantastic.