June Lake to Yosemite
Between our engrossing Death Valley road trip and the winds of San Francisco, we stopped at one of our surprise itineraries: June Lake. It was one of the loveliest discoveries we made on our journey, it being a small and quiet town with picturesque vistas of snow-peaked mountains, waterfalls, and two delightfully bucolic lakes: June and Gull.
It felt good to be back in the countryside after so much desert and sprinkled gravel. The sweet rustic smell of pine trees was invigorating, giving us a chance to remember old childhood trails and forgotten secrets scratched in hollow tree trunks.
We stayed at the June Lake Motel, in a big and comfortable room a few minutes away from the placid lake waters and the many ducks scattered by its shores. It’s a popular town for nature-lovers and fishing enthusiasts, whom we saw arrive in big pickup trucks full to the brim with outdoor paraphernalia.
After a good night’s sleep, we embarked on yet another road trip through natural wonders. This time, we would cross Yosemite National Park. We chose the Tioga Pass as our entrance, close to Mono Lake and the ghost town of Bodie. The price was the usual 20$ for the car, valid for 7 days. It’s a winding, beautiful drive, adorned with resplendent mountain ranges and the eerie, untarnished glow of Sierra Nevada.
We made quite a few stops along the way, to take in the peaceful views and gaze at several deer roaming the high meadows, indolently lifting their heads to the casual tourist, only to hop away along a pristine creek. They are soothing to the soul, these encounters with wandering creatures in ancestral lands…
As we made our way West, we came across Olmsted Point, providing us with a breathtaking panorama of Clouds Rest and the notorious Half Dome. Stretching into the horizon was a valley overshadowed by gargantuan boulders, a rugged nest of slumbering granite giants.
Since the road leading to the iconic El Capitan monolith would take us further from San Francisco, we did not get a chance to see one of Yosemite’s signature attractions. However, we felt our slow drive through the Tioga Pass had enough merit on its own. The tree-lined roads and the sudden appearance of immaculate lakes and imposing granite boulders at random corners made for an arresting experience, which we highly recommend to anyone with a longing for genuine beauty.