Become One With Nature
The Dana Point Festival of Whales gives you an opportunity to marvel at some of the planet’s most majestic creatures. The event will be held this upcoming weekend in addition to next weekend, giving you some visit options. The Festival, now in its 48th rendition, combines a parade and street fair in addition to letting you venture out into the sea to do some whale watching.
Watch Some Whales
Taken from the Dana Point Festival of Whales website: “Excursions depart every hour, on the hour, from 8 AM to 4 PM during the Festival weekends and every trip is approx. 2 hours. Prices: Adults $45, Senior and Military $35, Children 3-12 years $29, Children 2 and under are always FREE. Use promo code Fow19 save $10 off all tickets excludes special 8am and 4pm trips. For reservations call 888-224-0603 or check out our schedule and purchase online.”
So not only can you check out some typical, fun parade and street fair action, you can make your way onto the water as well. The event will contain musical performances and some tasty food. There’s a special clam chowder cook-off that I am particular excited about.
The Festival Events
A full listing of festival events can be found right here.
You’ll be able to participate in an Arts & Culture Festival and Historical Walking Tour of Dana Point in addition to everything else previously mentioned. Take advantage of this chance to find out more about the “Whale Capital of the West.”
The Echo Park Lotus Festival
It’s a time of celebration in Echo Park this weekend. From 12 to 9pm on both Saturday and Sunday, Echo Park Lake is the place to be. First of all, the Echo Park Lake’s beloved floating flowers are about to bloom into a majestic sight. Secondly, beyond that this event will bring in tasty food, great music, and exciting dragon boat races to an already beautiful occasion. Moreover, The Echo Park Lotus Festival promises to be fun for the whole family. The dragon boats promise to be a neat sight. Dragon boats are the basis of the team paddling sport of dragon boat racing. And it is a watersport which has its roots in an ancient folk ritual of contending villagers, which has been held for over 2000 years throughout southern China.
Celebrate Great Culture
Finally, the historic event celebrates the contributions of Asian-Americans to L.A.. This year, the celebration’s 38th, will honor the Chinese community. The dragon boat races are one way in which The Echo Park Lotus Festival does this. Furthermore, the boats were traditionally made in the Pearl River Delta region of China’s southern Guangdong Province out of teakwood to various designs and sizes. So people watching the event will get direct exposure to some interesting and historical Chinese culture.
We have arrived at the end of my Yosemite trip coverage. And, of course, I have saved the best for last. Waking up at the crack of dawn we set out towards our hiking goal–the Cathedral Lakes. A two hour drive through windy roads (an hour of which was within Yosemite) and we began our trek on foot. However, let me just mention that the drive was equal parts thrilling and majestic. It’s not for the faint of heart; those who don’t enjoy the twist and turns of a mountain road, but the sights are quite impressive.
After the long drive, you finally arrive at the beginning of the hike which is right by the amazing Tuolumne Meadows.
The temperature difference between the Yosemite Valley and the meadows are readily apparent. All you need to do is open the car door. However, the true culprit is the altitude difference. If I remember correctly the meadows are at around 8500 feet and the Upper and Lower Cathedral Lakes, 9300 to 9600 feet. It can definitely get a little chilly up there. In addition, during the hike, the higher elevation will initially make your climb a bit more difficult breathing wise.
The beginning of the hike is probably one of its toughest sections. It took me a while to acclimate to the uphill climb, thinner air, and the provision-filled backpack. I broke a sweat. If you ever attempt the hike, just know that it does get easier after the start. Once past the tough start you are greeted by some great visuals.
A lot of the hiking trails down in the Yosemite are a bit crowded with fellow hikers. It’s nice too know you’re not alone out there, but there is certainly serenity in solitude. Luckily, the Cathedral Lakes hike offers a pretty nice middle ground. You can see enough people to know you’re going in the right direction, but also get some alone time. During one of these quieter moments we were lucky enough to see some deer.
About 9ish miles and several hours later we were able to complete the hike and return to the car for some much needed rest. We definitely felt like the drive and the hike were completely worth it for the sights we saw. I certainly recommend this hike.
Thanks for reading about my Yosemite trip. I hope it was fairly interesting and informative. If you have the time and means to make it out to Yosemite some time, do it. You will not regret it. I know i’ll be coming back as soon as I can.
Yosemite Valley is probably the most easily accessible area in the national park. As soon as you drive past the park rangers at the entrance you’re well on your way to Yosemite Valley. Although something to keep in mind is that at the entrance you have to pay about $30 for park access (lasts about a week). The really fantastic thing about the area is that the scenery makes the drive almost worth the trip itself.
On the way to Yosemite Valley, which houses a variety of different tourist friendly facilities and areas, you’ll be able to see the amazing monolith, El Capitan.
Drive a bit further and you’ll find parking lots as well as the visitor’s lodge and other areas of interest. There are campgrounds and lodges within the area in case you decide to stay within the park. Surprisingly, you can find an area with a public pool and adjacent to that, a place where you can rent bicycles by the hour or for the entire day. The whole area is quite gorgeous and has a bunch of walking and bike paths interlaced throughout.
Conveniently, in case you get tired of walking or biking around, there are buses that continuously stop along the valley and hit all the major sites. A fair warning though, the buses can crowd up a bit towards the end of the day.
A place that you should venture towards are the Happy Isles. This easy hiking area is one stop off of the road and takes you along a beautiful creek. You can walk along the various bridges and enjoy the sights.
Another cool place to check out is Mirror Lake. If you stop at Happy Isles there is even a hike you can take to it (about 3 miles). In the spring the Lake is apparently quite the sight given its ability to reflect the beautiful landscape. In the summer though, the lake was pretty dry. If you go there you can take beautifully ironic pictures just like me! At any rate, it is a stark reminder of just how dry California has been these last few years. And no matter where you go in the Yosemite Valley, you will find beautiful scenery.
Finally, in case you were worried about having to rough it out there in the valley, this is probably the most accessible part of Yosemite. There are locations by the lodges that have food and normal restrooms. Let’s call Yosemite Valley, Yosemite Lite. It’s still a great experience with poignant visuals, but you don’t really have to rough it like you would anywhere else. Next time I’ll bring things back to the town of Mariposa and mention how it served as our base of operations for the entire Yosemite experience.
And I’m back… my posting hiatus is over. I come bearing a deeper tan and a variety of bug bites. This past weekend I had the opportunity to visit the great Yosemite National Park for the first time. Coincidentally, today just so happens to be the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service. If I told you that I planned this trip to take advantage of such a notable occasion, I’d be lying. It honestly just worked out that way. I’ll definitely take the increased relevance, however.
In a series of posts I’d like to share my experiences, because I feel like they can provide some good information for those interested in checking out Yosemite in the near future.
The first thing I have to tell you is: prepare to drive…or have someone drive you. My girlfriend and I found and stayed in a town, Mariposa, which is about an hour outside of the entrance to Yosemite. I’ll go into more detail about Mariposa and our accommodations in a subsequent post.
However, driving up to Mariposa from Los Angeles will probably require anywhere between 4.5 to 6.5 hours depending on traffic. You need to take the 5 and the 99 as well, highways known for their sometimes desolate stretches. The enjoyment of a drive of this duration is largely dependent on your company, the availability of snacks, and the song selections. I generally lucked out in all of the aforementioned categories. Nevertheless, if you are given the opportunity to have someone drive you, I feel as though copilot and passenger are the preferred positions for this stretch of the road.
Over the next few days I’ll go over the specifics of my trip, with the hope that maybe someone will replicate it and have as much fun as I did. Tomorrow I’ll focus on the dramatic and picturesque scenery of the Yosemite Valley.