Destination: Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park in California is visited by 3.7 million people each year, and most spend their time in Yosemite Valley, a good-luck-finding-any-privacy campground strewn around modern amenities that would offend a true outdoorsman. Apart from this (though it’s not a bad choice for families on the camping grind), the valley is a solid base for exploring the rest of the park’s features, from cliff faces and waterfalls to mountain peaks and hiking trails. A few highlights:

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A First Try at Yosemite National Park

Eastern entrance to Yosemite National Park

Eastern entrance to Yosemite National Park

Fitting a square peg into a round hole is akin to driving a broken Mercedes over the Sierra Nevadas. I would know.

Transmission problems throughout Nevada left me wondering if I—if we, the car and I—could make it over mountainous Yosemite National Park. Getting my cabriolet to a Mercedes service department meant either traversing the park to reach Fresno, or returning to Nevada for service in Reno or Vegas. With visions of being stranded in a population-less state dancing through my head, we pushed westward.

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Destination: Mono Lake, California

Mono Lake's South Shore

Mono Lake’s South Shore

As a former travel publicist, I read Travel + Leisure and a thousand other similar publications on the regular. I recall an article detailing the strangest places on earth, within it a nod to Mono Lake, an alien-esque body of water famous for its tufa towers.

Skimming the article, I thought certainly I’d like to see Mono Lake someday, but was unsure of when that would be with my busy career taking precedence. And then, like things I read, I’d forgotten it existed – until I came across it en route to Yosemite. And with that, I checked off a bucket list item purely by accident.

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