I woke up in my
dump of a quaint little motel to discover that I did, indeed, have a view of Mono Lake, if I was willing to venture out onto my sagging balcony. I decided it would be better to explore the lake from solid ground, but that would have to wait for tomorrow, because today was dedicated to Yosemite, a place I have wanted to see for my entire life.
First, I ran across the street to the Mono Market to stock up on a few provisions, and then went next door to pick up some coffee at a place called, I kid you not, “Latte Da”. I love it when businesses have a sense of humor.
When I was about to start on the day’s adventure, I decided I needed a drink of water, and grabbed the nearest water bottle. When I tilted it toward me, I discovered that the lid was not screwed on, and I proceeded to pour the water down my face, chest, and lap. And it had been sitting in the car all night, so it was ice cold. Who needs coffee? I was officially awake.
I was sensing a theme in Lee Vining, California. Yesterday, I mentioned getting drenched by a cruelly-angled shower head. And now this. Between these insults and the profusion of Trump signage, I was really starting to take issue with this little town.
On the way to Yosemite, I was seeing smoke on the horizon. And a lot of fire devastation. I hoped that this smoke would spare Yosemite Valley. But as you can see from this picture of me, compared to a picture taken from the same rock by someone else a few years earlier, it was not to be.
Regardless, the word for the day was WOW. Even obscured by smoke, the grandeur that is Yosemite beggars the imagination. Bridal Veil Falls, El Capitan, Half Dome, Glacier Point… all are beyond my abilities to adequately describe.
I must have taken a thousand pictures. I hoped to capture the iconic image of Half Dome glowing orange with the sunset, but I could barely see the sun. Still, I wanted to capture this entire place and take it home with me. I wanted it to be mine. But just as with words, pictures do not do it justice. And the beauty of national parks is that they belong to all of us. That’s what I love most about them.
I was actually rather fortunate, because Yosemite wasn’t nearly as crowded as usual. They are limiting access due to the pandemic. If you don’t have a preregistered pass these days, you’re out of luck. Thank goodness I did my homework, or I’d have been at the gate in tears.
As with so many of the places I’ve visited on this trip, Yosemite is designated an International Dark Sky Park. With that in mind, as I exited the park that evening, I came upon an area that wasn’t smoky, so I parked my car beside a lake, opened the sun roof, tilted my seat back and just gazed at the universe. I reflected on all the beauty I had seen that day, and all the beauty I was seeing at that very moment, and realized that I was very fortunate indeed.
Life is truly a gift.
Enjoy my pictures from the day!
There are a lot more tales to tell about this trip, but I’ll try not to post them daily, so as not to put off those who aren’t interested in travel blogs. So brace yourself for a good month of every other day adventures! I’ll try to link them together, so that you can start at the beginning if you find yourself in the middle and want to read the whole saga. Here’s a link to the first post in the series. Here’s a link to the next day’s adventure!
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