Today we are heading to Yosemite or Sequoia National Park – we still aren’t sure. After breakfast and showers for most of us, we pack up and head out with the intention of running back to WalMart in Barstow to replace one of our camper tires that is looking too worn to go on much farther. Well, of course on this kind of trip, you are going to have to expect to have a flat tire at some point in time. So the flat tire on the camper happened on the way to WalMart. After 3 hours at WalMart getting new tires on the camper, we were finally on our way.
We finally decided to skip going to Sequoia and just drive to Yosemite. That was a hard decision, but I knew they had sequoias at Yosemite, so we decided that was just going to be good enough. We got onto US 395 and drove from about 2:15 until we got to a small town outside of Yosemite at around 8:00. Most of the trip, we were still surrounded by the desolation of the desert. I remember reading about one small town that was just non-existent anymore. It used to be a town that people would stop at while travelling on the highway to get gasoline or to spend the night. It had a nice hotel and seemed to be a popular stop. However, as that highway became less popular and cars became more fuel efficient, stops weren’t as necessary. The hotel eventually burned, the post office was closed, and now there is literally nothing but a foundation or two left, although the town is still listed on the map.
Eventually, the desert on the west of us changed into the Sierra Nevada Mountains. They were beautiful. We passed through several nice, small towns that finally had some trees. The mountains were so rugged. We knew we would pass Mt. Whitney, which at 14,494ft is the highest peak in the continental United States. We couldn’t tell exactly which peak it was as we saw a couple that appeared to be pretty close in size, but they were all big and beautiful. I love the Blue Ridge Mountains at home, but the Sierra Nevadas have a very different beauty.
We passed through some areas that were shaped by glaciers and volcanic activity where we also saw a beautiful rainbow. It is really neat to see some of the things that we studied in Earth Science this year come to reality for us, whether it is the black rock left from volcanic activity or glacial moraines at the base of the Sierra Nevadas. Unfortunately, I left my Earth Science book at home, so I need to pick up a decent book at one of these visitor’s centers so I can review some of this with the kids.
The change in altitude that we went through was totally amazing. When we left Barstow, CA we were at about 2100 ft. in elevation. When we arrived at the northeastern corner of Yosemite, we were at over 9000 ft. of elevation. 3000 ft. elevation always seems so high to me when we are in Blowing Rock, NC, so 9000 ft. elevation just blows my mind. It was a good deal cooler when we arrived than when we left Barstow’s 80 degrees or so.
We pulled into a campground, unhooked the camper, and went to find dinner at a nice barbeque place. Then back to put us all to bed. I wonder what Yosemite will have in store for us tomorrow.