July 2016 Volumn 17 Issue 193 - Page 55

a couple of nights was a good thing to do, we got to wash clothes and save by cooking our own meals. Overlooking the town square from our balcony proved to be very interesting at night! Early the next morning, we headed north on 101. We stopped at the Thomas H. Kuchel Visitor Center, just before the little town of Orick. There you can get up-to-the-minute conditions and advice on good trails to walk. I suggest going to the Lady Bird Johnson Grove before taking other hikes. Turn right on Bald Hill Road, about one mile north of Orick on Hwy 101, drive about two miles to the trailhead parking lot (with restrooms), and cross over the footbridge to the grove. The one mile circular trail has 13 stations. By reading the furnished walking guide, you will have invaluable information that will help you understand the history behind the Redwoods for your other walks. Be sure to find the Corkscrew Tree - it is not behind the sign on the road, but just a couple of minutes from that sign on the trail, and the best view is from behind the trees. With so many trails available, you can spend as much time as you wish, and they are all pretty easy. We spent two nights in Arcata. Heading back south, we stopped in Santa Rosa and visited the Charles Schultz museum. Anyone who has ever read a Peanuts cartoon will enjoy this museum where you can learn about the life of Schultz, and how the cartoon series came about and evolved into what is arguably the best cartoon series ever. https://schultzmuseum.org/ Then we took a few “off the road” highways to see Wine Country. Early June is late spring, I suppose, in this part of California and everything was green and colorful. Even the medians along the highway had beautiful flowering shrubs. We were on our way to spend the night in Vallejo. No special reason for that town, but it turned out to be a nice way to spend the evening on the east side of the Bay, having a drink while the sun set! Early the next morning, we headed to Yosemite Park, actually to the little town of El Portal. Staying at Cedar Lodge, we were only about 12 miles from one of the entrances to the park. Yosemite is home to countless waterfalls, but you have to time your Lembert Dome. Our trip was coming to a close. Having seen enough waterfalls, we were in search of something else. We asked a Ranger what we could hike out of the Valley. She told us to make the rather long drive to Tuolume Meadows and take the hike to Lembert Dome. The trail had just reopened for the season. It was an uphill battle but we made it. It was our last real hike, and atop the Dome, we could look out at snow capped mountains surrounding us. It was a beautiful moment with Robin, just sitting there looking at His creation. The Corkscrew Tree awaits just a couple of minutes from the sign on the Newton Drury Scenic Parkway. It is actually four trees that are intertwined together, reaching for the sky. It is just north of Big Tree. How can you resist taking a photo of your granddaughter inside of them? visit so there is water to fall! The best time to see waterfalls is during spring, when most of the snow melt occurs. Peak runoff typically occurs in May or June, with some waterfalls (including Yosemite Falls) having only a trickle or being completely dry by August. Storms in late fall rejuvenate some of the waterfalls. Many of the roads in the park are closed until May. Our first stop after entering the park on Highway 140 was to see El Capitan. Shortly after that, we learned the way to get around the park was by using the shuttle buses. Traffic and finding a place to park can be a nightmare, and according to the Rangers, "It only gets worse (after mid-June)." The many waterfall hikes are the thing to do in the south part of the Park. After a day and a half of that, we headed to the more northerly area. Taking Highway 120, it was an hour and a half drive to the Tuolumne Meadows Visitor Center. The camping there had not even opened yet, and some of the higher elevation trails were still closed. The trail to Lembert Dome had opened only six days before, and we were determined to tackle it. The first three quarters of a mile is an uphill struggle that climbs 900-feet from the base elevation of about 8500 feet. I took many “photo breaks.” At the top was the most beautiful scene that I have ever witnessed. Being early June, the highest elevation of the surrounding mountains still had snow! It wasn’t John Denver’s “Rocky Mountain High”, but it might be even more beautiful. After three days of hiking the Yosemite, we regretfully had to return to the San Franciso airport for our long journey home. However you do it, just do it! If you don’t want to spend expensive time in San Francisco, just head to the Redwood forest above Arcata and then to Yosemite! You won’t regret it! July 2016 www.marshandbayou.com 55