Spring break was the best because we got to go to Yosemite National park, walked on the Golden Gate Bridge and go to Rutherford Grill. In Yosemite National Park we saw the Grizzly Giant. We walked 6 miles in the snow, and it took forever. We saw tons of rock formations.
On the Golden Gate Bridge we did not hike that far because we were so tired. At Rutherford Grill I had a yummy dinner of rice and ribs. At the coast, we went to the beach. It was so fun because we saw tide pools. We saw some sea creatures in them like some clams and stuff like that.
Our plan was to hike through the Muir Woods in the morning and check out the redwood trees. Little did we know that this outdoor area now requires reservations to park. The Great California Shutdown means that no workers could be present to verify parking reservations, and so of course, an outdoor hiking area had to be closed.
So we headed down to the Marin Headlands a little earlier than planned. I had hoped for some nice pictures of the bridge and the city, but the morning sun was still in front of us. We hiked around Battery 129 at the top of the hill. The boys desperately wanted to get into the old bunkers to find what they were sure would be secret tunnels filled with hidden treasure. Alas, the entrances were all sealed off, so no treasure hunting on this day!
Next we went down for an obligatory walk across the bridge. It turned out to be a beautiful spring day in the city. When the boys saw Alcatraz, they lamented the tour that was supposed to be one of the highlights of the trip. We then went for a stroll along Fisherman’s Wharf to check out the sea lions. Since all of the stores and attractions were closed, we went for a little drive around the city, from Lombard Street to the Presidio, where we paused for one more family picture before heading off to the airport.
Nothing about this trip went as we had planned several months ago, but yet everything seemed to work out. We had a great time, saw some wonderful sights, and as far as we can tell all survived without catching any new virus. We’re sure to come back someday, but for now, it’s back to Denver, and more snow…
Here we are again, off to Napa Valley. This time, we were joined by our friends John and Carolyn Benyshek. The trip started out with our typical run around the Golden Gate and a climb up the Marin Headlands. Then we spent a couple of days exploring Sonoma County. We took a hike through Armstrong Woods near Guerneville, and drove out to the Pacific Coast Highway. We had beautiful weather, as usual.
We took the Benysheks on our usual tour of favorite wineries, including Chateau Montelena, Paradigm, Frog’s Leap, Pride, and Barnett. I think we made converts of both of them (even though Carolyn doesn’t drink). We just may have a future as tour guides in wine country. I can imagine worse ways to make a living…
May was time for our annual pilgrimage to Napa Valley. This is now our 4th annual visit, always timed around Chris’ birthday in May. These long weekends have become a very welcome tradition, and we’re really starting to know our way around. We start off with an afternoon around San Francisco and just have to walk across the Golden Gate and scale the Marin headlands. Then it’s off to wine country.
Two significant new discoveries this year were Chateau Montelena and Pride Mountain Vineyards. Both are known for excellent cabernet sauvignon, so we were right at home. You may remember that Chateau Montelena was one of the stars of the 1976 Paris tasting, where the upstart Americans shocked the French. You can tour the wonderful old ivy-covered winery and walk around Jade Lake, which has been landscaped as a Japanese garden.
Pride Mountain sits on top of Spring Mountain, and strattles the Napa and Sonoma County lines. The elevation really seems to add power to the wine. Everything was fantastic, and as you can see from the pictures below, the scenery is drop-dead gorgeous. It isn’t cheap, but if you have any interest in wine whatsoever, you owe it to yourself to visit Pride! Lara and I became instant disciples.