Saturday, June 4, 2022


This trip started out as a photo trip which I wanted to do in Yosemite National Park. I planned on a five day trip in April for an early spring trip to the Park. I asked several photography friends to join me, but for various reasons no one was available.  So I brought up the subject with George and two daughters. Tina in Ohio thought she might be able to join me, but Klara, in Montana would be starting her work season then so she was not going to be available. George was welcome though he does not enjoy the long stops at locations while I visit various view points and angles of a subject.

Tina was able to finagle the time off and part of her airfare with her company. George agreed to join me, as Yosemite is a favorite location for all of us, and it would be fun to share it.


We were off about 0700 with breakfast on the road of home made sweet pretzels, and coffee from the local 7/11. Tina would meet us in Yosemite at Tunnel View, after a flight into Fresno from Ohio.

Our drive went smoothly though the traffic from I-15 to I-5 was busy with little respite from the early morning traffic heading for Los Angeles. Once on the I-5 the road opened up and we sailed onto Fresno where we then headed for El Portal, the gateway to Yosemite from the South, and our hotel. Once we were checked in, we headed to the Park and our sunset time rendezvous with Tina.

                        SIERRA FOOTHILLS

At Tunnel View I set up my camera in preparation for sunset which was fast approaching. Tina showed up and we enjoyed the moment of our getting together. Minutes later there was another greeting as Klara had joined the party!!


What a surprise and delight. The four of us in Yosemite. After capturing the last light in the Valley


                   HIGH ABOVE THE VALLEY

                                TUNNEL VIEW 


We then headed back to our Hotel and dinner, and the telling of the details of Klara's inclusion into the week.

Klara was able to join us as there had been a snafu with her being signed into her work, and so she would have this week off while the Forest Service straightened things out.

 When she realized it she quickly made plans to join us, getting a flight to Fresno, and reserving the last room available at our Hotel. She and Tina kept the secret until we met at Tunnel View. It was a wonderful surprise to say the least.


After the travel day yesterday we enjoyed a Varga breakfast in our room of sweet pretzels, fruit, and coffee and tea. We then headed into the Park for a full day of wandering and photography.

Our first stop was a waterfall on the North side of the road which was flowing well. I do not know the name of it, but I have stopped here several times in the past.

Once in the Valley we stopped for views of the Three Brothers, El Capitan, Cathedral Rocks, etc. We stopped in the area of Sentinal Beach and roamed around the area. It has become a burn site, before moving onto the area of Swinging Bridge. We used it to cross the Valley to the North side and a bit of hiking. Back near the Southside Drive we enjoyed a picnic.

Then it was onto Sentinel Bridge, and views from the valley of Washington Column, Royal Arches, and views of Yosemite Falls. The evening shoot was from Valley View. 

A wonderful day finished with dinner at The River restaurant in El Portal.


This morning we were up early to get the early light around Lower Yosemite Falls. It was a wonderful time as there were only a couple of people in the area at 0700. We all enjoyed the experience. One of the attractions at this time of the morning was the rainbow which is captured in the spray of the Falls due to the sun's angle.

                 LOWER YOSEMITE FALLS

                        YOSEMITE FALLS RAINBOW



                           KLARA AND TINA

After an hour there we headed to the Village to find some breakfast. We settled on breakfast at Degnan's Deli. This filled the bill for us all, before we headed to the Ansel Adams Gallery, and The Village Store. We browsed the store for unnecessary souvenirs, and I came away with a new t-shirt.😀

The girls and George went on a walk toward Mirror Lake while I strolled along a valley path with camera in hand. Did not find  much to photograph but I enjoyed the quiet walk in the Valley. Afterwards we met back at the car and headed to the Ahwahnee hotel to get out of the wet weather we were experiencing.

We wandered about the building visiting the Gift Shop, the Ladies Room, the bar, the card room, and the large lounge room across from the dining room, which are both magnificent. We warmed up in front of this magnificent fireplace. 


The Lounge used to have two Steinway pianos, now they only have one.The two just looked like they belonged and did not crowd the room. We enjoyed some hot beverages as well some of our own snacks. It was very relaxing and a pleasant way to spend the wet afternoon.

 We then headed for Tunnel View where the weather was cloudy and I enjoyed photographing the play of of clouds moving through the Valley. It was fun trying to find compositions that were telling. I am trying to process some in Black and White. (It is struggle.)

                      B&W  FROM iPHONE!!

            (BLACK AND WHITE)
                          (BLACK AND WHITE)

                   ( COLOR)

(What do you think?)


This morning we headed to the Ahwanee for breakfast. I did not know that we were celebrating my 82 and 1/6th birthday.😎 We enjoyed a delicious breakfast buffet that included Eggs Benedict which is one of our favorites. They had several other unique items which were all delicious. I was gifted with a new coffee mug with a Raven design from the tribes of the Northwest.

Afterwards we headed off for some hiking. The girls started for Mirror Lake, whiIe I and George followed at a much slower pace. The Park is still opening it's Spring bloom and color. 


An Early Dogwood Bloom

Probably the first or second or third week in May would really see Spring in full bloom in the Valley. We then headed for El Capitan meadow for some watching of the climbers on El Cap., a picnic lunch and a nap.



Shortly there after the girls headed for Fresno for making their flight connections home early Saturday morning.

On the way to Sentinel Bridge to capture Half Dome in early evening light we stopped at Fern Spring for a photo. This spring has in the past been a source of drinking water to any who stopped. Regrettably there is now a sign saying it is not palatable.😢 

                                FERN SPRING


Then it was time for us to say farewell to the Park, and return to El Portal for the evening.


More weather today. As we set off for San Diego it was raining,  and continued until we summited at Chinquapin. Along this leg we experienced rain and snow as well as fog.

A Wet and Snowy Drive 

As we slowly descended to  Wawona the weather opened up and we had no real problems reaching Fresno where we refueled both us and the car before getting on US 99 and  heading for San Diego.

This was the Saturday before Easter and there was lots of traffic. I had taken over driving in Fresno but relinquished it about an hour later as I was getting drowsy. George took over and had the busiest leg through the Los Angeles area to the I-15. We still made good time and were home by 1745. After unloading the car we went and picked up Sierra who was quite happy to see us though she had a good time with her friend Zeke, an  American Staffordshire Terrier, that lives a few houses below us.

                  WELCOMING COMMITTEE

SUMMARY: This was a great trip especially  since both girls were able join us. It was not so much a photo trip as a result, but I had a great time with my camera. And we all enjoyed the time together in Yosemite.

Monday, January 24, 2022


We traveled to Ohio for Christmas this year. Our flight to Detroit went smoothly and was on time. We connected with Tina outside the terminal and headed for her home in West Unity, Ohio. It was an overcast day with light rain showers. We stopped in Ann Arbor at the Trader Joe's for a few items before leaving the Detroit area. Then it was onto Western Ohio where Tina and Justin have a 20 acre ranch.

After we settled in we enjoyed a delicious meal prepared by Tina and Justin.

    Sierra & and House Mate 

Saturday, December 18th:

This was a quiet day around the house as it rained most of the day. We could not walk around much of the property because the soil was really saturated and muddy. After reading a number of articles on my iPhone or iPad I  grabbed a Lee Child book to read. It was an OK read but sometimes taxing in it's story line.

In the evening we enjoyed some family time around the fireplace.

Sunday, December 19th:

Klara arrived in the wee hours of the morning by train from Montana. Her arrival was on time and the station was only about a fifteen minute drive.

We arose just before sunrise which here in Ohio was about 0815!

After a leisurely breakfast the girls went off to the barn to do chores. I wandered around the pond for awhile, then did some reading and organizing our Christmas gifts.

In the afternoon we did about a 3 mile walk along the county roads. One has to be aware of the small inclines that might block drivers views of walkers as there are no shoulders, and the speed limit is about 50 mph.

We also took time to fill several bird feeders, and I hope to do some photography of bird activity around the feeders in the coming days.

Tonight's dinner was some grilled elk that Klara had brought from Montana along with a delicious salad.

It is wonderful to have us all together.

Monday, December 20th:

It was a beautiful sunrise but I was not dressed for going outside. The temperature was about 25˚F!!

Another quiet day in Ohio. It was cold and blustery today so there was not much bird activity. We did get out for a walk once again.

                                                                        A local barn

Today I am reading excerpts from a very detailed biography of Winston Churchill. He was quite the character, and could be an imposing person. He certainly was persistent in Britain's fighting Naziism.

Tuesday, December 21st:

Today we experienced Freezing Fog which occurs when the temperature drops to 32 degrees or lower, according to National Weather Service. The fog produces drizzle, the droplets freeze when they come into contact with an object, creating a coat of ice. This weather phenomenon dissipates as the day warms up.




George was recruited to be the cook of the day. He made a batch of csirke paprikas which was delicious as usual.

Wednesday, December 22nd:

It was a rainy day, but we did not let that deter us. We were off to the Toledo Museum of Art and the Glass Pavilion.

This is a lovely museum and I liked the openness of the displays. The descriptions of the works were clear and interesting. They have also incorporated some digital descriptions as well.

The Glass Pavilion was a bonus as it houses a display of glass works The glass objects at the Toledo Museum of Art comprise one of the most comprehensive and historically significant collections dedicated to the medium in the world. 

 We spent several hours here and enjoyed it tremendously.

On the way home we made a brief stop at Costco for a few items such as more avocados, fresh pineapple, and some meat.

Once back home we relaxed, read, checked our mail, and enjoyed a hot cup of cocoa.
In San Diego gas is $4.79!

View from the sunroom

                                               A stormy sunset
Thursday, December 23rd:

Today was spent making preparations for Christmas which is celebrated on Christmas Eve.

 A working Farm

    Pickerel Homestead

The tree was decorated, gifts were wrapped, and advanced food preparations were done. One of the items was cherry rum balls.
Klara had brought a jar of marachino cherries that had been soaking
in rum for about two years. These are then hand wrapped in a  coating of grated chocolate, walnuts, and a little bit of apricot jam. Once the ball is made it is then rolled in chocolate sprinkles. They are most delicious and a real treat.😋 And a labor of love.

At various times we all went for walks along the road.

Friday, December 24th:

My contribution to the culinary duties was to make an Apple Pie for 
Christmas Dinner, which I did this morning.

In the afternoon we visited George Bible Park, a local park which is quite small but was a nice change of pace. I took my camera and did a little photography -- 

The Christmas celebration was casual and traditional. We all sit around and one person opens a present. Then she/he picks a present for someone else to open. It is a slow process but fun and enjoyable. Baby Jesus and the Angels were quite generous.

Saturday, December 25th:

Light rain again this morning. We enjoyed a breakfast put together by Justin and Tina. It was a nice change from the usual cereal and fixing fare.

We enjoyed our traditional Christmas meal of roast turkey which George carved, creamy vegetables, homemade cranberry sauce, and finally some apple pie. It was quite the feast.

Sunday, December 26th:

I have been having a battle with my digestive system. Tina bought some Lactaid caplets to use when I eat dairy. You take one anytime you are eating something which contains dairy. I usually use lactaid milk with my cereal, I just had not even heard of these caplets. They seem to help.😋

We enjoyed browsing our new books, and gadgets. 

I again wandered about with camera looking for subject matter :

Not much traffic today so our walks went smoothly.

Monday, December 27th

Today I got my long lens out and tried to capture some birds at the feeder as well as in a bush or two. It was another gray overcast day so the lack of light was an issue, but I enjoyed the practice. The birds were small: American Goldfinch, Purple Finch, Downy Woodpecker, Song Sparrow, and a Cardinal.
(These are record shots as the light was really overcast and the feeder was definitely part of the picture.)

    Song Sparrow

       American Goldfinch

Snowy Scene

American Goldfinch

    Downy Woodpecker
    Downy Woodpecker

Tuesday, December 28th:

Another quiet day in Ohio. Wet snowy day with little desire to venture out. We did go for a walk though.

Klara was off by train early this morning. She has a long ride with a stop in Chicago to change trains. She will have about 4 hours there so she will venture into the city but remain near the train station. She will get home in two days after an overnight stay with friends in the Great Falls area where she will pick up her car.

Wednesday, December 29:

Snowy day. We also did our packing up of gear and presents.

Got a walk in between snow flurries - 2 Inches of snow fell.

    Tina's Mule: Ima

    Ring-neck Duck    


    Fresh wet Snow

   Tina and Papa

 Thursday, December 30th:

Had a nice breakfast and then we were off to Detroit to start our travel back to San Diego.

In spite of the dire news of flight cancellations and delays our travel went smoothly. The flight from Detroit was on time and took us to Salt Lake City where we had a layover of about 90 minutes, before our flight to San Diego. The San Diego flight was delayed by about 30 minutes and went smoothly.

Once in San Diego we met our shuttle as directed and were home about 30 minutes later. After bringing in our bags we called our neighbor who was taking care of Sierra and then went down and had a warm welcome from her.


Sierra later scaled the bed and was quite comfortable and at home.

In summary this was a very relaxed trip and wonderful to see the girls, and Justin. The Christmas celebration and tradition was wonderful and we were all thankful for the safe and healthy visit.

Wish you all a healthy and happy New Year.