Page 26 - Worthing Lifestyle Jul:Aug 2019
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  "YOSEMITE IS ON A MONUMENTAL SCALE, TRULY THERE ARE FEW PLACES SO VAST AND WILD THAT CAN BE E X P L O R E D S O E A S I L Y . "
some amazing fluffy frittatas, freshly baked breads and lots of fresh fruit) and hit the road for Yosemite. The drive is an interesting one, taking you through an incredible breadth
of landscapes - you see the farming heart of California in the wide open fields of Salinas, with their never-ending expanses of sky. Then you happen, almost without incident, upon the San Luis Reservoir, an extraordinary man-made lake flanked by steep green hills. Finally, you have the procession of American roadside towns, with their straight highways and quaint store names and florescent-lit corner Seven-Elevens. Of course you can sense Yosemite is
not far away as you begin to climb through hills on more precarious country roads. By this point it was fairly dark and I can't comment on the landscape, but I was certainly pleased when we found home for the next three nights - the Evergreen Lodge Hotel.
The Evergreen Lodge is an extraordinary base camp to explore Yosemite - it’s a short forty minute hop to the park entrance (because of the scale of the park, that is a short distance!) and is itself such fantastic base - the lodges
are all perfectly appointed, with woodburners and cosy
soft furnishings and the site is filled with activities for kids (and the inner child - I had to take a turn on the zip wire), has a lovely heated pool and games area. The hotel also has a fantastic bar and restaurant, perfect for those tasty American classics you’re craving after a day of hiking, and a nightly free s'mores hour, where you can embrace your inner kid once more and roast a marshmallow on the campfire.
The guides within the hotel can help advise you on how to make the most of your time in Yosemite, helping you plan waypoints for the best viewpoints for classic sights like El Capitan, Yosemite Falls and the Half Dome, alongside some hikes for all levels of ability. The park is on a monumental scale, truly there are few places so vast and wild that can be explored so easily, so definitely set aside at least three days to make sure you see as much as possible. During
our visit, the last of the spring snows were still melting so some trails were closed, but we still got to see the most spectacular views in that soft spring light - some parts of the park were still so quiet that we could observe a Yosemite Fox trying to catch its prey in the snow. If you find the time, there’s also lots to explore just out of the park, including Hetch Hetchy which is only 20 minutes along a spectacular, and spectacularly narrow, valley road from the hotel. Hetch Hetchy is a glacial valley and man-made reservoir and has some fantastic trails around it of various lengths, perfect for any fitness level and is utterly beautiful.
One of our favourite hikes in Yosemite was a short, flat loop trail to the Mirror Lakes. The walk is something out of a fairytale - huge mossy boulders from pre-historic landslides line the paths and the trail is punctuated by postcard-perfect log cabins springing forth from the trees. Eventually the canopy opens up and you step out into a clearing, before you the image of a mountain reflected perfectly in the pool below.
After hiding in the forests for a few days, it was time to return to reality and head toward another classic Californian destination - wine country. Seeing the sun-drenched vineyards of Napa and Sonoma were a must and so we set forth on the 3.5 hour drive north to Sonoma. Unfortunately, my visions of golden fields and verdant vines was shattered by a passing storm and driving rain, so the warm embrace of another Four Sister's Inn property was most welcome
- especially as we had timed our arrival for wine hour - we seemed to have a knack for this! The Inn at Sonoma is perfectly located if you are looking to explore the city itself - you can park up and forget about the car, wondering into town to visit the many wineries right on the doorstep. The choice can be a little overwhelming, so the hotel staff are
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Clockwise, from top left: Humpback in Monterey, views in Point Lobos State Park, the famous Bixby Creek Bridge near Big Sur, Mirror Lake in Yosemite
 




















































































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