Saturday, April 12, 2014

Big Sur, Yosemite and Eastern Sierra Road Trip from Southern California ( part 2 of 2)

Before I proceed to Day 5, let me share first the summary of days 1- 4 of our Big Sur, Yosemite and Eastern Sierra Road Trip from San Diego, which I shared in part 1 of this series.
Day 1- drove from San Diego to Big Sur
Day 2- explored Big Sur, with hikes at Point Lobos State Park, Garappata State Park, and Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. We also revisited Pfeiffer Beach.
Day 3 - sightseeing drive from Big Sur to San Mateo via coastal highway, with stops at Moss Landing and Santa Cruz. We did very little hiking and sightseeing this day because of very heavy rain.
Day 4- From San Francisco International Airport, we drove to Yosemite National Park and explored some parts of the Valley.

Now, moving to Days 5- 9.

Day 5: Explored some parts of Yosemite Valley, then, hiked to Vernal and Nevada Falls.
El Capitan @ Yosemite Valley
hike to Vernal and Nevada Fall via John Muir Trail

Vernal and Nevada Fall is considered to be the signature hike in Yosemite National Park. The Park ranger said that if we only have time for one hike, then, Vernal and Nevada Fall must it be, especially that these two waterfalls can't be seen at all from the Valley Floor. I've done this hike before, but it was summer 2008. The trail climbs 2000 ft in 3.5 miles. I believe the early summer hike was a lot better than our hike this year, which was in between periods of snow. I was counting how many times I was hit by a snowball that were falling from trees. But it is not the rough, icy and slippery conditions that made me think the summer hike to Vernal and Nevada Falls was a lot better, it was the closure of Mist Trail. The mist from waterfalls that still turns to snow because of freezing temperatures makes the Mist trail not safe this time of the year. I was a bit disappointed not to see the beauty of Vernal Fall face to face, but only from the footbridge.

A few days before our trip, the weather forecast does not look nice in Yosemite, however, when I called for a change of date, I could not change dates without paying for 2 nights lodging, because of 7-days cancellation policy in Yosemite. We did not want to pay for something without us enjoying it, thus, we just came prepared. We brought with us tire chains ( required in California for mountainous icy driving ), ice trekkers for icy hiking and hiking poles.  The ice trekkers and hiking poles really helped us a lot since the trails past Vernal Fall footbridge started to become snow covered, some parts very icy, and getting icier to the top. 

Please visit my previous post about hiking Vernal and Nevada Fall if you want to learn more details of this hike. Though I may write about this trail again, for a spring or icy hike, since the last time we hiked this trail was summer 2008. 

Day 6: Hike Upper Yosemite Falls Trail, then, drove to Bakersfield after.
 Yosemite Falls from the Valley

More than 90% of the tourists in Yosemite see Yosemite Falls from the Valley floor only. A small portion of the visitors would take the hike up Upper Yosemite Falls trail to be up close with the falls. Upper Yosemite Falls hike is a giant stairmaster, the trail climbs 2600 ft in 3.8 miles. It is like climbing to the top of Empire State building via stairs not just once but more than twice. But unlike climbing stairs in a building, the hike up is surrounded by gorgeous scenery around. 

Like our hike in Vernal and Nevada Falls, the trail was getting icier and icier towards the top. Getting up close to the thundering power of Yosemite Falls and seeing the Valley below instead of looking up high from the Valley is worth the climb.
Upper Yosemite Falls Trail

More about Upper Yosemite Falls in my later post.

Day 7: From Bakersfield, we drove to Lone Pine, in the Eastern Sierra ( Yosemite Valley is in the Western Sierra). Explored Alabama Hills and Manzanar National Historical Site.
 Fun At Alabama Hills

This was a fun day. More of fun and relaxing hikes rather than challenging hikes. Alabama Hills is perfect place to just have fun! And the contrast of snow capped mountain peaks and desert valley in the Eastern Sierra is something that really amazes me. 
revisiting history at Manzanar National Historical Site

Please visit my previous post on Remembering Manzanar, to learn more about this historical site.

Day 8: Explored a little bit f Bishop Creek Canyon, Mammoth Lakes, Hot Creek Geological Site in Mammoth Lakes, and Mono Lake.
Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountain @ sunrise, Bishop Creek Canyon, Twin Lakes @ Mammoth Lakes and Hot Creek Geological Site

For this day, I guess we were tired of hiking in uncertainty coz snow was heavily falling again in the trail we were supposed to take at North Lake in Bishop Creek Canyon. We had enough of icy hikes in Yosemite that we decided to focus more on the desert side of Eastern Sierra. 
Mono Lake

Day 9: Hiked Panum Crater in Mono Lake, then, drove back to San Diego. 
Panum Crater Hike
 roadside beauty in the Eastern Sierra, Hwy 395
 roadside beauty in the Eastern Sierra, June Lake Loop

We had so much fun in this trip, now, we are back to home sweet San Diego. 
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  1. Betchai, your pictures are breathtaking! Mountains have an amazing pull, that is irresistibly tempting for most people, including me. Thanks to you, I can feel them live, this is a paradise. I wish you get to do the summer hike to Vernal and Nevada Falls and see the Mist trail and bring them live here for us to savor very soon. :)

  2. wow nevada falls looks amazing! you have such a nice life going around and exploring the world! I would love to have and experience that too!

  3. The colors, the memories of every journey, yeah the joys of life! My dream Nevada Falls, your photos are indeed breathtaking!

  4. the closer you get to the mountain the more it is breathtaking...the roadside beauty in the Eastern Sierra, Hwy 395 is also a great place to see the wonderful mountain views

  5. I am always so green with envy each time you take me for a virtual tour, 'Te Betchai! I could only wish I was there too! Hopefully, I could get to experience to wander the world and enjoy nature at its best the same way you did. There's no shadow of a doubt that you really had fun in all your treks.

    BTW, I love how you did the photo presentation. Please let me know how you've been doing it, Te Betchai. Blogging entails not only a very good command of the language to articulately express oneself but it also needs a lot of patience in formatting all of the photos to its desired size and order. It shows how much you have of that because of the very well laid out photo presentation. All photos are stunning! It reminds me again to start fiddling with my DSLR so that I could learn to capture similar breathtaking photographs :-)

  6. Sis Betchai, I envy your photography skills. Post card level!

  7. what an awesome adventure despite the freezing weather! I miss going to Yosemite. It's been awhile. I've been wanting to hike up to half dome.

  8. Its more than3 months since I've last visited your blog, Betchai... I really miss going with you on a virtual tour of lovely places. Awesome photos as always dear.

  9. Mommy Betchai your so blessed to see these beautiful creations by God. Naiinggit talaga ako, hopefully I can visit these places too.

  10. Oh Betchai, I wish I had your energy! I love seeing sights like those but if would have the chance to do so, I would probably be in an ATV. haha. Thanks for sharing your beautiful photos. Love them everytime!

  11. speechless! promise! i so love the photos especially Yosemite Falls from the feels good to be with nature for sure.

  12. Amazing! Breathtaking!

    It's SUPERT WOW!

    I really like to see the rocky mountain formation with snow caps.

    What a great journey, indeed!

  13. The snow makes the mountain more beautiful and indeed! breath taking view :-) Thank you for sharing these amazing pictures of your State Sis :-) I really learn new places :-)

  14. These are amazing views Ate Beth, I would be very thrilled to hike in there even on freezing Winter.

  15. Beautiful! But it is a lot better to hike in Yosemite during summer as they can see the full beauty of nature. :)