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Two weekends ago, I managed to finally make it up to Rocky Mountain National Park. I have been there a few times when I was younger, but I had never been with an SLR. The park did not disappoint me; the Continental Divide is quite beautiful there. I also visited a few lakes in the park, and I also had the good fortune to see some animals. The elk were in velvet, and there was a group of just under a dozen bulls grazing and sitting near the road. Needless to say, my super-telephoto paid off quite well. And if that wasn't enough, I was rewarded with a mother moose and her calf at the Grand Lake entrance station, making me very glad I decided to take the road all the way through the park, despite the lengthy drive home.

Last weekend, I stayed in California instead of going home, and did a road trip of sorts. Though I invited quite a few people, I ended up going by myself, which I certainly didn't mind. I planned out a bunch of small hikes using the excellent resource yosemitehikes.com. On Friday, I did most of the Yosemite Valley hikes I wanted to see, as well as those along Glacier Point Road. I even stayed for sunset up at the top. I was a little disappointed in the sunset; there was just the right amount of clouds, but they didn't light up as much as I was hoping. I was still glad I stayed though, even if it meant I had to drive down to Fresno in the dark. Luckily not many others were doing this, so I made it down in decent time.

The next day I went back up to see the sights along Tioga Road. Everything was beautiful, from Olmsted Point to Tenaya Lake to Tuolumne Meadows. Because I went back down to Fresno a little earlier that night, though, there were plenty of annoyingly slow drivers on the road, at least after I got off of Tioga, so it took me a while to get down.

I had originally planned on spending Friday, Saturday and Sunday in the park, but I was apparently too efficient in my sightseeing. The only hike I had left that I wanted to do was the Mist Trail, but I'm planning to go back with friends to climb Half Dome, and this trail is part of that hike. That coupled with the fact that driving up and down the mountains is so painfully slow, I decided to cut out a day early and drive through Santa Cruz, and then up the Coast Highway a ways. I spent some time on the beach, found a few lighthouses, and enjoyed the coastal scenery before finally heading back to San Jose.

Photos from both trips, as well as a visit to Bocci's Cellar, have been posted.

Posted by nick.steinbaugh at 9:22 PM