It was time to get on the road so we picked up a rental car in San Francisco. It always (twice now) takes an hour to do this in America. Everything was pre booked so you would expect to simply hand over the cash, sign your life away and be given the keys. Oh no. Throw in two bumbling rental agents and a handful of tourists who appeared not to have driven before, let alone rented a car, and you have Fawlty Towers Car Hire. “I didn’t come to America to drive a Korean piece of crap,” huffed the angry Jeremy Clarkson twin, “I have been waiting 45 minutes!” That’s because the Germans in front of you had to run every clause of the rental agreement past their solicitor before signing. Meanwhile agent 2 started pointing out the features of the tenth vehicle available to the younger couple he was also “helping.” Twin was then told his Kia wasn’t yet ready so he’d have to keep waiting. You can imagine his reaction to this news. Having sought legal advice, the Germans came back to the counter, signed the forms then proceeded to ask a multitude of questions relating to the operation of a motor vehicle. Some time later they were ready to go. “One more question,” he asked, holding a standard set of keys, “how does it turn on?”
We eventually were served and driving out of the parking lot within minutes.
We hit the road (on the wrong side), drove through the rolling hills that were currently very brown except for the pistachio and almond orchards, arriving at Poppy Hill B&B about 4pm. We relaxed before heading back to Mariposa for dinner at Savoury’s restaurant. We discovered in our time that all the “good” restaurants in the area must have updated their menu and decor in the early 90s and never looked back (or forwards). Still it was nice enough after a long day.
Anyway this was supposed to be a post about Yosemite National Park…
A glorious morning and we headed into Yosemite Valley to explore. It isn’t quite peak season but it was still very busy. The drive in is beautiful and the first sight of El Capitan granite cliff is awe inspiring.
We spent the morning on the Mist Trail up to Vernal Fall. The trail was wide and paved for much of the hike but quite steep and hard on the legs. Once you reached the rocks below the falls the path turned quite slippery and rocky so we didn’t make it all the way to the top.
After a picnic lunch we visited Mirror Lake (more of a pond really) and then drove out of the valley and all the way up to Glacier Point that not only has the most spectacular view of the surrounding mountains but also down to the valley. You could see the campgrounds between the pine trees and the river winding through the middle of the valley.
We were thoroughly exhausted that night!
We had an easier day the following day and visited the giant redwoods (sequoia) at Mariposa Grove.
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