Sunday, 14 July 2013


To kill some days before the road trip south, I signed up for a Green Tortoise trip to Yosemite.

The Green Tortoise bus converts into beds (you need to get snugly if situated in the 'pit' but otherwise surprisingly comfortable for sleeping on a bus!) and they drive overnight to make the most of your day in Yosemite.

The bus in normal mode.

So the first night we drove to Yosemite valley, stopping to convert the bus from beds and grab brekkie.

Yosemite valley is gorgeous, the views of Half Dome and El Capitan made famous by Ansel Adams' black and white photos, I got inspired to play with the camera!

We hiked up the mist trail to look at the falls and appreciate the cooling effect of the mist and the beauty of the water fall and rainbows.

Spectacular falls!

Rainbows in the mist

Posing halfway up

At the top!

After the hot hike up a quick dip in the river soon cooled us down - it was bloody freezing!!

We camped outside the park in Inyo national forest - for those without tents we were under the stars on a tarp and the cushions from the bus!

The following day we visited Mono lake and June lake - a salt alkaline lake followed by fresh water to wash off.

Lake Mono with the mountains in the distance

The group having a dip and a float - the salinity of the lake is 10% more than the sea.

Unfortunately the effects of hiking and then swimming in the salt water meant my nipple started bleeding - not a fun experience as it bloody hurt!!

Where fresh water springs feed the lake under the water line these calcium carbonate formations are created - they are exposed due to the drop in water levels. 

The feeds into the lake have been hotly debated as they are technically owned by the city of LA, however LA has taken so much of the water the levels have dropped considerably threatening the fragile ecosystem. A legal ruling requires the lake to be maintained at a higher level - slow work given that global warming has also impacted the snow melts in the area.

The last day of our trip was at Tuolumne meadows where we hiked up Lambert Dome for the spectacular views of Cathedral and Unicorn peaks as well as a pat on the back for the exertion!

Lambert dome - yep we went up that!

On the very top!

Cathedral and Unicorn peaks across the valley.

Last stop was at a Sequoia Grove - really wide ancient trees, including some you could walk through.

We then had our last camp dinner at Grovelands before moving on to the Iron Door Saloon - the oldest bar in the area at 150 years old and known for showing strangers a good time with their karaoke nights  !! 

Our driver kicking off the karaoke with like a virgin.....

The girls dressed up for the occasion.

When we finished at 1.30am we crawled back on the bus and got driven back to San Francisco whilst we slept - all in all a fun experience - but not sure how I'll cope with 9 days of it (drinking and scarce showers and sleep that is!) in the Canyons of the West - my next trip after LA.

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