A Spectacular Year for Fall Color

Ever the trickster, 2020 has unveiled surprise after surprise after surprise. Most of them have been objectively unpleasant.

However, one unexpected delightful surprise has been how spectacular our fall color has been this year in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Also, Mike has been trying to grow olives here for years. Olives are tricky – for pollination to happen, you have to have the right combination of trees to pollinate each other. This year, we had pollination success and Mike couldn’t be happier!

And lastly, I caught these two old cats snuggling a few weeks ago.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Escape to Yosemite

I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve traveled more than 20 miles from our house since March. We’ve been nervous about traveling; every possible trip seemed to carry risks we weren’t willing to take. But, we needed a break from being at home. Not only are we working from home, but being at home is also a lot of work because of the never-ending projects inherent to living here.

Somehow, after 20+ years in California, Mike had never been to Yosemite. A few weeks ago, we decided that this would be our escape. Given the weather is turning towards winter, we figured the crowds would be less. We found a nice, clean rental near Mariposa that met our requirements for cleanliness. Everything was great. Though the park was more crowded than I expected it might be, we were pleasantly surprised by how respectful people were with wearing masks and keeping good distance from others in more crowded areas.

Mike was amazed. We just missed Glacier Point and Tioga Road, which closed for the season when the first snow fell a few days before our trip. We’re already talking about going back when these higher-elevation areas are open.

Fall colors along the Merced River on Highway 140
Fall turning into Winter along the Merced River, just inside the park
El Capitan
Bridalveil Fall
Manzanita bark
View of Could’s Rest from Sentinel Beach
Half Dome
Milkweed seed pods
We saw a bear right by the road as we were leaving the park! Mike thought all of the tags on this one meant that it is a “bad bear.” From the NPS website: “Tagged, or radio collared, bears do not mean the bear is a “bad” bear. Tagging bears is done for better monitoring, and the ear tag color is completely random, used to help quickly identify a bear. This efforts allows scientists to follow a few of the 300 to 500 bears that live in Yosemite.”
Our second day in the park was a sunny Saturday, and it was much more crowded than I expected it would be. We found some relative solitude at Mirror Lake, which is a dry lake bed this time of year. We found a spot to lay down in the sun and stare up at Half Dome from its base.
What a view!