Two things

First, I was quoted in the L.A. Times on Tuesday! The article is here, if you’d care to read it. Sorry I didn’t mention it earlier, but I was out of town when the article was published.

Tuolumne MeadowsWhich brings me to my second thing: Yosemite pictures! I spent three nights camping in Yosemite National Park this week, and good lord, it is too gorgeous for words! Or even pictures! But still, I tried my best. So far I have 170 pictures posted, but there will be more once my friend who is still there returns next week (I had to dump a load of pics onto her laptop to make room on my mem card to take more). Care to read about my trip?

What I Did On My Yosemite Vacation

  • Nearly froze to death. Did you know the temp drops to the low 30’s at night in the Tuolumne Meadows Campground? Yeah, me neither.
  • Avoided being eaten by a bear, by scuffing my feet REALLY LOUDLY to scare them away as I hurried to the bathroom at 2:30am, swinging my flashlight at every tree, Winnebago and tent along the way, and probably annoying a lot of trying-to-sleep campers.
  • Did my part to “keep bears wild” by locking all my smelly stuff, both edible and not, in the bear-proof lockers. Bear scientists are still hard at work trying to find a way into these devious yet noisy devices.
  • Learned the best way to stay warm at night when sleeping in a tent by yourself in nearly (or possibly below) freezing temps is to wear a fleece jacket over a thermal shirt over a tshirt; fleece pants over stirrup pants; two pairs of socks; hat, gloves and scarf; while sleeping in an insulated sleeping bag under three blankets.
  • Scampered up and down a very slanted rock to get a picture of the pretty valley, and only pulled the muscle in my ankle once.
  • Earmarked a dozen sites along the way to the valley that I wanted to visit on our return trip, not realizing at the time that after our valley jaunt, I’d be too exhausted to do anything more than crawl into my tent for a nap.
  • Picnic’d on a rocky beach next to a river with a fantastic view of a big rock with teeny tiny rock climbers attached to its side. Met a friendly dog who pooped in the rocks, conveniently hidden where newcomers would never see it until it was too late. Took two steps into the river, which is as far as I could force myself to go, given that the rocks were quite painful to my poor dainty nekkid feet. Took a gazillion pictures. Used alcohol swabs on my hands after my visit to the pit toilets.
  • Took pictures of and in a swanky $400-a-night hotel, smack in the heart of a national park. (WTF?) Took shuttle from swanky hotel to “village” in the middle of the national park. (Again, WTF?) Shopped, took pictures, bought a hat and warm socks with bear prints, wondered if the deer in the front yard of the store was being paid to be there, or if it was an indentured servant. Took shuttle back, took pictures of trees.
  • Drank lots of water, ate lots of peanuts.
  • Took more pictures of same river, different view (with a waterfall! in the very far distance!).
  • Iced my pissed off knee in rapidly decreasing temps while reading a very stupid book about people trapped in a blizzard. (Book was originally purchased during the heatwave, seemed like a good idea at the time.)
  • Huddled pitifully by a campfire while Lori cooked dinner for us.
  • Learned how to trick yourself into feeling warmer with a hot water bottle.
  • Watched a full moon rise into a perfect sky over towering pines.
  • Took pictures of moon and campfire, because no one has ever seen a moon or a campfire before.
  • Bought a book about digital photography and nature, and stamped it with the Yosemite passport stamp, because I am a dork.
  • Hiked along the Tuolumne River, first with Kat and Lori, then by myself for awhile. Thoroughly enjoyed the most exercise I’ve gotten in forever, as well as the beauty and joy I found at each step. Took pictures of every step of beauty and joy. Pictures will probably bore everyone else silly. But despite my lousy photographic evidence, marmots are fucking adorable creatures.
  • Peed outside without getting bitten in the ass by a rattlesnake, or caught with my pants around my ankles by a fellow hiker.
  • Changed into a bathing suit behind a rock–notable moment as the most nekkid I’ve ever been in a public place.
  • Rinsed my hair in a FREEZING cold creek. I was just.that.desperate.
  • Took many photographs of friends in creek.
  • Relaxed for hours next to creek, surrounded by trees and mountains and meadows and did I mention how beautiful it is there?
  • Walked short distance to stables to check out horses, which were not in fact horses, but mules, which explains the funny ears.
  • Ate yummy dinner, again prepared by Lori and Kat, and proved myself a sucky co-camper by never cooking any food or washing a dish.
  • Met new people!
  • Took horrible photographs of deer that strayed into our campsite munching on the grass. Looked for mountain lion that would surely be following said deer, but it was a much cleverer hider than the obviously stupid deer.
  • Succeeded in not tipping kayak while kayaking on Tioga Lake with Lori. Spotted six ducks suspected to be mergansers by their funky mohawks. Narrowly avoided running into a barely submerged boulder. Learned to push with one hand while pulling with the other. Well, learned that I was supposed to do that, not sure I actually learned to do that.
  • Made it to bottom of Tioga pass without passing out, vomiting, driving over the edge, bursting into tears, or stopping the car until some passerby offered to drive me down, even though I strongly wanted to do all of the above. The yellow line is my friend.
  • Was passed three times on the trip home by the same truck, even though I never passed it.
  • Made it home in six hours and 15 minutes–I blame the Bowl traffic for the extra 15 minutes.
  • Lost a pound.

Interesting facts:

  • It is 344 miles from Tuolumne Meadows Campground to my garage, including three rest/gas stops.
  • There are no rattlesnakes in the Meadows, given the altitude (9000 feet).
  • There is apparently no cell service for Sprint customers north of L.A. County. WTF?
  • There *are* garter snakes in the Meadows, but fortunately I know that from a book, and not from experience.
  • There are too many people in the valley.
  • The books and signs say there are bears in the Meadows, but I’ll have to take that on faith.
  • There are lots of cute deer in the Meadows and the valley, which I don’t have to take on faith.
  • It gets COLD COLD COLD after dark.
  • Rock climbers like their space.
  • Kayaking is fun.
  • Mattress pads are way comfy, and way more reliable than air mattresses.
  • Yosemite National Park is too gorgeous for words, or even photographs.
  • Kat and Lori rock a whole lot. But that’s not news.

That’s all I can think of for now. Perhaps tomorrow I’ll remember more.

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