We got to the park in the early afternoon, so the sun was quite fierce. We got to the park entrance gate, and my parents purchased the America the Beautiful pass as Jeremy's and my Christmas present. The pass allows you to have free admission to any National Park for one year.
If you plan on visiting more than one National Park within a year, I highly recommend getting the America the Beautiful pass. It only costs $80.00 which is usually about the same or cheaper than two admission fees into different parks. For example, the admission fee into Sequoia National Park costs $35 for a vehicle, and is the same for Yosemite National Park. We were just on vacation, and happened to go to two national parks. For $10 more, the annual pass is well worth it.
Jeremy and I live relatively close to Rocky Mountain National Park where I plan on adventuring a few times this year. Let's say I go three times over the course of the next year. A vehicle day pass at RMNP is $25, which means that would be $75 spent in admission fees alone. Jeremy and I are also going to Yellowstone for my birthday in June. Yellowstone's admission fee is $25.
So, basically, instead of spending $170 this year on national park passes, the America the Beautiful pass is just $80. Get one! It's worth it if you plan on visiting the parks.
Okay, I'm done trying to sell you on that point :P I just love my pass!
We found a dirt path off to the side that took us to the top of the Tunnel Rock. We were able to climb up on top of it. The rock is actually quite steep, and there are signs warning you of climbing up on top of Tunnel Rock, so we didn't climb too far up.
Katy was the bravest of the three of us, perching up on the hump of the rock. Jeremy and I stayed by the slab on the side, which made for a perfect foot rest.
Sequoia National Park is a beautiful drive, even before you get to the famous Sequoia trees. I highly recommend soaking in the view. Plus, a lot of people don't know that Sequoia National Park is also home to the tallest mountain in North America - Mount Whitney! That is on the completely opposite side of the park from the trees, so we did not go and visit the mountain. Maybe next time! PS - the mountain in the above photo is NOT of Mount Whitney. I believe it is Mount Eisen - I could be wrong! If anyone knows what the snow-capped mountain is in this image, please feel free to comment!
The rock formation in the foreground is known as "Castle Rocks"... naturally.
The tree above with the sun shining next to it and the one on the left directly above this sentence are both images of General Grant.
In the Grant Grove loop, there is this fallen tree called the Fallen Monarch. The tree was hollowed out by a fire more than 300 years ago before toppling over. The fallen tree served as shelter to cattlemen who later built a cabin very close by, a saloon, and a horse stable! Now it is a tourist attraction that one can walk through. The right image above shows Jeremy standing in front of one end of the Fallen Monarch.
When the family, Jeremy, and I were there, it was beginning to get dark, so it was very black inside the tree. I don't believe I would have noticed this heart shape hole on the top curvature of the fallen tree if it wasn't for the setting sun shining through it.
The following image after shows the other end of the Fallen Monarch.
The two trees above are more of the Giant Sequoias, and the one below is another image of General Grant. You can tell by the one significant branch that reaches out towards the sun in the image below.
The one thing my mom really wanted to tackle on this day trip to San Francisco was to see Ghirardelli. Since it was not tourist season, we were actually able to park in the parking garage underneath Ghirardelli Square, which is only a few blocks away from the wharf!
Doesn't my mama look so pretty?
We went into Ghirardelli, of course. It was still pretty early in the day, so we didn't get anything, but we all agreed we would stop by again before getting in the car to go home... after all we were parked right there anyway!
We wandered onto Hyde St. Pier, which houses a few historical ships and acts as a museum of sorts on your way out to the ticket booth. You can pay to actually tour the boats, but we decided that seeing them from the pier was good enough.
PS - I don't think that seagull paid the admission fee ;)
The boat below is called C.A. Thayer, and I pulled the following from Google:
C.A. Thayer is a schooner built in 1895 near Eureka, California. The schooner is now preserved at the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park. She is one of the last survivors of the sailing schooners in the West coast lumber trade to San Francisco from Washington, Oregon, and Northern California.
Here is the link to the National Park Service web page on the ship if you would like to read more: https://www.nps.gov/safr/learn/historyculture/c-a-thayer.htm
We continued our way down to Pier 39 (which was the end goal for our trip to the wharf). We stopped at these crab stations to check out the menus, but I have to say - everything is so overpriced! When Jeremy and I visited Oregon and Washington, we could get fresh seafood for much better prices. San Francisco really price gouges you if you want anything but clam chowder and bread. Tsk tsk!
At last, we made it to Pier 39. The pier where all of the touristy fun hoopla is. Stores, museums, the aquarium, rides... it's all there! They even have a carousel towards the end of the pier. However, if you're planning on visiting, don't stop there! Go beyond it to get a great view of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, and sea lions!
There were only a few active ones. Apparently it was nap time for the sea lions, as many of them slept on the docks below. However, there were two that were very much active, doing somersaults around each other, giving each other kisses, some playful nips, and were just really entertaining to watch.
There are SO many things to do in San Francisco, that I have a feeling Jeremy and I could visit the city every time we visit my parents and sister in California and find something new to do every single time.
Jeremy already declared that next time we are in California that he wants to go to a Giants game. My mom added that we should go to Treasure Island too, so that's already two things to do in San Francisco for our next visit!
Looking forward to it!
We went shopping in downtown Willow Glen while waiting for the schools to get out, and we picked up a few toys in the stores that were there.
My dad went to go get Giovanna from school, while Mom, Jeremy, and I went to go pick up Little O from daycare. Mom was a bit worried that he may be cranky upon seeing Jeremy and I, as she said he doesn't do well with people he doesn't know (he's going to be three, so we've seen him when he was a baby). However, I walked into the daycare with my mom, and little O came directly up to us with no issues.
When I lifted him into his car seat to get buckled in, instead of being crabby that bearded man was in the back seat with him, he pointed to Jeremy and asked me "Who's that?" and then proceeded to share his dinosaur stickers and toys he received in daycare that day with Jeremy.
After we got back to the house, Dad and G were still not home, so we entertained the tiny human. Jeremy was playing with his yo-yo, and O really wanted to try it, so Jeremy started to teach him how to play with one.
We searched and searched for the yo-yo. Mom searched their toy box, I searched the kids' desks and crafting area, Jeremy entertained O in the meantime, and we had zero luck.
However, this auntie came up with an alternative solution to the height problem.
While we were outside blowing bubbles, Dad and G came home. She wanted to join in on the bubble festivities.
O's hand-eye coordination is pretty good for an almost three year old! I love the look of concentration on his face as he focuses on the bubble between his hands.
G made several attempts to catch a bubble on the bubble wand, and eventually succeeded, and as you can see, she was pretty excited about it. That was a good sized bubble to catch, too!
Giovanna did ask me to photograph the short palm tree in my parents back yard, so I went over to the plant. I was totally expecting the leaves to be soft, but they aren't! They are extremely stiff and pokey! However, it still made for a pretty picture.
I will be writing of our day trips to San Francisco, Sequoia National Forest, Yosemite National Park, and coastal towns soon, complete with images and perhaps a few videos! Stay tuned!
In 2017, my parents decided to fly me out to California to get me away from a negative situation I was in. I was able to go on a lot of adventures while I was out there, but one of my favorite places that we went to was Yosemite Park. I have wanted to go to Yosemite Park for a long time, ever since I started studying film photography and came across Ansel Adams and his inspiration, John Muir.
It is said that these two knew more about Yosemite than anyone else, having documented it through photography for years. It held a special place in both of their hearts, and as soon as my parents and I arrived, I could see why.
El Capitan, pictured above, is one of the most photographed cliff faces on Earth. It is one of the welcoming landmarks when entering Yosemite Park, and you can see Yosemite Falls to the left of it in the image above. These sights are extremely easy to get to, as this area of the park is the most visited by tourists, it features paved roads and scenic paved trails that are easily accessible for those with mobility issues.
Beautiful view. Beautiful lake. Ugly beach.
I wish the city and suburbs of Denver could appreciate what they have a teensy bit more. This beautiful lake with these breathtaking mountain views was surrounded with a beach covered in trash.
Jeremy and I took the golden girls to this lake today for an adventure. It was enjoyable getting out into nature. Per usual, Jeremy took charge of walking the puppies, his backpack full of water bottles and a collapsable dog bowl, while I carried my photography equipment.
Sequoia, the little one, has been learning to walk on her leash, and we have her wear a leader to help slow her down. When she becomes full grown we will get them harnesses so that they can't get tangled in their leashes on these walks (we had to untangle them a couple of times).
As you can see, the lake was very blue. It was gorgeous. There were several people boating and fishing, enjoying the water. I just wish the beach was more well taken care of.
At the end of the beach we had to climb up to the main trail. The trail itself is very pretty, with nature surrounding you on either side, and there were plenty of benches for people to relax and enjoy the view of the mountains and the lake.
There were several picnic areas as well. It's definitely a place with a lot of recreational potential! I can definitely see why it is a popular trail, now for the beach to become more clean and enjoyable!
Photographer, visual artist, mother to four fur-babies, and travel enthusiast.