Tourists in southern California again

Oh, isn’t this the classic tourist pose (at Los Angeles County Museum of Art)?

20180831_181137 by bryandkeith on flickr

When I was talking with Bill at McNeil River about the incredible moon jellies that we saw in SE Alaska, he said we really must visit the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach because they have quite the jellyfish collection.  What a great suggestion.  The aquarium’s been open for 20 years, but my parents had never been there.  It had been on their list for a long time so Ferda and my visit to southern California was a good excuse to go.

The aquarium had a couple tanks of moon jellies, and in one tank you were actually permitted to touch them.

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Mariposa Grove: Giant Sequoias and chipmunk stripes

Our last excursion in Yosemite National Park was to visit the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias.

20180917_110056 by bryandkeith on flickr

As with Yosemite Valley, the Mariposa Grove was handed over to the State of California in 1864 by President Lincoln for protection and recreation purposes.  One of the early gimmicks to attract visitors was to cut roads through the giant sequoias so visitors could drive their cars through them.  The only one of these cut trees still standing is this one:
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Yosemite Valley Highlights

Or perhaps this post should be called “a hopeless attempt to visit the highlights of Yosemite Valley in one week”.

Altogether we spent about 10 days in Yosemite National Park.  My Dad thought perhaps that was his longest trip ever in ~70 years of visiting Yosemite.  We had seven of those days in Yosemite Valley, but that was barely enough time to start on the list of things I wanted to do there.  It’s an incredible place really.

The first day found Ferda and me on The Grack, a three-pitch 5.6 finger crack on Glacier Point Apron.  The finger crack on P2 is seriously outstanding.

The Grack finger crack by bryandkeith on flickr

It gets pretty thin by the top of the third pitch.
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Tuolumne Meadows Domes

Basket Dome, North Dome, Lembert Dome, Half Dome, Polly Dome — our first few days in Yosemite NP were spent around some of Tuolumne Meadows’ famous domes.

Megan dropped us off at Tuolumne Meadows and then had to drive home, but that didn’t mean that Ferda and I were on our own.  My parents drove up to meet us in Tuolumne, and we continued our Yosemite adventure with them.  For the first day all five of us were together, and we chose the brilliant hike to North Dome.  On my only other visit to Yosemite my Dad and I walked up Half Dome and Clouds Rest so we had great views of North Dome then.

On this trip our hike to North Dome included views of Basket Dome and Clouds Rest:

IMG_20180908_121403 by bryandkeith on flickr

and views of Half Dome:

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Auto-touring the eastern Sierra with Megan

From Anchorage Ferda and I flew to southern California and managed to fit in a short car camping trip with Megan while she still had a few days off.  Growing up in southern California, both Megan and I have made many trips through the eastern Sierra, but there’s still a lot to see.  The main goal of this trip was to visit the bristlecone pines in the White Mountains, but we also stopped at Fossil Falls, Alabama Hills, Manzanar, and Gardisky Lake — all places that none of us had been to before.

Fossil Falls was Chad’s recommendation and a place my grandma enjoyed visiting as well.  It’s a short detour off 395 near Little Lake.  An ancient river sculpted a small canyon through the basalt leaving interesting rock formations.  Supposedly there are Native American grinding stones and petroglyphs around, but we didn’t have any luck finding these.

The short walk to the canyon reminded me of the area around Palm Springs.

Fossil Falls:

IMG_20180904_161452 by bryandkeith on flickr

Palm Springs:
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