Another awkwardly titled post, but anyway…
Our second say in San Francisco we got lucky at snagged last minute tickets to Alcatraz for the morning. We didn’t think it would have been a sold-out kind of tour, but it apparently is, and when we first looked tickets weren’t available, but upon a double or triple check they were.
Now for your oddly titled post… Day six of the San Francisco trip was actually spent *in* San Francisco.
We stayed close to downtown at Adante Hotel, which was good, because driving would have been near impossible, but bad because the hotel itself was kinda dumpy, and did not have parking included (which was my misunderstanding starting out). So, Parking was an extra $40/night. Beyond that, I’m not really knowledgeable on the areas of downtown so I’m not sure if we stayed at a good, bad or otherwise area.
We made the relatively long (about 2 hours) diversion south to hit up Monterey as it was reported to be a beautiful place to go see and supposedly has a very nice, or at least well known, aquarium. We stayed maybe half an hour north of Monterey and got a reasonably early start in the morning in hopes of snagging free parking as directed by some visit-Monterey website I was on the night before. The mission was a success and we got street side parking (#1 on the map) just north of the aquarium and the majority of the interesting walking attractions.
We stayed in Yosemite for a second night (probably because I’m cheap and the camping didn’t cost much). Day two, after packing up, we went to find the Cathedral Lakes. It was about a 45 minute drive to get there, all inside the park, which is of course, huge. We stopped off at a side-lake on the way, though I can’t remember the name any longer. And, just now, upon looking up the link, I realize that we completely failed to hike the extra .5 miles to Upper Cathedral Lake… seems like the plural in the hike name would have been a hint. Oh well, we’ll have to go back.
Between the drive and the hike, this took most of the day. We got back to the visitor center area just before sunset, shot a few pictures and stopped in the store for souvenirs before heading out.
So, San Francisco Day 3, happened quite a way out of San Francisco in Yosemite Valley. We drove out to the North, across some other large bridges which are not nearly as famous as the Golden Gate. We drove the three or four hours out to Yosemite National Park – getting there sometime after they had more or less closed down for the day. We had reserved a camp site, so we just proceeded there to setup camp for the night.
The view of Half Dome from the valley overlook point.
After leaving Muir Woods, where we ended up staying a good bit longer than originally planned, we drove down to the Golden Gate Bridge North overlook. It was a pretty foggy / cloudy day so I shot some pictures of the bridge disappearing into the clouds. We spent a few hours before driving out toward Yosemite National Park that evening. There is an old gunnery fort on the hill overlooking the bay, but apparently I’ve misplaced a good number of my pictures, because I can’t find a single one of the fort remains to share.
I think what makes the Golden Gate Bridge so spectacular is the fact that it can be viewed from above across the bay. The Mackinac Bridge is bigger, but as far as I know there is no similar vantage point to view from.
There were three view points, this was from the middle one. Picture shown after some HDR fiddling.
Monday we woke up early and packed up to head to Muir Woods on the suggestion that it was a place best visited early before the crowds. Even with the unexpectedly long drive, winding through a lot of hilly roads, we were there just before 8. We happened to find a ranger who informed us that the park would open at 8:00 but we were free to park and walk in. This was convenient because it avoided the need to buy a pass or pay any form of entry fee, as well as because it got us there before the crowds. Also, an interesting note for anyone visiting and not wanting to pay – if you park in the further lot and want to do a hike, the hiking trail has no gate, leaves the parking lot and deposits you smack in the middle of the woods when done. It does have about 800 ft of elevation change though.