Heading north out of Bakersfield, we passed mile after mile of almond groves, each tree laden with pale, pink blossoms. Every few hundred feet a cluster of bee hives sat beneath the spreading branches, the bees happy to do the farmer's work.
Between almond groves were huge vineyards. Grape vines in the winter look gnarly and dead, pruned back severely to increase their yield come summer. Jesus once used this ancient process to describe God's work in us.
I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts away every branch of mine that doesn't produce fruit. But he trims clean every branch that does produce fruit, so that it will produce even more fruit. John 15:1,2, CEV
From Fresno, the road to Yosemite climbs west through lush meadows strewn with tumble-down stone fences and decaying old barns. The green in this part of the country is so brilliant it almost hurts your eyes. The road meanders along the Merced River, which bubbles and tumbles over the rubble of countless rock falls.
Before you realize it, El Capitan is filling the windshield, its huge granite face rising impossibly high over the valley floor, a 3,000 foot face of weathered grey stone. We pulled off the road to take our first photos.
Yosemite is spectacular, especially when the waterfalls are roaring as they are now. Yosemite Falls cascades some 2,400 feet to the valley floor in two drops, an amazing sight. The last glacier scoured away the sides of the valley, leaving the Yosemite river no choice but to plunge over the side of the precipice to the valley below.
The photos were taken this afternoon. Enjoy.