June 15 and early the 16th

I'm off with Ann to Sacramento to stand around with who knows who at a rally organized by Sandra Tsing Loh in support of Public Education.

And since we're passing right by Sequoia And Yosemite, we might as well stop in there too.

Our first night we stayed here at the Gateway Lodge, Gateway to Sequoia, so we could get an early start to spend the next day in the park.
Having arrived with several hours of daylight left we decided to do a little workout in the 94 degree heat...and scrambled up this hill which is much higher and far more difficult than it looks...
...to get a shot of this bridge.

Here's where, in Three Rivers, the Middle and East Forks of the Kaweah River merge, under the historic Pumpkin Hollow Bridge built in 1922 and I know it's historic because it says so on the sign.
The restaurant at the Gateway is especially well situated hanging out as it does over one of the full, fast flowing rivers.
They've got a cool bar too (this painting prominently featured). We watched most of the Laker game 5 where they've managed to hang on to play another day.

It was perfect timing in that we saw the first quarter, ate dinner, and then saw the fourth quarter. Not all the participants were rooting for the Lakers but everyone was so nice, we amazed to each other often.

(Show your age...can you name the icons in this picture?)
For the first many miles inside the park the road was wonderfully re-surfaced and all the retaining walls were newly re-built. You can see here how the walls are made of the same materials as the mountains, and it was fab.
Ms Moro Rock making herself known.
June 16 (the rest of the day)

Here's what we did on a one day buzz through Sequoia National Park.

We climbed up to the top of Moro Rock. 'Are we there yet? Are we there Yet?!'
We're there!
Looking to the left...
...and looking to the right. There are equally amazing sights forward and behind. It's completely worth the pain in your thighs to make it up here.
We drove through the fallen log and walked by Crescent Meadow.
Lucky if you can catch the wildflowers.

Luckier still when the shadows aren't so inky black. Not so much luck really as noticing/remembering. Half of this day and all of the next day I had a manual tweek in the camera. I put it there...I forgot to take it away. NOoooo.
We strolled all around the Big Trees Trail although the point-something distance from the parking lot is a fairly steep slog.

The parking lot at Big Trees Trail is now exclusively for handicapped so you have to walk from the Giant Forest Museum parking lot.
It's a StairMaster trek to General Sherman. The close-by parking here is handicapped only too.
By now we were walked out, our feet, among other body parts, begging for mercy, and ready for lunch at the Wuksachi Lodge.
He is here for the photo-op with Ann, and we appreciate it.
Then we drove the 25 miles to Grant Grove in Kings Canyon and got ice cream for a necessary pick-me-up.

I love this stand: The Sorority Sister.
We did the easy walk to see General Grant and then hit the road.
We then drove for hours to get to our hotel in Sacramento by 8:00pm and hurray it wasn't dark yet.

We chased up a beer, ate snacks for dinner, and crashed... hard!
June 17

Sacramento, at the Capitol Steps, The California Children's Rally in support of Public Education.
We had our evocation of the '60s...KumBaYa and If I Had A Hammer and all. They provided a songbook with chords and word changes to reflect the occasion which was fun.

One of my favorite lines from this whole experience, and I don't remember even where it came up but according to somewhere, most of these tunes were written for easy sharing in 'the people's key of G'. 'The people's key of G.' Let's all Sing!
And all these kids playing auto-harp (in The People's Key of G!).
Entertaining folks to left and right.
Here's Our Organizer...
...pitching the rally to a crowd coming out of the capitol. 'Come on come on come on it's good to care.'
Jack O'Connell, State Superintendent of Public Instruction speaking out to the huzzahs of the crowd.
A group photo...The California Children's Rally!
Some topiary in front of a hotel to the side of the capitol building. Cute.

We both really liked the parts of Sacramento that we saw. The scale was human, it wasn't too crowded, the streets were clean, and the buildings handsome.
The cathedral...
...and inside they hung their Jesus from the dome. Maybe I've never seen such a thing before.
Sacramento calls itself 'The City of Trees' and this is one example of the presence of trees. Name that tree!
In the evening we took a mosey down the river for a 'dinner cruise'.

The pier here is at the end of a neighborhood of a few streets full of western-style buildings called 'Old Sacramento'. It's a bit of a Disneyfication of a western town but entertaining anyway to walk along the boardwalk and see what they've got. 'They' say it's 'mostly' Gold Rush originals.
Cruising under one of the highways. We never got out of the part of the river that was like a channel, still, we enjoyed the breeze and the views.
June 18

On the road again, rounding a corner, a first peek.
Welcome to Yosemite! That's Bridalveil Falls out there in the far distance.
Here we are in the crowded valley floor creeping down the road hoping for a spot to park so we too could admire...
...Yosemite Falls!

And check out that meadow. All the falls were monster full and the meadows thick with well-watered foliage.
So lovely.
We took the hike to the bridge at Vernal Falls, the trail being described by the Park Service as 'moderate'. Just to the bridge, how hard could it be. I even remember having done it before.

This shot is from the bridge looking up and then looking down. There was plenty more of the trail available too, waiting for You to go on and on and...
Now I know that 'moderate' is my absolute limit of hiking. And it was basically paved the whole way!

Ann, taking a Break. Phewww. It was steep, far, and hot. Yes we were dang pleased with ourselves for having made it!
El Capitan! Stand up and Salute!!
June 19

True, it is, my birthday and I am 61 years old. It's so exciting. I can hardly wait to be 62 and buy a lifetime National Parks Pass for ten bucks! Oh goodie!
Here's Mr Giant Grizzly at the Maraposa Grove, another slog up the mountain but not as hard as Moro Rock or Vernal Falls. Little kids were skipping all the way. I was not.

What a great Birthday Outing! Thank you Ann for coming!! Sequoia-Sacramento/Education Rally-Yosemite, then home to Santa Monica where my itty-bitty house is cool with ocean breezes. We really heart California.
HomeUSA California, it's a Nation State • Sacramento and The Parks • '08 Jun: to Sacramento via The Parks

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