Greenfield, CA

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Greenfield is on Highway 101 south of Salinas.  While here we visited the Monterey peninsula and Pinnacles National Park.

We have been to Monterey before on a road trip and it’s a beautiful place to visit.  We checked out the Monterey Bay Coastal Trail, Lovers Point Park, Point Pinos Lightstation and had a terrific lunch in Cannery Row at The Fish Hopper restaurant.  We also stopped at the Monarch Butterfly Grove in Pacific Grove.  This is one of several wintering sites for these colorful butterflies along the Pacific coast.  Temps were in the mid-50’s when we were there so they were not very active and we saw only a couple of them.  We’re hoping to see more at the grove in Pismo Beach.

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Yosemite National Park

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We all have our views about natural beauty but I can’t imagine that anyone would not agree that Yosemite National Park is one of the most spectacular places on earth.  Yosemite Valley has majestic glacier carved granite walls with waterfalls and lush meadows.  With Yosemite Falls, El Capitan, Half Dome and Glacier Point the mind has difficulty coping with the sheer size and scope of what the eye sees.

Yosemite Falls, at 2,425 feet, is the tallest waterfall in North America when including all three portions, upper, middle and lower falls.  Generally, at this time of year its water source would be mostly dried up but there was still a good stream tumbling down the sheer rock face.

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Lake Tahoe

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We left our RV parked near Crowley Lake and made the drive to Lake Tahoe to visit with our friends Steve, Wende and Brady.  It’s always fun to spend time with them but summer in Tahoe at their nice home is special.

Lake Tahoe is a truly beautiful place at any time but summer is especially nice with a pleasant climate, clean mountain air, the blue lake and the variety of colors in the snow topped mountains.  We enjoyed lots of hiking, biking and took a ride up the Heavenly gondola and did a little hiking around the ski runs.

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Lee Vining, CA

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Lee Vining put us close to Mono Lake and the June Lakes Scenic Loop.  Located just north of Mammoth Lakes, June Lakes is another collection of beautiful mountain lakes.  June Mountain is a small ski area (7 lifts) which is affilated with the much larger Mammoth Mountain ski area.

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Mono Lake is a very interesting lake, ecologically and socially.  Since it has no outlet the water in Mono Lake is very salty, 2 to 3 times higher concentration of salt than the ocean.  As a result there are no fish in Mono Lake but that doesn’t mean that it is lifeless.  The lake has a massive population of tiny brine shrimp as well as alkaline flies.  The combination of the shrimp and flies attracts a wide variety of birds here.  Notably, the majority of California seagulls are hatched in Mono Lake.  There are also some migratory birds that stop here during their trip from Canada to South America.  Notably the Eared Grebe spends a few weeks here to molt and fuel up for their non-stop flight from Mono Lake to Ecuador and Columbia.  Interestingly, this bird is very efficient in the water but cannot walk on land.  It has to land and take off from water.  If it finds itself on land it will die there unless a human finds it and takes it to water.

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Mammoth Lakes, CA

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I’m somewhat embarrassed to admit that I’ve never visited this area during the summer.  I used to come here frequently to ski since it is the nearest major ski area to Southern California, about a 5 hour drive.  So this portion of our summer itinerary was built around a stop in Mammoth Lakes.  We parked at the Mammoth Mountain RV Park.

Sadly, one of the major areas I wanted to visit here, Devil’s Postpile National Monument was closed to allow for repairs to the road that leads to it necessitated by winter storms.  But there’s still plenty to see and do here.

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