28 August 2012

Sequoia National Park, CA

Even though it was summer, the weather in Sequoia was really pleasant. The only time we felt hot was when we walked down to the General Sherman tree which has a paved pathway in the sun, and when you go down, inevitably you have to come up! Sequoia is just over 6,000ft in altitude. While most people come here for the trees and we did too, but bears were also on our agenda. 

black bear and cub

The first morning out we took the bus shuttle up to Crescent Meadow. After about 15 minutes Lindsay heard some rustling up on the hill above the trail we were on. There were a sow and her cub eating the seeds from the big pine cones. We stood there for quite a while taking photos, she wasn't worried about us at all. Like Yosemite, this was the only sighting we had. We went out on trails a few more times, walking in Sequoia is lovely, there are lots of trails and most of them are in the shade. We camped at Lodgepole campground which was definitely the right one to be in. I had booked our site a month before hand, and then moved the dates a few days beforehand. Lucky that we didn't just roll up as they were completely booked out the first night we were there. I really enjoyed the walk around the Big Trees as you learned so much about the park and the trees themselves.

giant sequoia
Well six months has passed and home we had to go. It was a great trip and we really enjoyed it. I have learned so much about this country. Even books and movies are more enjoyable as I understand what or where they are talking about.

20 August 2012

Painted Ladies and cable cars

San Francisco, CA

Camping wasn't an option really for San Francisco, and we didn't want to stay in a hotel, so I organised a room through Airbnb. We stayed in Bernal Heights in a lovely house on a street that is a staircase! Public transport wasn't very far away so we were able to take the bus into the city everyday to anywhere we wanted to go. We visited all the main tourist spots - Alcatraz, Chinatown, Little Italy, the Wharf, the painted ladies, the Golden Gate bridge and rode the cable car of course. Often we would change into shorts and a t-shirt as it would be quite warm at our house, but in the city it would be freezing because of a cold wind. Just when we thought we had worked out the bus system, it would throw us another curly, such as the inbound and outbound would go on different routes because of one way streets. We certainly did a lot of walking up a lot of hills, you wouldn't need a gym membership in this city!

Golden Gate Bridge
the Painted Ladies 
Cable car

Alcatraz cell
Alcatraz is named after what the first Spanish explorer called San Francisco Bay - La Isla de los Alcatraces - the island of the pelicans. It's a cold and windy place even in the middle of summer. What a depression, horrible place to be - as an inmate way back then or to even work here today.