Yosemite National Park
Through winding roads elevating through the foothills into the Sierras, we caught our first view of the famous Yosemite Valley at mid-afternoon on New Year's Eve. We still managed to drive the loop, go for some hikes, and drink hot chocolate by the enormous fireplace in Ahwahnee Lodge before driving the next 2 hours in total darkness on icy mountain roads to the Narrow Gauge Inn - our lodging for New Years. Spectacular snowy scenes greeted us the next day with trees perfectly covered in hoarfrost, reflections mirroring off iced over water, and intense blue skies. It was a perfect winter trip, and given the drought, one that might not be as magical in coming years.