El Capitan Reflection

Tioga Pass, Yosemite and Giant Sequoias in a weekend

Another weekend, another familiar 395 drive on Friday night! Arriving after midnight, Dikko and I slept in our car at the Buttermilks near Bishop, awakening as the tops of the Sierras appeared to catch fire with intense pink and orange.

Toward Mammoth Lakes the Tioga Pass signs flashed “open” on the highway. We had a Plan B if the pass wasn’t open, however we were in great luck with a perfect forecast for the roads and us!

Sunrise Bishop California

Sunrise from Bishop

Sunrise Bishop California

Sunrise on the Eastern Sierra, just north of Bishop

Mammoth Hot Springs

Hot springs near Mammoth Lakes on a chilly morning

With a quick stop in Mammoth Lakes to pick up my sister from her wonderful week, hot drinks in cupholders we headed north toward Lee Vining before turning onto Tioga Pass. This Highway 120 is the eastern access road to Yosemite National Park. As I’d only been as far as Tuolumne Meadows I was like a little kid at Christmas, excited and energetic for the unknown! Just past Mount Dana we stopped to explore creeks as they froze and unfroze with the confusing approach of winter.

Ice Forming in Creeks

Ice melting and forming near Tuolumne Meadows

Half Dome ViewPoint

Half Dome view from the East

Human Rock Cairn

“Cairning around” – the human/rock cairn!

Shadow on Snow Yosemite

Shadow of a burned tree from the Rimfire

Reaching Yosemite National Park around 2pm we had plenty of time to spare for a walk. We headed up to Vernal Falls from the campground which included just enough stairs to make it interesting. Returning as night fell it was lovely to wander without the crowds and enjoy the sounds and smells of the Merced River.

Vernon Falls Yosemite National Park

Vernon Falls Yosemite National Park – just a dribble in Autumn/Fall

Pines Clouds Sky

Pines, clouds, sky

Camping Set Up US Style

Neighbour’s camping setup (our tents may have felt intimidated)

Sunday morning was a breakfast with campfire smoke which hung amongst the trees like fog. Packing up and driving out of the park we all relished its photogenic nature.

It is impossible to take a bad photo in Yosemite! The light, textures, colours, rock – it’s amazing how the valley retains a special feeling even with millions of visitors each year.

Lost Arrow Spire

Lost Arrow Spire

Portaledges Dawn Wall

Portaledges (the little shadows centre photo) on Dawn Wall – property of T.Caldwell and Co we think!

El Capitan Yosemite

El Capitan (other climbing parties were near the pillar in centre photo, eagle eyes can spot the portaledges)

Yosemite El Cap Reflection

El Capitan stands at 2,307m

Leaving the giant granite walls we drove south to the city of Fresno, returning to the mountains near Visalia to see the giant trees of Sequoia National Park. The northern entrance was something new for Dikko and I, on our third visit to the giant trees.

We walked a small loop at the General Grant Grove and headed to the General Sherman to see the big fellow and stroll another short loop. By that time the sun was low in the sky and we drove out of the park in the dark.

Sequoia National Park

Sisters in Sequoia National Park

Sequoia National Park

Dikko “helping” a sequoia stay upright

Continuing our luck from an open Tioga Pass we had perfect appetites to stop at the Black Bear Diner in Porterville. We all packed a lot into our bellies, just like we’d packed a lot into the two days, enjoying (albeit briefly) some of California’s most famous scenery.


  1. Alma -  20 January 2014 - 3:47 pm

    Hey Kristy, I so very much enjoyed reading your blog page about your quick 2 day jaunt through Yosemite and the Sequoias as well as your home page about you! Welcome to the southern Calif area and the Sierra Nevadas! Help yourself (& your hubby) to the enjoyment that this area has to offer and I look forward to vicariously enjoying your blogs about your adventures in other places as well! My hubby and I are close to our retirement days, so we are not quite as adventurous or able to be as you two are, so savor life and your travels and who knows, maybe one day we will meet up somewhere in the Sierras!

    Check out LandEscape.com for fun. A really nice young man, Jeff who is studying to be a meterologist at UCLA and takes REALLY wonderful PHOTOS of the Sierras! 🙂

    • Kristy Dixon -  21 January 2014 - 12:21 pm

      Hi Alma, so lovely to hear you enjoyed reading this one, I had a lot of enjoyment experiencing it! I am in love with the Sierra Nevada they’re truly beautiful and have a completely different feel about them to other mountain ranges I’ve been to.

      Enjoy your adventures, to me it doesn’t matter where you’re from, how old you are, what you love – as long as you continue to broaden your perspective through trying new things and being grateful for the opportunity you’re going to have a wonderful time! Take care 🙂

      PS checking out http://www.landescapephotography.com/ now, looks amazing!


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