The Beginning and End: Vernal Falls

IMG_83867.23 mi from the shuttle bus stop, to the top of Vernal Falls, and back to the shuttle bus stop. The last memories I have of Vernal Falls were steep steps, my dad, and the serene stillness of a quiet river before falling over the cliff.

According to my dad, he remembers heading up to the top of Vernal Falls with my mom, me, and my brother. My mom pulled back long before climbing the stairs, “She was on her hands and knees ready to throw up.” my dad said. My dad continues on… “I had to carry your brother and hold your hand all the way up.” If that is true, hats off to my dad and that he was able to make it to the top. That is one hard hike… in both directions.

I did not know what to expect that morning, For starters, I was concerned about my body’s reaction to exercising because I do not consume carbs/sugar as my main energy source. Also, I psyched myself out that I would be like my mom; bending over a rock throwing up my morning coffee.

However, to my surprise, the sign at the foot of trail indicate that the hike to the top was only 1.5 mi. Easy, right? On the contrary. That was the hardest 1.5 mi I have hiked in a long time. It took almost the entire hike up before my muscles got used to the incline and my 2nd wind did not kick-in until after I reached the last section of stairs to the finish line.

A word of warning to those who are as athletic; hiking down the falls was another story and much worse. I remember Chris’ dad, Tom, taking a tumble at Saratoga Springs and blaming his “stopping muscles,” for the fall. Well, I know exactly what Tom was talking about! I am laughing because it is so true!

I had such an awesome time in Yosemite, and this one trip has inspired me to do more hiking excursions around the Bay Area.

 

Love, jennifer

 

 

 

Resting Place of Hummingbirds

The meaning is from the Ohlone tribe word Umunhum. Although I did not see any humingbirds, it was amazing to finally have the chance to explore the radar tower I have seen from the valley floor.

A few Sunday’s ago, I took an evening stroll up to the fourth highest peak in the Santa Cruz Mt. range, Mount Umunhum. Mount Umunhum was used as a radar surveillance post to watch hostile aircraft during the Cold War and was never opened to the public. However,  after some federal funding afforded construction cleanup, the tower area opened to the public in September 2017.

The drive up Hicks Road to the parking lot is ~30 minute (if you are in town). From the parking lot, there are two options to reach the radar tower, drive up the hill and drop off or climb up 159 steps… I opted for the stairs.

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This is the concrete tower that sits on top of the mountain and is visible from the valley.

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A ceremonial circle was built to honor the Amah Mustun Indians who lived on this land. The mountain is considered a sacred place.

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Visitors stacking rocks.

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Love, Jennifer 

Easter Saturday

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Mom’s 7 Dessert Selection

I received the invitation from my dad through my work email. I was delighted to see a message from my father first thing in the morning. Of course I skipped all priorities and opened his email; I was eager to read what he had to say.

My parents were inviting me and Elderberry to their house on the 31st for dinner. In the message was a list of other invited guests and a menu… mom is making pasta with shrimp and three desserts.  EOM.

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Stuck in the Bay Area Traffic

Obviously my dad is not long winded when it comes to written correspondence. I feel lucky if I receive an email from him that is three sentences. His email was like any other email I get from him. However, I still have hope that one day I will read “How have you been?” But that level of interest was not going to happen today.

 

The weeks leading up to Easter Saturday passed quickly and before I knew it, Elderberry and I were driving to Sacramento for pasta with shrimp and three desserts… did I mention? We are not diabetic.

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My son

Visiting Sunol

I made a trip out to Sunol to attend a Sisterberry birthday celebration complete with family, food, discussions, and love.

Sunol…I remember when my cousin first introduced me to the town. The introduction came shortly after she made a decision that she wanted to purchase a house in the area. From her place in Fremont, we drove Niles Canyon Road into Sunol. The small rural town looks and feels as if you are hours away from the Bay Area, knowing it is only a 30 minute drive back home.

While sightseeing the unique homes and the surrounding land, we ended our visit at Elliston Vineyards; a self-guided walk through of the home and tasting some of their best wines. If you are ever reaching for that bit of country, mountains, or land get away, Sunol never seems to disappoint.

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Creekside currents. Courtesy of Geoff Mitchell

The Clan of the Sisterberrys took an afternoon hike to the end of the street and continued up the hill until the dirt path we followed had ended.

As we watched Sir running from one sniffing point to another, Foragerberry (the middle berry) gathered mushroom, bay leaves, and wild flowers; items she said she could feed to father.

On the way back down, we passed Casa de Pollo, collected Geoff, and continued our walk down the road following the creek.

Thanks to the past rains dumping a lot of water in the Bay Area, the local creek had a good flow and interesting views. Love me some Berries!

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The Sisterberries. Courtesy of Elderberry
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The Shack. Geoff Mitchell
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Chickenberry. Geoff Mitchell