This was the first of my road trips and while brief, it spawned all of the rest. I realised that you could see a heck of a lot of country and some very interesting locations by traveling in a car with camping equipment. Of course, the set up for this first trip was very primitive and we learned a heck of a lot about doing it better.
First of all, this trip was a mad idea developed around a visit to San Francisco to go to the Interop Conference. This was back in the days when Interop was still a small, but rapidly growing Internet conference. Anyways, I figured that after the conference was over we could take a wild dash through some interesting National Parks. Furthermore, one of my companions on the trip just *had* to visit Las Vegas and had some relatives in Los Angeles. The airlines would sell us an open jaw ticket from Toronto to San Fran returning from LA for the same price as a return roundtrip from Toronto to San Fran. That and a rental car were all we needed to make the trip.
So we flew to San Francisco with our tents, sleeping mats, sleeping bags and a small set of pots and a small backpackers stove. As luck would happen, the car rental place needed to get a Lincoln Continental back to Los Angeles and they asked it we would like it as a free upgrade. Since we would be doing a lot of highway driving, this certainly worked well for us.
Off we went for a one week dash around California, Nevada and Arizona. First, we headed north from the Bay area to Livermore and the Yosemite. On the way, close to the Sierra Nevada Range, there are a number of flooded rivers, now reservoirs for the large cities on the coast. In the case of the reservoir shown in the picture below -- it covers what was once a town set in the valley by the river now lake.
Onward to the Yosemite itself. We arrived just at the end of the season in early October and set up camp (with minimal equipment) in the valley. Then we were off to see the sights of the Valley and surroundings. The Yosemite is dominated by large granite batholiths. These are huge volcanic intrusions the floated up into the surrounding rock long ago. After the ice ages scraped away the surrounding rock, the batholiths are left exposed. The photo below is the view of the half-dome from the valley floor.
The photo below is a shot of the north valley wall. This is where the Yosemite Falls can be seen earlier in the season. In October, most of the water was gone since it is, for the most part, glacier run off.
Also on the north of the valley, El Capitan is shown in the photo below. This is a popular rock climb. We did not see any climbers when we were there, but there were some climbing Glacier Point (on the south side of the valley).
Speaking of glacier point, the photo below is taken from the top of Glacier Point. The Point is about 6,000 feet straight up from the valley floor. You can look straight down off the edge of the point and see your camping sites. Pictures, sadly, do not do it justice. The view below is looking north-east from the Point. The valley floor is a little to the left and (way) down. You can see the North Dome at the top left and the hanging valley with Tenaya creek running up and to the right. The time is early morning and there is a considerable mist/fog rising.