Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Wonders Of The Golden West Part 9...

Leaving Fresno behind we journeyed north travelling 22 miles through the San Joaquin Valley, called 'The Food Basket Of The World', which produces the majority of the 12.8% of the United States' agricultural production (as measured by dollar value) that comes from California.  Our first stop was was Murray Family Farms

to have morning coffee, sample their home-grown produce and buy some fruit, nuts and other supplies to eat at our next stop for lunch.

Back on the road again we were soon enjoying the sights leading to Yosemite National Park.

 Yosemite is a magnificent seven-mile long glacial valley.   About 10 million years ago, the Sierra Nevada was uplifted and then tilted to form its relatively gentle western slopes and the more dramatic eastern slopes. The uplift increased the steepness of stream and river beds, resulting in the formation of deep, narrow canyons. About 1 million years ago, snow and ice accumulated, forming glaciers at the higher alpine meadows that moved down the river valleys. Ice thickness in Yosemite Valley may have reached 4,000 feet (1,200 m) during the early glacial episode. The downslope movement of the ice masses cut and sculpted the U-shaped valley that attracts so many visitors to its scenic vistas today.

Once in the park itself we boarded the Yosemite Tram, for a two hour sightseeing tour of the valley with a ranger guide pointing out Yosemite's most famous sightseeing points, and describing the history, geology, plant and animal life of the Park.

Magnificent cliffs

El Capitan a prominent granite cliff that looms over Yosemite Valley, is one of the most popular rock climbing destinations in the world because of its diverse range of climbing routes in addition to its year-round accessibility.  There were people climbing the face of El Capitan whilst we were there.

El Capitan

and waterfalls cascading down the cliff walls, such as Bridalveil Fall.

 The Ahwahneechee tribe believed that Bridalveil Fall was home to a vengeful spirit named Pohono which guarded the entrance to the valley, and that those leaving the valley must not look directly into the waterfall lest they be cursed. They also believed that inhaling the mist of Bridalveil Fall would improve one's chances of marriage. Bridalveil Fall is 188 metres (617 ft) and flows year round,, though you will notice from the photo above there wasn't much water flowing whilst we were there.

The Ahwahneechee tribe lived in Yosemite Valley when the first non-indigenous people entered it.  The The California Gold Rush in the mid-19th century dramatically increased white travel in the area. United States Army Major Jim Savage led the Mariposa Battalion into the west end of Yosemite Valley in 1851 while in pursuit of around 200 Ahwahneechees led by Chief Tenaya as part of the Mariposa Wars.  Tenaya and the rest of the Ahwahneechee were eventually captured and their village burned; they were removed to a reservation near Fresno.

I will let the photos of Yosemite speak for it's beauty, though I don't think they do it justice by any means. Imagine what it was like for the Ahwahneechee indians living in such a beautiful place, only to be forcibly removed by the white men who invaded their homeland.

For me the most spectacular view of all - Tunnel View

It looks like a painted back-drop doesn't it?   I can assure you it is real!

Our two hour trip through the valley was over all too quickly and it was time to take a walk through the park to see if we could spot any wildlife.   Wildlife species typically found in valley include Black bear, Bobcat, Cougar, Gray Fox, Mule Deer, Mountain Kingsnake, White-headed Woodpecker, Spotted Owl and a wide variety of bat species.  Walking along the path through the park we heard a rustling in the brush and were surprised (and relieved to find it wasn't a bear) to see this bobcat.

It was quite unconcerned about being so close to humans!  We also got quite close to some Mule Deer.

After a picnic lunch it was time to leave the beauty of Yosemite heading for our next stop for the evening.

We passed through Groveland, home to the oldest Saloon in California, The Iron Door Saloon.

The Iron Door was built in the California Gold Country sometime before 1852. It was first called the "Granite Store", perhaps because the front and back walls are made of solid granite blocks. The sidewalls are made of "shist" rock and mortar and the roof consists of three feet of sod, covered by tin.The iron doors on the front of the saloon today are the same ones originally fitted

Leaving Groveland behind we travelled Route 49 that passes through many historic mining communities of the 1849 California gold rush. Highway 49 is numbered after the "49ers", the waves of immigrants who swept into the area looking for gold.

Then into Sonora

where we were staying for the night.

After quickly freshning up, we had a lovely meal at  Emberz Restaurant

before having a walk around.

before calling in the Iron Horse Lounge for a nightcap with some fellow travellers

then back to the hotel for a good night's sleep.   I hope you will join me for Wonders Of The Golden West Part 10 where we visit Lake Tahoe.


Pam J. said...

yay! i think i'm gonna be the first to comment provided i don't get super long-winded and someone beats me to it lol but, i actually live in san joaquin county. yosemite is a couple of hours from me. you managed to see animals and everything. steve and i went there for a weekend getaway. stayed at a beautiful bed and breakfast just outside of the park. we also went into groveland, but we didn't do much there. i wish i had gotten to see the animals and take pics like you did. as for murray farms, i think we actually stopped there on our way home from a 'busted' yosemite trip w the kids. showboat had a baseball game in sonora, so we stayed the night at the best western there...which, btw, was a very nice hotel for a best western. our plan was to go to yosemite the next day. there was just too much snow, and they were only letting people in with snow chains. we didn't have any, and my husband didn't want to buy any just for the day. we do plan to try and go again with the kids, but we need to do it before it snows! lol btw sonora is pretty, but it's a little strange there lol

Akelamalu said...

Oh you're so lucky to live so close to Yosemite Pam, I'd be there every weekend if I lived so close. We felt so blessed to have seen the animals so close. We stayed at Inns of California in Sonora, which was OK and had stayed at Best Western in Fresno. Sonora is definitely 'a little strange'- like duelling banjos strange! LOL

Flowerpot said...

what an amazing time you had Ak!

Akelamalu said...

We did indeed Flowerpot! We're very lucky.

G-Man said...

I see you found a Saloon OK...hehe

Finding Pam said...

Beautiful photos of your trip.

Banker Chick said...

I have never seen bridal veil falls because we always went i late summer and it was all dried up. The pictures you see in the park indicate it is a fantastic waterfall. We took our Serbian son in law camping there and he was impressed with the views but not with camping. He said he would stay at the Ahwahnee Hotel, next time. We had lunch at the old Wawona hotel.

Ron said...

What spectacular photos of both El Capitan AND Tunnel View. They're spectacular! Love the one of you and MWM with Tunnel View in the background. It almost looks as though it's a painting.

Also, I love your photos of the wildlife. Wow...I can't believe you got that close!

So interesting to read about Bridalveil Fall.

Once again, m' shared an awesome tour! Looking forward to part 10!


Valerie said...

Yosemite did speak for itself, Pearl, the views are spectacular. And seeing the wildlife is like the icing on the cake. Can't wait to see Lake Tahoe.

Daryl said...

someday i would love to experience this for myself ...

Akelamalu said...

Of course G-man! LOL

Thanks Pam

The falls wasn't spectacular when we were there either BankerChick but at least there was water. LOL

Tunnel View was S.P.E.C.T.A.C.U.L.A.R. Ron and when I saw the photograph I said to MWM "It looks like a painting!". It's only the fact that I know we were there and it's real that I believe it myself! So pleased you enjoyed the photos. We were amazed to see the Bobcat walking so close to us and so unperturbed by our presence.

Seeing wildlife was an absolute joy Valerie and so unexpected.

I hope you do Daryl, I'm sure you would get some amazing shots - far better than ours. :)

Cloudia said...

You are great travelers! I love just tagging along with you, but where do you get all that energy? LOL Muct be REIKI

Aloha from Waikiki, my Friend
Comfort Spiral

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Akelamalu said...

So pleased you enjoy our travels Cloudia. I have lots of energy now I don't have to go to work every day. LOL

Lea said...

Yosemite shots are awesome! Looking forward to see your adventures on Lake Tahoe :)

Akelamalu said...

Thanks Lea, I'm happy you enjoyed them. :)

Travis Cody said...

I spent a lot of years during my youth and young adulthood prowling around that part of the country. Thirty years ago, you could drive into Yosemite 24 hours a day. We'd take road trips in the middle of the night, grab a nap in the village, then drive home in the morning.

Love that place.

P.S. I'm glad they don't allow indiscrimate driving through the park anymore. For awhile the valley was really suffering from too many cars moving through it. But I do miss those times when we'd just jump in the truck and go.

Akelamalu said...

That must have been a great time Trav! I can understand why they have had to stop indiscriminate traffic through the valley to preserve the place. It is so beautiful there, awe inspiring!