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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
where we were staying for the night.
After quickly freshning up, we had a lovely meal at Emberz Restaurant
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.