The drive down California Highway 1 is truly spectacular. The splendor of the rocky coastline rivals any I’ve seen in the world, from Northern Ireland to New Zealand.
I fell in love with the ancient redwoods and bought a tourist-packaged sapling in San Francisco that I hope to plant back home in Georgia, provided it survives our trip.
The wild fires raging throughout the Napa Valley area altered our plans and continue to impact our travels. We veered southeast out of a smoky San Francisco and headed toward Yosemite when the fires shut down the Napa-area campground where we had reservations and had hoped to stay for a couple of days.
Park reservations are critical in California and you are required to make reservations at least 48 hours in advance at all state/federal parks. Good luck with that!
I don’t know if the wildfires have caused a mass exodus to California parks, but camping sites are extremely hard to come by in the state. Sites at Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks are totally booked — or closed for the season. In fact, no public or private camp sites in or around the parks are available.
We journeyed into Yosemite yesterday hoping to take advantage of a 3 p.m. “fire sale” on camp sites only to discover that we were 49th on a waiting list.
There was no parking available at the visitor’s center and the road through Yosemite Valley was jammed. All the congestion, reminiscent of a Monday morning commute, led us to exit the park as quickly as possible — an exercise that took hours due to traffic volume compounded by road maintenance.
Not to be denied at least one photographic memory, we did stop on occasion to try and capture the awesome-ness of this national treasure.
The absence or unavailability of camp sites drove us to Fresno where we’re ensconced in a hotel.
I can’t complain about exchanging the peaceful solitude of natural surroundings for the comfort of modern conveniences for a couple of days.
But here in John Muir country, the mountains will definitely call! And I will be compelled to go because as the sage of the Sierras said:
In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.