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USA 1999/2000 - West Coast

After spending 10 months in beautiful New England I finally made it to equally beautiful California where I stayed for another 4 months working as a software engineer (intern). Since I eventually found a pretty cheap flight I could even visit Andreas in Washington State and have a look at recently (ok, 20 years ago) erupting volcanoes, rainforests and the like.

San Francisco and the nearby coast

The last two of the pictures are taken in San Francisco, the city I like best in the US (Boston is a close second). The rest was taken along the coast between SF and Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. Especially Point Lobos was incredible for its scenic beauty and rich wildlife: In just over two hours I saw sea otters, seals, sea lions, deer and various birds such as pelicans.
And Point Montara light house not only looks nice but is a youth hostel with an accompanying beach, a hot tub and a nice view, more than most hotels can offer.
Turtle. Monterey, CA, August 2000 Count the Seals! Seals in Point Lobos, CA, August 2000 Deer. Point Lobos, CA, August 2000 Wild Flowers. Point Lobos, CA, August 2000
Chinese Cove. Point Lobos, CA, August 2000 Point Lobos. CA, Aug 2000 Coast. Point Lobos, CA, Aug 2000 Me. coast Point Lobos, CA, Aug 2000
Point Montara. CA, August 2000 Point Montara Lighthouse. CA, August 2000 Baker Beach, San Francisco, CA, August 2000 Mission San Francisco. CA, August 2000

Yosemite National Park, CA

Not too much to be said here: If you can choose, come in spring when the waterfalls carry most water and there are still not that many people down in the valley. Since I was visiting in July when the tourist invasion has already started, I hiked from Tolumne Meadows over the weekend, camped at Vogelsang Lake (just over 11,000 ft which is about 3,300 m) and went looking at the waterfalls in the valley on Monday. If you seriously go hiking you pretty soon leave almost everybody behind you and can enjoy nature at its best - even while the valley is packed with people.
The last two pictures are not from Yosemite, one being a winery in Napa Valley (this particular one had a nice modern architecture but forbidding prices) and the other one being a drive-thru log in Sequoia National Park.
Valley. Yosemite, CA, August 2000 Marmot. Yosemite NP, CA, Aug 2000 View From North Dome. Yosemite, CA, Aug 2000 Bridalveil Falls. Yosemite, CA, Aug 2000
Nevada Falls. Yosemite, CA, Aug 2000 Winery. Napa Valley, CA, Aug 2000 Tunnel Log. Sequoia National Park, CA, Aug 2000

Washington State

I must have been lucky, because it never rained while I visited Washington ;) In fact, there was not a single cloud to be seen the whole time.
Seattle belongs to the nicer American cities, and there is a lot of nature surrounding it. We went to Olympic NP (where there are rainforests, and even there it did not rain) and to Mount St. Helens, where I underestimated the radius of destruction that can be caused by such a comparatively small cone that actually erupted (I mean the part that broke off to the side). Quite impressive indeed.
Of course, I also had a peek at the evil empire and in the evening I even visited a real saloon for the first time (where everybody wore a cowboy hat). I guess these saloons are not quite as prevalent in New England...
Chipmunk, WA, August 2000 Andreas. Olympic National Park, August 2000 Olympic NP. WA, August 2000 Mount St Helens. WA, August 2000

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