It was easy being green.

Posted: April 1, 2017 in Personal, Travel
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Back from La-La Land, back from sunshine and (at the end, at least, warmth) to rain, gloom, and a high of 42F (although it’s supposed to be in the 50’s in the coming days.) It’s good to travel and good to come home…and even better to have a home I like to come home to!

Each time I visit our daughter, we have a brave, daring adventure.  Last visit it was a whirlwind trip up “The 1” to Napa’s wine country.  “The 1” has nothing to do with Neo and “The Matrix” and everything to do with the fact that for some unknown reason, highways in California and Arizona (and possibly elsewhere in the west) are called The Whatever Number.  At least you know the number.  In the Chicago area, they nickname the highways:  The Dan Ryan, The Kennedy, The Eisenhower, and so on.  If you’re new to the area or don’t use the highways much, you have NO idea what highway the traffic reports are referencing!

This year’s brave, daring adventure was a quick trip to Yosemite National Park, a place I haven’t seen since I was too young to remember what I saw and all photos were black and white without editing.  During tourist season, we wouldn’t have been able to spontaneously do this, as reservations have to be made many months (or more) in advance. My understanding is that even trails have to be reserved for hiking during the high season, a far cry from the days when my mom and her family camped in the park for several weeks, an inexpensive vacation for a Lutheran teacher’s family!

The downside of going out-of-season and just at the end of winter is not knowing what the weather will be and having much of the park closed until May.  It sounded to us as if we’d either hit rain or snow or both, depending on altitude, but no way to be sure, so we packed every sort of clothing and footwear and “just did it.”

While I was gone, I missed the WordPress Photo Challenge theme of “Green.”  “Green” was an essential part of a phrase uttered by one or the other of us at frequent intervals on the 5-6 hour drive to and from Pasadena to Yosemite.  After years of drought, “It’s so green!!!” was a pleasure to say as well as see!  On our trip back from Napa two years ago, the only green we saw was in irrigated fields.  Everywhere else, it was brown, due to a years-long drought.  Here’s a shot from the car on the way up.  (I wasn’t driving, I hasten to add.)  It’s so green!!

© janet m. webb 2017

Seeing Yosemite makes me wonder what the first people to view it must have thought.  Of course, they didn’t have the pull-outs along a highway for viewing, but all views are magnificent.  This is one of the first and best.  You can see Half Dome in the back and slightly to the left of middle and Bridal Veil Falls.  Imagine cool, crisp mountain air to experience the full effect.

© janet m. webb 2017

You can walk up to the base of Bridal Veil Falls, where the “veil” thoroughly douses you.  I didn’t have a plastic bag for my camera, but I was going to take a shot of the mini rainbow with my phone.  Unfortunately, as I got ready, a group of young people ran past me yelling, “Eat the rainbow”, inserting themselves into any shot I would have taken and mostly obscuring the rainbow.  The wind also shifted enough that it felt as if it were raining, so I tucked my phone in my bag and my camera under my jacket and got out of there.  I did get a few shots from further away.

© janet m. webb 2017

We were fortunate enough to be able to reserve two nights at Yosemite Valley Lodge.  (Our room looked like the one in the first photo.)  Camping wasn’t an option for us and the Majestic Hotel, formerly known as The Ahwahanee (a name I prefer),  was twice as expensive.  Yosemite Falls, seen in the photo below, was quite near our room and this view was one we saw on the way in, as well as on a walk later that evening.  So far, so good, and no rain!

© janet m. webb 2017

To balance the cost of lodging and because I break out in hives if spending too much money on meals (mental, not real, hives), we stocked up at Trader Joe’s before leaving and that night dined royally on a cheese plate that couldn’t have been bettered at four times the price, a tasty, nutritious salad, and a wine not diminished by plastic cups.

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  1. Tish Farrell says:

    Fabulous photos, Janet.

  2. It was a wonderful day that first day for you! The Merced River, and the Falls are full and lovely!

    I’ve been saying “It’s so Green!” for months, and just loving it. It’s warming up now so, it’s a slow march to brown now.

    Your dinner was right up my street! En mon avis…fit for a Queen!

    The Freeways have names too, but they seem to change by city and county, and those change too, depending on who is being honored in what decade so, it’s just easier to remember the Interstate’s number. Mind you even those aren’t honed in stone! A ginormous section of Hwy 17 was sold off or transferred off to the State early in my adult years so it changed names to I880, and only the mountain section of the Hwy maintained it’s status and name.
    I still call sections of it Hwy 17 instead of I880 sometimes.

    The Coast Hwy is 1 btw 🙂

    I’m so glad you made it there and back again safely!

    • The names a/o number combinations of highways can be so confusing and anything that used to be called something else is even more so. We went up the 1 when we went to Napa and what a glorious, but slow, drive that was. The 5, which we took on the way back is much less interesting, but a lot faster. We were on it for a bit going and coming from Yosemite, but the smaller highways we were on closer to the park are much nicer scenery-wise.


      • Hwy 1 is gorgeous isn’t it, but Oh. So. Slow. There’s always a point I wish I could exit to a faster Freeway speed by some of it, and jump back on Hwy 1 to go slow again by more of my favorite bits. 🙂

        I5 is faster, boring scenery wise, but my biggest issues with it are; most of it is only 2 lanes, and the Big Semi’s use it so, there’s always someone doing 90mph cutting in front of you to get out of the slow lane to get around the semi which causes everyone to put on the brakes and slow down, and then there’s the Semi’s cruising along that are gaining on an even slower semi and not wanting to lose momentum they pull into the fast lane causing everyone behind it to slow down, and/or slam on their brakes. And this goes on for hours, and hours while driving I5.
        Once you get closer to the Grapevine and L.A. there are more lanes on I5 but until then coming from the North it’s a pain.

        I can’t stand it so take US 101 which is slower, but has far less traffic and rarely any semi’s anymore.

      • Makes perfect sense to me, Deborah! A big truck trying to pass another big truck can be one of the most irritating and traffic-mess-inducing things on the highway. Of course there are more than enough bad drivers of cars, as well, which only adds to the fun.

  3. Dan Antion says:

    It sounds like you had a great trip. I haven’t been to Yosemite since 1978. It was during a different drought and the falls were a mere trickle. Thanks for sharing your beautiful photos. I’m sorry you missed the photo of the rainbow, but the mental image of the children made me smile.

    • They weren’t children, Dan, which is what was annoying. Children would have been cute. These twenty-somethings were a bit irritating. 🙂 More photos in upcoming posts. We were there less than two days, but my cameras were busy!


  4. Allan G. Smorra says:

    Beautiful photos, Janet. You picked the right time to visit CA.

    • Except for the downpour in Yosemite (upcoming post), the weather was grand and the color green spectacular. All that rain also made the gardens and flowers beautiful, so even more photos ops. 🙂

      • Allan G. Smorra says:

        Spring has definitely sprung. I look forward to seeing more photos from your trip.

  5. Yosemite is a national treasure and a place of unparalleled beauty and nature’s triumph. Perfect year to visit with the gushing waterfalls. Hope that you got to witness scores of wildflowers.

  6. ecopoet says:

    ,, photo #2 – so perfect – looks like webshots 🙂

  7. marianallen says:

    What glorious photos! I can only imagine what the actual views looked like — always better viewed directly, eh? And your DIY room service looks delicious! We always do that, too, for some of our travel meals. 🙂

    • I was having our daughter stop the car at almost every pullout so I could take a photo or two. As with so many things, the next one always looked better in some way. 🙂 But yes, in person is the best way if at all possible. As for food, I’d rather eat well this way most of the time and use the money saved for more travel. 🙂


  8. happyface313 says:

    🙂 Great pictures, dear Janet!
    Enjoy your holiday and have y very HAPPY weekend 🙂

  9. joey says:

    Welcome back! I appreciate the first photo of the verdant peaks — really beautiful! 🙂

  10. Gorgeous green! I’ve never been to Yosemite but we’d like to go one day. Didn’t know about needing reservations, though! Loved your cheese and wine meal idea too 🙂

    • Besides being much less expensive, it was delicious and the salad was, too. Our daughter was glad that in the food court, they served Peet’s Coffee, but otherwise, we provided our own food.

      Yosemite is wonderful, but you want to camp if you don’t want to spend a fortune on lodging. It’s too far to stay outside the park and come in each day. It could be done, but with a huge loss of time.


  11. Emilio Pasquale says:

    Last time we were in Yosemite was early June of 2012. We swore we would never camp again. Perfect weather during the days but cold,bitterly cold, when trying to sleep in a tent, in a sleeping bag. And don’t get me started about having to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. But as for reserving a hiking trail, I’m hoping someone was pulling your leg. We never had to back then.

    • I completely understand about camping, but there were campers even when we went. Hardy souls! As for hiking, probably what I saw was the permits needed for wilderness hiking. During high season, lodging, camping, and those permits are a must unless you’re just going for the day.

  12. munchkinontheroad says:

    Reblogged this on On the Road Cooking and commented:
    Stunning photography! I am a little sad to learn we now probably have to make reservations to see these natural wonders…

    • I may have been off a bit on the reservations. You certainly need to reserve well in advance for any lodgings, from camping to grand hotel, in the park and probably area around as well. You also need wilderness permits for many areas of the park. However, normal trails don’t need reservations, but they’ll certainly be crowded!

  13. bythebriny says:

    Gorgeous images. Love to visit there sometime.

  14. Wonderful album and holiday journal, Janet. These Yosemite images help me remember that “California is the Garden of Eden” indeed (as Woody Guthrie sings.) My wife and I really enjoy our California holidays….. glad you have too

  15. […] My most recent trip was to Southern California with a side helping of Yosemite.  I’ve shared many of the Yosemite photos on my blog since then.  The morning we left, the clouds created a most magical show, creating dazzling looks at scenery already stunning.  Here’s one of the last shots I took on the way out. To see what it looked like without the fog, just click here. […]

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