The McFarlane's USA Road Trip 2008 travel blog

Yosemite National Park, California

This is a belated entry as the day turned out longer than planned; we never arrived at the motel until 11.00pm and I was buggered if I was putting pen to paper at that time.

As well as the geological diversity, the last two days have taken us to the extremes of elevation too. Yesterday on our route through Death Valley we drove through the lowest places in North America (-190 feet). Today, as we climbed our way through the peaks of Yosemite we reached nearly 9,000 feet.

Anyway, the reason for the delay in writing was a 100+ mile detour due to Julie spotting the magic word ‘Sequoia’ on the Yosemite National Park map. I’d planned on a simple East to West transition across the park, however, the best laid plan never survives contact with the enemy so that went for a bag of spanners. For those that don’t know, the Sequoias’ are in the South of the park so that’s where we went. For all of my banter, it’s fair to say it was more than worth the extra miles.

The Giant Sequoia trees are a wonder of Mother Nature and leave you dumbstruck in awe at their pure size and beauty. They pre-date what we refer to as modern history and have been known to live for 3,200 years. I was curious to the success of their longevity, presuming that they would have succumbed to disease, fire or the insatiable appetite of man to reap devastation; however, it seems that they have all the angles covered. Their main defence comes from the abundance of tannin in their bark and wood, this is where the lovely shade of red comes from. More importantly, the tannin acts as a natural defence against insects, disease and fire. In respect to man, the trees did briefly suffer at the hand of the lumberjack, however, this proved to be short lived. The Sequoia wood is light and fragile and the trees often shatter when felled. It was deemed uneconomical to carry on with logging and it ceased after a mere 40 years. Fortunately, the Sequoia trees in Yosemite never met the wood saw and therefore survive to this day for us to appreciate.

Having left the park late we decided to stop on route for our evening meal. Unlike the UK, many restaurants close around 9.30pm and we new we’d be cutting it fine if we went to the motel first. A few taps on the Garmin (sat nav) and we arrived at an ‘Olive Garden’ restaurant. The next hour and a half was an experience to behold; everything about the place was exceptional, the food, the décor, the service, you name it. I quite happily handed over a 15% tip – yes, you did read that correctly for those that know me.

Check out a few photos here:

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