May 23, 2011

Yosemite, Finally

So, I know. It's been weeks now, but I've been really busy with travel and all that. So here's Yosemite in pictures along with a few snaps of our time in Sonoma/Russian River Valley.

A little backstory: we had planned the trip to hike up to Lake Vernon in Hetch-Hetchy, but the problem we discovered upon our arrival was that the trails were still snowed over above 8000' so we had to recalibrate. In the national parks you have to make a reservation for a particular trailhead on a particular date so the trails don't get too crowded and overused, so we had to leave from O'Shaugnnessy Dam no matter what.

Much to Annie's relief, we did not decide to snowshoe the original 26 mile loop, we'd do a 14 mile out and back to Rancheria Falls, with a day hike in between, hopefully up to the Tiltill valley. We made it to Rancheria just fine, but the trail up to the Tiltill was in bad shape and it was very clear that we were probably only the 3rd or 4th set of feet on the trail this season. Tired of scrambling over rocks and what seemed like 100 downed trees, we crept back down the trail and just settled for watching the water cascade down Rancheria falls from the top. Overall, a wonderful outcome. Have a look.

Like I said. 

Some double-doubles, animal-style, to start things off right. 

Then brats, grilled peppers, and some mashed potatoes for dinner, for car-camping night number one. 

Someday they'll figure out how to sell firewood in national parks that actually burns. 

On the way to the Valley. There was still easily 5-7 ft of snow. 

More and more and more and more after the jump. 

Upper Yosemite Falls, from a distance. 

The Valley, with Half Dome

Hetch Hetchy Reservior, and the beginning of our backpacking trip. 

Hetch-Hetchy dome, I think. 

There were these brand new re-built bridges over all the falls we crossed. God bless the NPS. 

Over the falls

At the campsite, about 7 miles in. 

View from our front door (flap)

Cooking up some dinner...

And the delicious result. Chicken queso burritos. 



First order of the day. And yes, that is a spongebob shovel. The Coleman TP is a little Walmart-y but it works. I know the hardcore guys use leaves and bark and all that, but I'm not a hardcore guy. 

This is what we (and of San Francisco) drank for 4 days. Best water I ever tasted. 

Bettie Crocker Mini-Brownie Creations. A little bulky with the bowl, but damn if it doesn't taste just like a fresh-baked brownie. On the trail. No contest. 

On the way back out. SINGLE RAINBOW!!!! WHOAH!!!!!

Back in civilization. Ahwahnee signature bakeries = very small baked goods. Eggs benedict kind of a joke. 

We were easily the only ones in here under 35. Probably under 65 as well. 

A Fiat Super Corse kicks off the Sonoma wine tour

Montemaggiore winery. Easily the cleanest location I have ever visited in my life. This is what happens when two very wealthy software engineers get together and make wine. 

Oh, and this press there costs more than a Lamborghini Gallardo. And the barrel costs two times more than my rent. Way more. Wine making is for people who have a ton of time and money on their hands. But I guess we all kind of knew that. 

Dom Foppoli, of eponymous Foppoli Wines, might be the greatest brand advocate of all time. I know nothing about white wines and he had me convinced that this is generally agreed to be the best Chardonnay of all time and space. It was damn close. 

Guiseppe's vineyard. Dude is about as Italian as they come. 

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