2010年12月25日 星期六

Yosemite Part 3 – The Intriguing Indoors~~

哎呀呀~ 竟然被催稿了!!Jessica,全部補齊了喔~~~ 不要再追殺我了~~~ (逃!!)


We knew there would be a storm coming in the day we were leaving, so we saved all the indoor activities for that day. It was cloudy when we got up that day, but no sign of snow yet. I wanted to head out before it started snowing, afraid that we would be trapped in the mountains. But there were so many things to see in Yosemite!!! Finally Sam said, “Well, we are here already, might as well enjoy it. Don’t think too much!!” And so we did.


每一次要進入Yosemite Village 都一定會經過Swinging Bridge,但是之前每次來都擠滿了人,所以我們沒有下車逗留。這一天也許是因為天氣不好遊客很少,我們抵達時竟然連一個人都沒有,Upper Yosemite Fall的大好美景全讓我們兩人獨自享受。不知道你們會不會覺得雪地裡的安靜總讓人感覺更加的寧靜祥和,我是這麼覺得,連大聲講話都不敢,深怕打擾了這一片平靜。從路邊還可以看見優勝美地國家公園裡第一座被列入美國歷蹟名錄的 Yosemite Chapel,這是公園裡最老的建築,聽說還真的有人千里迢迢跑來這裡結婚~~

We always drove by Swinging Bridge every time we enter Yosemite Valley, but it was always full of people, so we never stopped. Maybe it was because of the weather, there wasn’t a single soul when we arrived that day. The beautiful scenery of Upper Yosemite Fall was ours to enjoy. I always felt it especially calm and peaceful  in the snow. Anything louder then whispering would spoil with quietness.

Yosemite Chapel was just down the road. This building was the first structure in the Park to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places. I’ve heard people actually do come all this way to get married here!! How romantic!!

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另一個被列入美國歷蹟名錄的Ahwahnee Hotel 跟Chapel 簡單的風格完全相反,它的宏偉華麗正是它吸引人之處。因為積雪我沒能去外面拍照,就只好翻拍明信片充數。但光從停車場到大廳的長廊就能體會到自己從背包客升格變成貴婦的感覺,紅地毯一路延伸到入口。是低,這是優勝美地裡面的高級旅館,光看服務生整齊的制服就知道,住宿的價格也相當的高級!!但是不住宿也沒關係,它的大廳是開放給所有遊客使用的。裡面處處可見印第安風格的圖案 (Ahwahneechee 就是早期住在Yosemite Valley 中印第安種族的名字),挑高的大廳、大片的玻璃窗越顯出它的宏偉。但最讓人印象深刻的是它超大的壁爐,特別是在這寒冷的冬天更顯得溫暖,也是大人小孩最愛的場所。

Ahwahnee Hotel, another building listed in the National Register of Historic Places, is totally opposite of the Chapel’s simple style. The grandness and magnificent façade is what made it so unique!! Its design is a blend of  Art Deco, Native American, Middle Eastern and Arts & Crafts Movement. From the long red carpet at the entrance to the neat uniform waiters in the dining room, you can tell this is a very high end (and pricey) hotel!!! But do not fear!! It’s Great Lounge is opened to all visitors. The huge windows showcase nearby sceneries, and the oversized fireplaces were the favorite places for people of all ages to gather~~

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Ahwahnee Hotel 另一個出名之處是它的餐廳。要注意的是它一共有Ahwahnee Bar 以及Ahwahnee Dining Room 兩個用餐的地方,我們第二天中午本來想去的是比較正式的Ahwahnee Dining Room,但是山姆大叔為了搶位子一整個衝太快,還沒搞清楚狀況就衝到Ahwahnee Bar 裡去了。但結果卻是出人意表的好吃,特別是那晚火雞南瓜湯,那滋味真是令人難忘!!

Ahwahnee Hotel is also famous of its food. There are two place to dine there, the Ahwahnee Bar and Ahwahnee Dining Room. We actually planned to only eat at Ahwahnee Dining Room while we were there, but Sam rushed in there too fast before checking out the situation, and mistakenly went to the Ahwahnee Bar. But it turned out to be a pleasant mistake. The food was actually really delicious, especially that turkey and squash soup, I’m still drilling over it right now just seeing the photo!!!

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當我們在Ahwahnee Bar 填飽肚子之後,便走到Ahwahnee Dining Room那一頭看看我們錯過了甚麼。在門外貼了一張大大的menu,菜色真的相當的豐富,價錢也相當精彩 – 早午餐buffet一個人要將近$50大洋!!當時我們內心相當的掙扎,因為這個早午餐真的還蠻有名的,光看排隊的人就知道應該不錯,但是價錢實在讓人有點卻步,到底要不要訂隔天的位置呢?這時山姆大叔的名言又出現了,既然已經來到這裡就不要想那麼多,反正就把兩個晚餐吃自己省下來的錢拿來吃這一餐吧!!後來發現其實是我們想太多,因為Grand Brunch 只有星期天才有,我們前一天會碰上是因為那天是Thanksgiving Day特別推出,而我們離開那天是星期六所以只有一般的早餐菜色。我們還是吃了Omelet Buffet,價錢便宜一半,有吃不完的Omelet、培根、香腸、鬆餅、果汁和咖啡或茶,服務的品質一流,餐廳的氣氛一流,也算是體驗到上流階層的生活啦~~ 建議各位要來這裡用餐最好事先預約,若是吃晚餐還得穿正式服裝才進的來喔!!

After finishing our lunch at the Ahwahnee Bar, we walked over to the Ahwahnee Dining Room just to check out what we had missed. There were a menu displayed by the entrance, its content sounded very interesting, its price was also very “interesting” – almost $50 per person for the Grand Brunch buffet!!!! So there we were standing in front of the menu struggling again. We heard of this Grand Brunch and really wanted to try it, but we’re not sure if the price is worth it. Should be reserve a table for the next day? Finally Sam said again, “Well, we are here already, might as well enjoy it. Don’t think too much!!” And so we did. But in the end it turned out that they only serve Grand Brunch on Sundays, and we went on a Saturday, so they only had regular breakfast menu. Their Omelet Buffet that we had was quite nice, though. It was only half the price of the Grand Brunch, served with endless omelet, bacon,  sausage, waffles, juice, and coffee or tea!! The service were great and the atmosphere were great!! If any of you would like to dine here, it’s better to make reservations ahead just in case, and remember there is a dress code for dinner!!

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It was snowing heavily after we finished our brunch. Sam was super happy to see the snow, taking pictures of it every where. It is so difficult to capture the lightness and playfulness of the snow by camera. It was so much prettier right then and there.

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在遊客中心旁邊有一間Ansel Adams Gallery,我跟山姆大叔說我一定要去朝拜一下。Ansel Adams是美國著名的攝影師,以拍黑白風景照出名,非常喜歡到美國各個國家公園取景,其中好幾幅出名的作品就是在優勝美地拍的。我從以前就非常喜歡它的作品,這次介紹山姆大叔認識,他應該也喜歡上了Ansel Adams,因為最後我們買了一張官方海報回家,現在就貢在我們家壁爐的上方。

There was a Ansel Adams Gallery by the Visitor’s Center. I told Sam we had to visit it. Ansel Adams was an American photographer and environmentalist, best known for his black-and-white photographs of the American West, especially in Yosemite National Park. I’ve always love his work, and Sam seemed to have fallen in love with his work as well, cause we ended up buying one of his official posters and now it is sitting above our fireplace~~

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在回程的路上我無意間拍了下面這張照片,回家後放大一看竟然有Ansel Adams黑白照的感覺!!要知道這可不是黑白設定喔!!而是白雪覆蓋了整個大地,讓其他深色的部分看起來全是灰黑色,遠方的El Capitan 霧濛濛的,竟也別有一番意境。

I took this photo on our way out without much thought. When I blew it up on my computer screen at home, it almost looked like one of those Ansel Adams’ black-and-white photos!!! But this was actually taken using colored setting. I did not modify it, either. The white snow had covered everything, which made all the darker shades looked grey!! This one might be my favorite photo from our trip~~


提到優勝美地的名人就不得不提一下John Muir,如果沒有他就沒有今日的優勝美地國家公園。他一生致力於美國西部森林的保育,就是他說服了羅斯福總統設立國家公園系統,並將優勝美地以及Sequoia 劃為國家公園。John Muir也因此被尊稱為美國國家公園之父。美國著名的自然保育組織Sierra Club 也是他建立的,而一條從Yosemite Valley 往南延伸211 英里 (340 km) 到Mount Whitney的John Muir Trail也是為了紀念他而命名的。公園內處處都可見到介紹他的資料,可見他對於優勝美地的重要性。

We could not not talk about John Muir when speaking of Yosemite. If it wasn’t for him, there won’t even be a Yosemite National Park. He devoted most of his time to the preservation of the Western forests, and petitioned the for the National Park Bill that was passed in 1899, establishing both Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks.  Therefore, he is today referred to as the "Father of the National Parks. He also founded the Sierra Club, which is now one of the most important conservation organizations in the United States. There were introductions about him every where in the Park. Even one of the most well-known hiking trails in the U.S., the 211-mile (340 km) John Muir Trail, was named in his honor.


如果說Ahwahnee Hotel是華麗的城堡,Wawona Hotel 就是舒適的夏日渡假別墅。這間旅館和Ahwahnee一樣,早年都是為了來優勝美地的遊客所設立的。我可以想像在這裡長長的走廊上擺滿了躺椅,遊客悠閒的在樹林裡散步。在這裡住宿還包早餐吃到飽,若是從南邊上來其實是一個不錯的中途站,就是離主要的Yosemite Vally遠了一點,特別是冬天,住在這裡進去還蠻花時間的。

If Ahwahnee Hotel is a luxurious castle,  Wawona Hotel would be a cozy summer house. Just like Ahwahnee, this hotel was also built in the early years for visitors to stay. I could imagine the long porch lined with lounge chairs in summer times, visitors strolling casually among the woods. If you stay here, you can also enjoy free breakfast buffet. It is a nice pit stop, but is kind of far from Yosemite Valley. It would be kind of time consuming traveling back and forth from the valley, especially during winter times.

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Yosemite Valley顧名思義就是坐落在一處山谷裡,因此要出山我們得一路從海拔將近4000英呎的Yosemite Valley爬到6000英呎的山上在往下走。一路大雪紛飛只能以龜速前進,在園區裡連個剷雪車的影子都沒有。好不容易降到5000英呎的Wawona時大雪也停了,然後越往下走雪便成了雨,望向來時的山上明顯的一條雪線,這還是我第一次看到這種現象呢!!

As of its name, Yosemite Valley is situated in a valley, so we had to clime from 4000 ft all the way to 6000 ft and back down. It was snowing heavily all the way, with no snow plows in sight. When we arrived at Wawona, the snow stopped, then it became rain. Looking back at the mountains, an obvious snow line atop the mountain. This is my first time seeing this phenomena, so intriguing~~

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It took us almost 11 hours to get home that day. It rained all the way making it more difficult. Sam drove most of the parts cause I can’t see that well at night, plus the rain made it worse. You can say he is very thoughtful, but I think he did it for his own safety!!!! ^^

2010年12月20日 星期一

Yosemite Part 2 – The Great Outdoors~

甚麼?你以為我已經介紹完了嗎?No、no、no,這才剛開始呢!!優勝美地的園區雖大,但在冬天很多路卻都不開放,因此能夠參觀的景點基本上都集中在Yosemite Valley 那一小區。雖然能玩的地方變少了,但是遊客也比夏天少很多不用到處跟別人擠,住宿也比較便宜,算是各有利弊吧!!是說我們也只來三天,就算所有的景點都有開放,我們也沒辦法都去啦~~ (自我安慰中....) 在Yosemite Valley 這區一年四季都有免費公車接駁遊客到各個景點實在非常的方便,特別是在冬天不用自己在結冰的路面上開車,感覺上安全許多。

Did you think I was done with talking about Yosemite?! No, no, no!!! I’ve just started!!!! Due to the high elevation, many areas in Yosemite were closed for winter, so most of the area we could visit were around Yosemite Valley. There were shuttle buses that stop at every main attraction within the Valley, and I found it very convenient, especially during winter, when the roads were all frozen!!!!


第二天一早我們從西邊140的入口進入園區,仍不忘充分發揮觀光客的本領到處停下來拍照~~ 我想我們還沒有完全從看見雪的興奮中清醒過來,總覺得這裡的景色怎麼都那麼美啊!!!

We entered from the west entrance the second day, and were still under the spill of the beautiful scenery. We stop frequently taking photos along the way,   totally acting like tourists!!!!!

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就在園區內的路上我們碰見了這個傢伙!!其實這是我們這兩天來差點撞到的第二隻鹿,前一天晚上的那隻更是驚險,若是我們開得快一點就真的撞上去了!!這是 Mule Deer,優勝美地裡只有這一種鹿。而這裡的鹿似乎都不太怕人,這個傢伙就這樣好整以暇的在大馬路上散步,蹬蹬蹬的從我們車旁走過。

Then we bumped into this fellow in the Park!! This was actually the second deer we almost hit in two days!!! There was one the night before which came really close!!! We would have hit him if we went any faster!!! Mule deer is the only kind of deer you can find in Yosemite. They didn’t seem to be afraid of people too much. This fellow was totally taking a walk on the road, pasting our car with casual~~

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因為這天天氣相當的好,我們決心要挑戰冬季園區簡介上所有的景點。這包含了三個還算簡單的hiking,雖然都是短短的一英里、兩英里,但是步道都沒有剷雪還整個結冰,而我們穿的也只是一般的球鞋,因此困難度增加不少 (話說第一天山姆大叔只是走去看公車路線牌就在站牌前摔了一大跤啊!!當時,真糗!!)。最恐怖的就是上下坡的步道結冰了根本無法行走,我們都在冰上滑倒好幾次,大家都得爬到欄杆外走在雪地上才不會滑倒,下坡時山姆大叔乾脆坐下來用溜的,實在有夠天才~~

Because the weather was so nice that day, we decided to hit as much scenic spots as we could!! This included 3 trails, nothing too challenging, each only one or two miles long. But it turned out to be a bit more difficult then we thought it would be!! We only have regular sneakers on and the trails were frozen with ice one some parts. The most challenging part was going up and down the hills, people had to  climb over the railing and walk on snow to stay on their feet. We both slipped and fell a few times, and Sam had enough of it!!! So he simply sat down and slide down the hill!!! It was so funny to watch!!!

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據說Bridalveil Fall終年有水不會乾枯,春天水多時水氣被風吹起就像新娘的頭紗一般因而得名。從照片真的很難感受到現場的氣勢,就在我們拿相機猛拍的時候,瀑布旁的冰突然轟隆隆的掉下來一大塊,聲勢還挺嚇人的。

It is said that water would never dry up at Bridalveil Fall. In fact the water is so copious during spring time that when wind blows, this mist is like a bride’s veil. Just as we were taking photos, a huge piece of ice by the fall fell and the rumbling echoed in the valley putting on a show. It was quite awesome!!!

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另一個一定要去看的就是Lower Yosemite Fall。這段步道很漂亮,應該是來優勝美地一定要來的景點。穿過一片松樹林、跨過一座小橋,轉個彎赫然出現在眼前的,就是上下兩段的 Yosemite Falls 。步道一路延伸到 Lower Yosemite Falls的山腳下,融雪造成的溪流清澈見底,我知道我已經說過很多次了,但就是一整個美啊!!

If you came to Yosemite and didn’t walk the Lower Yosemite Fall Trail, you might as well not come at all. This was a easy walk to see beautiful sceneries in the Park. There were tall pine forests, small bridges over crystal clear creeks, and of course, awesome views of the Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls!!!

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等公車時回望Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls,以及遠方的Half Dome。

Looking back at the Falls and Half Dome while waiting for the shuttle.

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Mirror Lake 位於Yosemite Valley 東邊,就在Half Dome 山腳下。平時的車道完全被雪覆蓋,現在變成人走的步道。我們就是在這裡又近距離的遇見一隻鹿,牠的目標是到湖邊的樹叢尋找晚餐,對身邊一大群圍觀的遊客完全視若無睹....。

Mirror Lake is located on the east end of Yosemite Valley, just under the foot hills of Half Dome. As we were walking on the snow-covered driveway, we saw another Mule Deer (I was the first one who spotted it, by the way~~). It came down the hills and crossed the path just a few feet in front of us, walking straight toward the bushes by the water to find dinner, totally ignoring all the flashing cameras around him~

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When we finally arrived at the lake, sun was starting to set already.  Half Dome reflecting from the lake, mist raising from the river. It was so quiet, so peaceful, so calm.

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若是各位想在冬天挑戰難度更高的步道,遊客中心旁的商店有雪鞋 (Snowshoes) 及滑雪用具可租。我覺得外國人他們都很厲害,年紀小小的就跟著爸媽出來在雪地健行,還有人帶著小寶寶來耶!!!當我們在結冰的步道上行走時還看見小孩就坐在爸爸的肩膀上,看得我膽戰心驚的,深怕他們一個不小心小孩就摔了下來,果然真的就有一位爸爸滑倒了,還好跌倒時小孩剛好坐到爸爸身上....。所以我個人覺得除非做爸媽的有一直要背小孩的覺悟,冬天的優勝美地實在不適合小小孩來,我想,是我的話還是在一旁陪小孩堆堆雪人就好了吧...。

There’s also a sports shop by the visitor center that rents snow shoes and skis for those who would like to challenge the more difficult trails. I personally admire all the people I see taking their small kids with them on the hikes. I don’t know if I would have the courage to do that. If it’s up to me, I would just enjoy the snow by building a snowman and then hide back into the warm cabin with a cup of hot cocoa in hand!!

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