Friday, September 30, 2011

Stanislaus National Forest

We're finishing up the Yosemite weekend trip posts (I really stretched that out, huh?) with Stanislaus National Forest. As I might have mentioned, while Yosemite is very strict about pets, has plenty of dog-restricted areas, and doesn't have any off-leash spots, Stanislaus Forest to the North stands in stark contrast to all those rules. Three cheers for off-leash roaming, wild forests, lakes, and trails-a-plenty!

Elevation: 9,628 ft!

We didn't really have a plan, other than to follow the road and enjoy the day.

Not a bad road to follow, I might add. We were traveling along highway 108, which is to the North of the Tioga pass/highway 120 road we came in on a few days earlier, through Yosemite. It makes for a quite a driving loop! There were plenty of spots to pull off, for a little rock climbing, hiking, or even swimming.

We stopped at pretty much every spot that caught my interest... so we were stopping a lot.
Captain wasn't too happy about this.

Captain enjoyed exploring, although he didn't follow my lead when I took a dip to cool off (he's not much for swimming).

We also stopped in at Pinecrest Lake- a pretty spot, but one of the few places in the forest that is specified as on-leash. But they do have a coffee shop and little store that might come in handy after all that driving! For more information and links, check my guest post on Fido Factor (towards the end of the post, under Stanislaus).

That's all, folks! What a weekend trip! I highly recommend checking out this part of the country- beautiful, and fun for Vizslas too ;-)
Back on the road home

Friday, September 23, 2011

Mono Lake

Our Yosemite trip continues with Mono Lake, located in the the Lee Vining area. Never heard of it? Neither had I. But, it has some interesting history and features, and some good walks too. Basically, the lake is a shallow lake with no outlet, which makes it highly saline, and creates a unique ecosystem with plenty of birds, brine shrimp, alkaline flies, and something called toufa. (Toufa are weird structures that look a little like giant ant hills, but are formed from the salt depositions- cool, right?) Captain liked exploring the area- especially for the views of the birds!
Captain sniffing the alkali flies

More toufa!

Despite Mark Twain once describing Mono Lake as a "lifeless, treeless, hideous desert... the lonliest place on earth" (according to Wikipedia), I ended up taking a ton of pictures here, and found it to be anything but lifeless & hideous!

For more Mono Lake information, see their website.

Next up: the grand finale of our Yosemite trip: Stanislaus National Forest!

Friday, September 16, 2011

June Lake

Leaving Mammoth Lakes, we took a short drive to the June Lake Loop - for gorgeous views and a little exploration.

The water in June Lake was the prettiest blue/green shade!

We enjoyed the views

And cooled off a little bit too!

On to more driving....

Continue the "Yosemite & More" tour with Captain to our next spot: Mono Lake!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Mammoth Fun

Part 2 of our long weekend continues with Mammoth Lakes and Mammoth Mountain- an absolutely gorgeous part of the country.

We reached Mammoth Mountain Friday evening of our trip (after a long day exploring Yosemite), and stayed at the Mammoth Mountain Inn. My husband and I actually ran a fun 6K mud run Saturday morning... it was tough and dirty! Captain enjoyed napping in the room (we wore him out a little running around Mammoth Mountain in the morning; and we always bring his comfy kennel when we travel to make him feel at home), while we ran up a ski slope, under logs, and through pits of mud with other crazy runners ;-). Afterwords, we all enjoyed an awesome festival in the very cute Mammoth Village, with live music, beer, wine, food, plenty of sun, and lots of other dogs too! Mammoth loves dogs!

For Mammoth dog information, see the "Paws In Mammoth" webpage- here are a few things you can do with your dog in Mammoth:

Here's a bit of what we did:

Checking out the view on top of Mammoth Mountain:

Later in the day, we explored the Mammoth Lakes... (specifically, we were in the Mammoth Lakes Basin, and saw Twin Lakes, Lake Mary, Lake George, and Horseshoe Lake.... that's a lot of lakes!)

While I decided to dip my feet in the (ice cold!) water, Captain had more important things to do... there were squirrels to hunt!

You definitely would not run out of things to do in Mammoth (more info on sights here). My husband and I joked (while sipping a Mai Tai in Mammoth Village after our mud run, enjoying the sun, music, and dog-friendly outdoor dining) that we should move there. Captain sure liked it! We even met 2 new Vizsla pals (Amber and Bella!)

Next up in the adventures of Captain: find out where this leads to...

For dog-friendly locations and reviews for the area, see the Fido Factor Mammoth Page.
For dog-friendly travel information for Yosemite, Mammoth, and Stanislaus area, click here.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Weekend Warrior

Ready, set, National Park time! We took our long weekend a little before Labor Day Weekend this year, and headed East to explore Yosemite National Park, Mammoth Lakes, and Stanislaus National Forest for the first time. We packed as much as possible into our 3-day trip!

Here's the first part of it: Yosemite National Park. Hold on to your Vizslas, this page has more photos than I've ever put in one post!

For more information on dog-friendliness of the park and surrounding areas, check out this post (originally a guest post on the Fido Factor blog).

We were so excited to head out!

Once we entered Yosemite (yippeee!), we did the Yosemite Valley Loop, and there certainly was a lot to see!

Yosemite Valley View

  I'm no Ansel Adams, but the views everywhere you looked were astounding. The entire place was just amazing. Note that for National Parks, dogs aren't allowed on hiking trails... a sad fact, but it was so hot, and our time was limited, so we weren't too upset. For pet information in Yosemite, see their pet page (or my post!)

Half Dome
Half Dome is so impressive! And can be seen from many places throughout the park. I think we *might* have enjoyed this part of our trip more than Captain.  Although, he did get a lot of attention from other visitors to the park- especially people who were missing their dogs at home!

Mule Deer

 I was pretty excited to see Mule Deer many times, and got about 10 ft away from this one. Captain stayed in the car for this part - I'm pretty sure he would have "disturbed the wild life" if he saw this guy!

 It was a HOT day, and Captain's tongue was out for most of it ;-)

There was a lot of driving. Time to stretch out the legs at Olmsted Point . . .

. . . and then pose for some pictures . . .

. . . and enjoy the views.

We'll finish off Yosemite with the amazing Toulumne Meadows:

Have we overwhelmed you with pictures???

As you can tell, there are too many pictures from this trip to fit into one post, so we'll do one for each spot. Next up: Mammoth Lakes, CA.

Hope everyone has a fabulous Labor Day Weekend! ... And, sorry if we made you jealous ;-) Captain says he likes the next part better anyway, since he got to do more running.