We just returned a hiking/food fest in California. After spending a few days hiking the breathtakingly vertical trails in Yosemite, we headed west for four days of diverse, delicious food in SF. Unfortunately, we lost our camera on our arrival in SF, so we have no pictures of our vacation! Too bad too since there was some spectacular scenery in Yosemite and equally gorgeous weather in San Francisco. Nevertheless, we have some great visual and sensory memories imprinted in our minds to carry with us (although it would be more interesting for you).
Our Yosemite visit was nothing less than fantastic! We had two full days in the park; on the first, we hiked short trails to Lower Yosemite Falls (a trickle at this time of year) and through the Mariposa Grove (of giant sequoias) and drove up to Glacier Point where we were to begin a more rigorous hike the next day. From that point overlooking the entire Yosemite Valley, the familiar glacial rocks, El Capitan and Half Dome, as well as the Nevada and Illiouette Falls, on day two, we hiked the 8.7 mile Panorama Trail. Half Dome is its signiture landmark, and it was majestic and beautiful. Shaped like a slice of watermelon, it is smooth and rounded on one side and sheer vertical cliff on the other. All along the winding Panorama Trail, we kept seeing the Half Dome at different levels (altitudes) and from new angles as we decended from 7200 ft. to 4000 ft. The final two mile segment of the Panorama, called the Mist Trail, runs along the waterfalls, and was by no means easy going. Following the near vertical drop of the falls is an unending trail of rock "steps" (and that is a VERY loose use of the term). In reality they weren't much more than what looked like a jumble of rocks and more rocks left by the last glacier of 3 million years ago. Given the strenuous demands and mental exhaustion (from having to focus on not twisting and ankle or falling) that we experienced we found it difficult to conceive of climbing the trail that we had descended. Hiroko became dizzy looking down and walking down the steps and the front thigh and shin muscles in my legs ached for the ensuing two days as if I had just made my first visit to the gym. In the end, it took us about 6 hours to finish the trail, we began the trail around 10:00 am and finished around 4 pm. Needless to say, we slept VERY well that night!