Friday, May 07, 2010


Just got back yesterday from four days camping in Yosemite valley. It was wonderful to be in that magical place in the spring time. The waterfalls were roaring and there were so many smaller ones I'd never seen before. The dogwood trees were in bloom, as were the ancient apple trees scattered around the valley. The meadows had little ponds reflecting the gorgeous peaks above, and all the mosses were glowing green on the rocks.

My neck is still sore from looking up so much. We camped in the Upper Pines campground and brought our bikes. In fact once we parked in our campsite we never drove again until we headed home, stopping for a time at El Capitan and the Tunnel View lookout.

We were blessed with beautiful weather--warm sunny days in the 70's and starlit evenings that got down to the low 40's. We were just cozy enough in our tent (it was almost too cold one night) and in the morning we'd stamp around until the sun cleared the valley rim and flooded our campsite with warmth. There's something delectable about greeting the sun with so much gratitude and welcome.

At night we'd have a campfire, burning almond wood we'd bought at a fruit stand on the way. We burned part of our Christmas tree I'd cut up, and the last bit of a packing case from having stuff shipped from Bali five years ago. There were privet and olive branches and a broken oak chair leg. Quite an eclectic campfire.

Of course our diet went to hell. Forget the raw food, we had french toast every morning, cheese sandwiches, potato chips and cookies for lunch and quesedillas or tofu hotdogs for dinner. Krista bought the kids marshmallows to roast on the fire and I toasted a few myself (first time in thirty years!).

We never did see any bears, which suited me just fine. The huge Yosemite ravens were there, and the cute ground squirrels that Eden loves so much. And other people, of course, but not very many. It was not crowded at all, although the campground was full. The folks right next to us played music every night, quietly with a saxophone and guitar. That was very nice!

One of the things I love about Yosemite is not knowing where the other folks came from until the open their mouths to speak. Are they from San Francisco or Amsterdam? The realization that people come from all over the planet to be in our magical Yosemite valley just makes me appreciate it that much more.

I also love the simple act of offering to take someone's picture, so that a couple or family can all be in it together. I did this about four or five times and several folks offered this for us.

On Wednesday we set out early and tackled the "mist trail" up to the top of Vernal Falls. It's a pretty steep climb and aptly named. When I'd done it back in October last year there wasn't much water coming over the falls. In May its a torrent and the spray blows right over the trail, which is mostly steps made from granite that climb along a steep drop down to the river.
We were not prepared at all and got thoroughly soaked! Luckily we were able to bake in the sun up on the huge granite slab up above the fall. This was one of the real high points of our trip, but it cost us sore knees and calf muscles!

A longer stay would have suited me. We were just starting to relax and let go of the busy doing things mode when it was time to pack up and drive home. But even our short stay left me feeling inspired and happier to be alive.

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