Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Yosemite National Park, California

Our journey continues north into Yosemite National Park. We stay in the town of Mariposa as we could not get inside Yosemite with our camper. It was well worth the 50 minute drive daily to see this magnificent park.

The raging waters in the river from the snowmelts was moving very quickly. We did not dare put out toes in that cold, swift waters for fear of being dragged down stream - not to mention the hypothermia. It was really, really cold.

As you drive into the park you can see the magnificance of these huge granite mountains. Our truck is parked to the lower right of the photo above.

There were quite a few waterfalls this time of year. We were there mid-June and even the rangers said they had waterfalls they had not seen before due to so much snow this past winter.

Our hikes took us to some beautiful spots within the park. Some areas were closed off due to rock slides, but those that were open made the trek worthwhile.

The High Sierra is beautiful country. From the granite cliffs, to the waterfalls, to the mirror lakes it is so inspiring to see our beautiful country. I wish everyone could see what we have seen! The weather completely cooperated with us.

The visitors center offers a film about the park. There is an Ansel Adams gallery and outfitters store for those inclined to hike. There are several restaurants.

And please take the shuttle buses, as they are much easier on you and the patrons of the park.
It was crowded, as we were there on a weekend, but the shuttle buses make it a snap to get around. You can even ride your bikes to almost everything if you wish - but be wary of the traffic as there were lots of cars on every roadway.

See ya down the road!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sierra Endangered Cat Haven, Dunlap, CA

While at Kings Canyon, we traveled Route 180, which is your way into the park. We saw the signs for this sanctuary, which is attempting to save these cats. Below is a Jaguar.

This is a black leopard. A lot of these cats came to the sanctuary by way of the circus, or their television careers did not work out.

Also some of the cats come to the haven because they were bought to be pets. Cute when they were a few pounds, then they grew up and had to find new homes.

I can't remember what type of cat this is, but do remember it is related to the bob-cat species.

This cat is called a Serval. She was very timid, hiding in the grasses, yet so beautiful to see.

This, of course, is a female lion (lioness) she was beautiful and loved to play with a large ball they had in the enclosure.

This beautiful animal is called a Barbary Lion. He is the last of his kind. He was hunted to extinction and when he dies he is the last, literally, of his breed. There are probably thirty in the world but cannot be bred because they are all related. Breeding can only take place if there are at least four generations inbetween. Sadly there are not and when he leaves us it is forever.

We really enjoyed our visit here and if ever in the area stop in and take a tour. It takes a lot of money to take care of these beautiful cats.

See ya down the road !

Kings Canyon National Park, California

Continuing our trek north, we head to Kings Canyon National Park, just to the very north of Sequoia National Park. We were able to camp inside this park at Sunset campground because our fifth wheel fit inside. We had site #69 and there are no hook ups there.

We did several hiking trails while there. One was the hike through Big Stump trail. This sort of speaks for itself. Lots of these beautiful Sequoia's were cut down and all that are left are the tremendous stumps. (That is ME sitting on that stump) You can always click a picture to see a larger version!

While Jeff and I were wondering along a trail, we saw this huge downed Sequoia, so he climbed on it. This picture gives you an idea of just how big these trees are.

This hiking trail took us from panoramic point about five miles out. But look at these views. Truly nothing could match this!

The picture below of the white-tailed deer was taken behind our camp site. Since there was a meadow there, the deer showed up every day. This is only one of the deer as we usually had 4-6 every day.

Lucky for us we found some nice people to take our picture in front of this Sequoia on one of the trails.

See ya down the road!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sequoia National Park, California

Visiting this beautiful National Park is truly something special. We never thought we would ever get to come here; yet here we are.

The largest tree in the world is here at this park. It is the General Sherman tree.
It is 275 feet tall and 40 feet wide at its base. This tree is estimated to be 2200 years old.

The picture below is of Jeff standing inside of the Black Arch tree. It was burned and the inside is still black. The tree does not die when it is burned as long as some of the bark is still alive and if it is then the tree will continue to grow with the bark growing around the burned areas.

This black bear was heading to the meadow to snap up some yummy grasses and plants.

I walked through this awesome and huge tree. Jeff snapped a photo to show just how big it is !

We saw this deer snapping up some nice, new green growth on the side of the road.

Jeff and I hiked a trail to this waterfall and it was really flowing heavy that day since all the snow was melting from the mountains.

This baby bear was very cautious when he saw us walking on a trail near a meadow. But he soon scurried off into the meadow to catch him a quick lunch.

This bear was not the momma of the baby above. She was just munching away on the side of the road when we saw her. She didn't even bother to look up at us.
Notice the tag on her left ear - that usually indicates she is a 'problem' bear. This means she has probably been caught in the campground scavenging up food or trying to tear up the bear boxes that hold the campers garbage. They get two infractions, then unfortunately after, they are put down

See ya down the road !

Los Angeles, California

In Los Angeles we, of course, went to the infamous Santa Monica Pier. I had no real expectations of what it would be.

Lots of people, people fishing and a resturant at the end of the pier. It was the June gloom when we were there - kind of foggy-like, overcast day.

There is an amusement park on the pier for all the kids to enjoy. They did look like they were having fun from what we could see.

The pier represents the end of Route 66 and as you can see the bait-tackle shop signs indicate this.

There are lot of performers on the pier also. We saw some break dancers and then there was this guy. He was as limber as a spaghetti noodle and was lots of fun to watch.

The pics below show some of the exhibits from the La Brea Tar Pits. This was at the Page Museum. You can also watch the artifacts being worked on in the lab through a huge glass area.

Outside of the museum you can see one of the actual tar pits where some of the artifacts/bones etc were found. They have several pits on the premises outside the museum that were being worked on at the time we were there.

See ya down the road !

San Diego, California Part 2

In addition to going to the Zoo we went over to the Hotel Coronado. This is a fabulous old hotel built in the mid 1800's. Fell into disrepair and then was purchased again in the mid 1900's and was completely re-done. It is beautiful and I am sure very expensive. It is right on the beach and many years ago this was the 'place to be'....

As you can see the hotel is georgous and the design is outstanding.

We drove over to Point Loma to see the beautiful seashore and the cliffs. It was pretty fantastic as you can see from the pictures below.

While at Point Loma we went to the Point Loma Lighthouse. It is no longer in use but there was lots of information there about the former people who lived there and cared for it.

The two pictures below are of the La Jolla Cove area that we drove over to so we could see the seals.
They did not disappoint. The beach is beautiful and lots of people were surfing and swimming.
It was way too cold for us!

See ya down the road !

San Diego, California - Part 1

The Zoo - who doesn't love the Zoo ?
I could take a zillion pictures - but I'll share just a few below.

The first picture if of a Koala - it isn't a bear as many think. It is not of the bear family.

This guy was just staring out into space. Laid back and resting. He could care less that WE
were staring at him through the glass windows.

This was taken of me at the entrance to the zoo. It is as close as they would let me get to an elephant.

This is my pic which I call "drunk giraffe". He is, of course, NOT drunk - he just looks it!

The male of the Polar bear species was swimming around the pool and the female took a bunch of palm fronds and laid them out under her cave area and just went to sleep.

I can't even remember what this animal is below. But it stood so still we thought it was a statue until it suddenly moved.

Look at the little meerkat below. He was so awesome. He kept standing up or sitting on his hind legs and posed all day!

See ya down the road!
--more San Diego to follow--