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Califonia, USA

I am learning that California is pleasantly diverse and geologically quite remarkable.  From volcanoes - both active and ancient, to earthquake geology to fossil beds  to deep blue glacial lakes, scenic rugged coastlines, natural rock columns and towering granite domes and walls, California is one place I can spend many years exploring and still not be completely satisfied that I have seen it all.  Here are our explorations thus far....

Sierra Buttes and Sardine Lake, Lakes Basin, California

Sierra Buttes Fire Lookout Trail

The Sierra Buttes are a series of crags in the Lakes Basin in Northeastern California. At 8587 feet above sea level, the Buttes are the highest peaks in the Lakes Basin. The Buttes are composed of erosion-resistant rocks exploded from undersea volcanoes about 350 million years ago. Gold was mined here in the mid-to-late 1800’s. In 1869, a 106 pound gold nugget was uncovered near the Buttes.

Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum, San Jose, CA

Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum is an interesting museum in the Bay Area with real mummies, both human and animals, and many casts of different Egyptian artifacts. Though not a huge Museum, it is a good introduction to the Egyptian culture, in my opinion. There is a replica of a tomb below the museum, and a free guided tour daily (included in admission ticket), explaining the different burial practices.  Note the unfinished portion of the painting on the tomb wall near the right - which was not uncommon.  Ancient Egyptians had to be buried at 70 days after death, never longer, so the painters likely had to stop their work before it was finished when the 70th day arrived.

Chilnualna Falls, Wawona, Yosemite National Park, CA

We started our May long weekend at 10am at the trailhead at Chilnualna Falls. Parking was scarce, but we managed to snag one of the last two regular spots, lots more for creative parkers. Parking area and some of the road in was dirt/packed gravel with potholes, though our low clearance 2WD sedan made the journey just fine. A sign indicated the presence of mountain lions. Definitely keep kids close.

Glacier Point-Illilouette Falls-Nevada Falls, Yosemite National Park, CA

We started our day at Glacier Point just before 8am on a Sunday of the May long weekend. There was a huge parking lot, but it was already half full by the time we got there. We headed towards the viewpoints closeby. I was tickled to see Half Dome, Vernal and Nevada Falls across the valley. We hiked the Mist Trail last year to the top of Nevada Falls, and it was awesome to see it all in one panoramic view here. Many pictures later, we headed to another corner for a view of Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls.