A Month in Silicon Valley: Part 2

After two weeks on the roads at the San Francisco Bay Area, we started to travel to farther locations, as we will see in this second part of my travel log.

Yosemite National Park

Our farthest adventure on this trip was our visit to Yosemite National Park1. By suggestion of Johnny, another of our local teammates, we searched accommodation near Mariposa2, one of the towns nearby the Park. Although there is accommodation or camping zones inside the park, stays outside the park are cheaper. We ended up renting a cabin located 45 minutes away by car.

We are ready for the weekend.

We are ready for the weekend.

After a lot of driving (more than 5 hours) and missing the entrance to our cabin and ending up in an abandoned house from a generic horror videogame, we finally arrived to our destination. Luckily, we avoided human interaction again, as the keys for our cabin were left on a table besides a note.

The spook is real.

The spook is real.

Cabin # 4.

Cabin # 4.

Day 1: Vernal Fall and Nevada Fall

Once inside the park we noticed two things: you have to fight for a parking spot3 and we had cellphone signal, something we didn't have on our cabin. It seems that the park would lose all of the millennial market share if they didn't have it. Empowered by 4G signal, we started our hike to trail of Vernal Fall4 and Nevada Fall5. They are both part of the Merced River, but the first one is located halfway in the path to the second one. Furthermore, the trail difficulty goes up in the second half. As the only reasonable option was to take the difficult alternative, our plan for the day was to take the trail up to the Nevada Fall.

Even if the trail we chose was harder than the average, it was crowded, so you didn't have a moment totally alone. This contrasts with my previous experience on other National Parks. The crowd and the time of the day when we arrived to Vernal Fall made it difficult to take good photos. On the other hand, the situation was much better at Nevada Fall: we were at a way better time and it was spacier, so avoiding the crowd was much easier.

My teammates taking the classic tourist-y photos on Vernal Fall with their new cameras.

My teammates taking the classic tourist-y photos on Vernal Fall with their new cameras.

Nevada Fall.

Nevada Fall.

The light before sunset is pretty nice for photography.

The light before sunset is pretty nice for photography.

After taking the “I was there” photos, we started to walk back to avoid that the night fell when we were on the trail.

Day 2: Tioga Pass

For our second day, we adventured to the Tioga Pass Area. Because the hike of the previous day was pretty tiring, we picked our destinies to only do light hikes. After analyzing the map, we chose Dog Lake6 as our first destination. Even though it is not the pretties landscape, we found a tiny frog and I was entertained following it to take a picture.

Dog Lake.

Dog Lake.

This frog seemed to not want her picture taken.

This frog seemed to not want her picture taken.

Even if our first hike was light, the next ones were even easier: they were stops at the side of the road. One of the was Lake Tenaya7.

Our mission here is finished.

Our mission here is finished.

I really liked the clouds that day.

I really liked the clouds that day.

As our last stop, we went to Olmsted Point8. There, ravens walked near the parked cars (maybe to try to steal something >:3).

After a lot of walking between the cars, this raven posed for a moment, so I could take his photo.

After a lot of walking between the cars, this raven posed for a moment, so I could take his photo.

View from Olmsted Point.

View from Olmsted Point.

That concluded our visit to Yosemite. After that, another 5 hours drive awaited us.

The last weekend

In our last weekend, we tried to to optimize the places to visit, so we went to two different places: Big Basin Park and San Francisco.

Saturday: Big Basin

Big Basin Redwoods State Park9 is located halfway between Silicon Valley and the coast, but the road is very narrow and full of curves. The day of our visit had some light rain, but nothing that impeded a hike, so we started the longest one-hour hike ever (SPOILER: it took us three hours).

As a side story, on our way to the park, a red sport car overtook us on a curve, even when we were at the speed limit and the road was wet. We didn't saw the red car again, so we hope that the driver is safe.

All you can see is forest.

All you can see is forest.

This is a tipical view of the forest.

This is a tipical view of the forest.

In the forest, there is life of all sizes.

In the forest, there is life of all sizes.

Sunday: San Francisco Again

In this visit to San Francisco, we decided to wander in downtown, so we chose the Palace of Fine Arts 10 as our operations center (i.e., as our parking). At the center of the Palace, there is a classic style dome11 surrounded by a decent sized lagoon. Once we parked, we went for lunch. Thanks to the arcane magics of Google Maps, we ended up eating pizza.

The ceiling of the Palace of Fine Arts's Dome.

The ceiling of the Palace of Fine Arts's Dome.

The lagoon surrounding the Palace.

The lagoon surrounding the Palace.

After regaining energy, we resumed our walk by San Francisco's hills, but they aren't too friendly to walk on (well, they aren't friendly to drive on either). After a short break on Alta Plaza Park12 and after one of our teammates stopped to check the scores of Colo-Colo's13 match, we went back to our car. As we were arriving to out parking location, we started to wee broken windows in other cars, so we commended ourselves to our favorite pagan deities and started to walk faster. Luckily, nothing happened to our car, but please don't leave any valuable inside your car if you go to San Francisco.

San Francisco viewed from Alta Plaza.

San Francisco viewed from Alta Plaza.

El Albo (Colo-Colo) is a passion.

El Albo (Colo-Colo) is a passion.

A typical street on the fancier areas of San Francisco.

A typical street on the fancier areas of San Francisco.

Berkeley

In the evening, we went to Stanford's natural rival, Berkeley University14. Even on a weekend, we found a lively campus. Even some street dance groups were rehearsing. The campus campanile catch my attention immediately, as it resembles the one in Universidad de Concepción15. Afterwards, I learned that the campanile in Concepción was built inspired in Berkeley's16.

Even at night on a weekend, the campus had life.

Even at night on a weekend, the campus had life.

Berkeley's campanile. Or maybe there is a portal to Concepción.

Berkeley's campanile. Or maybe there is a portal to Concepción.

Oakland's Bridge

To finish our weekend, we went to Oakland Bridge17. Although it is less famous than the Golden Gate, this bridge has other charms, specially on the light side. Halfway through the bridge, you can go to Yerba Buena Island18 and Treasure Island19. The latter is an ex military base that now houses some craft breweries, but we didn't have to visit them.

Yerba Buena Island connects to Oakland Bridge.

Yerba Buena Island connects to Oakland Bridge.

The view from Treasure Island.

The view from Treasure Island.

With other photo of a bridge, I finish the last part of my visit to Silicon. Hasta la próxima!


  1. Yosemite National Park on Wikipedia

  2. Mariposa, California on Wikipedia

  3. Oh! Surprise.

  4. Vernal Fall on Wikipedia

  5. Nevada Fall on Wikipedia

  6. Dog Lake (California) on Wikipedia

  7. Tenaya Lake on Wikipedia

  8. Olmsted Point on Wikipedia

  9. Big Basin Redwoods State Park on Wikipedia

  10. Palace of Fine Arts en Wikipedia

  11. Built by the greek natives of San Francisco [cita requerida].

  12. Alta Plaza en Wikipedia

  13. Colo-Colo en Wikipedia

  14. Universidad of California, Berkeley

  15. University of Concepción on Wikipedia

  16. Campanil (Universidad de Concepción) en Wikipedia (Spanish)

  17. San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge on Wikipedia

  18. Yerba Buena Island on Wikipedia

  19. Treasure Island, San Francisco on Wikipedia