There are many amazing places in the world and Yosemite National Park is one of them. But the wonder, beauty and breathtaking loveliness starts way before you enter the park.
For me the approach to the park riding through the foot hills of the Sierra Nevada is some of the most astounding and captivating scenery I have experienced. There are 2 main routes into the park from the west. whether you come from southern or northern California you will eventually find yourself on Highway 140/120, or 41 into the park.
Both routes take you through country side filled with meadows, oak, wild flowers, wide open countryside, gently rolling hills, and dancing rivers. Historic towns with old west architecture, outstanding wineries, and charming B&Bs also line the way. My personal favorite route is the 41 because of the miles of rolling hills, grasslands, farms, and a forest of black oak trees that dot the landscape as far as the eye can see.
When I say forest I do not mean the closely packed, and densely populated place where trees, and bushes crowd each other, and fight for space and light. This forest is more like a park, or meadow land colonized by the most stunning assortment of oaks I have ever seen.
Like islands on a sea of grass they stand sentinel lining the way to the mountains and beckoning the traveler forward. No two trees are the same, each uniquely different as snow flakes, they provide shade to animals, and solid homes to the birds of the foot hills.
In spring the oaks are surrounded by wild flowers that burst out of the tall green grasses in blankets of yellows, blues and reds and line the highway. By summer the flowers have disappeared and the green grasses turn into a sea of cadmium yellow. My favorite time to travel through is in the summer or autumn at sunset. The straw like dry grasses seem to not so much to reflect the sunlight but to absorb it and exude it in an ethereal glow.
This country is called the Gold Country of California harking back to the days when people came from all over to find gold, and the freedom that comes with wealth. Now for me, Gold Country is still the best name. Not because of the gold that comes from the earth, but from the color of the rolling sea of golden grasses.