Travel & Photography Trip
Ellen and Doug took a 2,800 mile road trip in August 2015, from home in Colorado to California and back. The drive west took them across western Colorado, central Utah and southern Nevada to the east side of the Sierra Nevada mountains in southeastern California. Their return trip took them through the Bakersfield area, across the Mohave desert (hot! hot! 108 degrees hot!), through (but not stopping in) Las Vegas and the southern tip of Nevada and then back up and across Utah and, finally, 19 days from their start, home in Lafayette, Colorado.Website photos, with captions, and slideshows (with music):
After 2 long days on the road, the first leg of the trip was 3 days and nights based out of the Mammoth Lakes area.
Eastern Sierras I: 2 days were spent exploring some of the geologic wonders of the area, including the Earthquake fault and Hot Creek Geologic Site just outside of Mammoth Lakes, plus Obsidian Dome half way between Mammoth Lakes and Lee Vining. And the highlight was kayaking on Mono Lake, with its spectacular Tufa Towers, surrounded on all sides by mountains, just outside Lee Vining;
Leaving Mammoth Lakes, they drove up over 10,000' Tioga Pass to the eastern entrance to Yosemite National Park, to begin a week long stay split between the Tioga Pass/Tuolomne Meadows and the Yosemite Valley areas.
Tuolomne Meadows area: Just inside the Yosemite National Park eastern entrance is Tuolomne Meadows. Doug and Ellen took in the splendid scenery and took 2 great hikes, one on the Glen Aulin trail and the other on the Lyell Canyon trail. Both follow the Tuolomne river and are also the John Muir and Pacific Crest trails at these points;
From Yosemite Ellen and Doug drove south, through the smog and haze of the Fresno area and the Central Valley, before turning east and climbing back into the mountains ... of Kings Canyon and adjoining Sequoia National Parks.
Kings Canyon: Time restrictions limited the visit to Kings Canyon to a long afternoon's drive from end to end and back, beginning at the west end in Giant Sequoia National Monument, where the active forest fire was very visible just over the ridge to the north, and going to the end of the road, up the canyon to the east in the National Park;
Ellen and Doug's visit to California was divided into 4 locations: Mammoth Lakes/Lee Vining, Tioga Pass/Tuolomne Meadows, Yosemite Valley and Kings Canyon/Sequoia.
Where We Stayed: At Mammoth Lakes they stayed in a nice, fully equipped cabin at Tamarack Resort on Twin Lakes, including a nice deck with a limited mountain view, right above Twin Lakes. At Tioga Pass, they stayed at the very rustic and quaint Tioga Pass Resort, the first 2 nights in a small room with a large deck and a beautiful mountain view and the 3rd night in a fully equipped cabin with no deck and no view. In Yosemite, they stayed in the Redwoods community in Wawona, located near the southern entrance to the park. Their accomodations was a spacious log "cabin", actually a full vacation rental home, with the upstairs bedrooms closed off, but with a full kitchen, living room and dining and one bedroom downstairs, a surrounded by a huge that wrapped around on 2 sides. Theirfinal stay was at Wusachi Resort, a very nice, traditional tucked in the heart of Sequoia National Park, with a Lodge and a room in the Ponderosa building;
As a special treat breaking up the drive home, Ellen and Doug visited Colorado National Monument, near Fruita, Colorado, a place with many memories for them but which they had not visited in almost 20 years.
Colorado National Monument: They spent several hours driving the 23 mile Rim Rock Drive, stopping at numerous overlooks and viewpoints.
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