Friday, September 15, 2006

Yosemite - Evening Extravaganza

While we were relaxing in the boulder playground Cam discovered, we talked about how we could just pack up and head home. We weren't completely excited about another night on the hard ground in the cold even without our noisy neighbors. We were pretty tired. Too tired to hike much more but we still had several hours to kill before it would be time to make another campfire. Earlier in the day, Cam had said we'd go into the valley on Sunday morning before driving home. Since we were all starting to lose momentum and yearn for the comforts of home, I suggested we go into the valley that afternoon to see the sights. That way, if we weren't up for it in the morning, no one would be disappointed. We talked about saving them for the next time but since I wasn't sure when we'd be back and I am a fan of Carpe Diem, I did say that I would really like to see the famous sites before leaving. I didn't care whether we did it that afternoon or the following morning. We walked back to camp and decided that we might as well seize the day.

Not long after we turned left off Tioga Road towards the valley, the scenery started to change. Suddenly, we were faced with these massive rock formations like nothing we'd seen on the upper road. I don't know what this one is called. It isn't one of the famous ones but it is the first one that caused us to stop on the side of the road to marvel.

We drove all the way into the valley then started back up towards a scenic overlook called Glacier Point. Before we made it to the official overlook, we stopped again to do some looking over of our own.

My folks have pictures of us at Yosemite on some vacation from my childhood. There is a picture of my mother, my brother and I in front of one of the impressive waterfalls. I'm missing my two front teeth. That makes me think I must have been about 8. It is hard to believe I don't really remember seeing this before. Or that Sam likely won't really remember it either. That is one of the amazing things about pictures (and why we are trying to document our experiences and memories.) They often serve as memories for us.

Cam has the cheesy picture I took of him at Glacier Point standing in front of the Half Dome on his blog. Here is the cheesy picture he took of me.

We don't have one of Sam posing because he asked for permission to run around on top of the giant boulder in the observation area.

He found one of the waterfalls in the viewfinder of this telescope. It was impressive to see with the naked eye too.

Since it took about an hour to get to our campsite from the overlook, we decided to for go sticking around to watch the sunset. We headed back into the valley, racing the sun to see if we could make it back to our campground before it set. Even though we were in a bit of a hurry, as we passed the sign for Bridal Veil Falls, Cam suggested we stop and take a quick look.

And we couldn't pass El Capitan without stopping for a closer look.

Even though the sun was almost gone, Cam stopped again, saying let's check out this creek while we are here. We'd seen people playing on its banks during the drive into the valley. I'd commented that we'd have to do it sometime.

No time like the present, I guess.

The drive down the valley, up to the overlook, back into the valley then up to our campground took its toll on all of us. Cam had a massive headache. We think all of us experienced a bit of altitude sickness in different ways during the trip. While our food was warming over the coals, it was Cam's turn to rest in the tent for awhile. He got up to eat and said he felt much better afterwards. We soaked up the fire's glow and starlight not to mention the marshmallows. Then we tucked ourselves back into the tent, under our covers. Cam had packed stocking hats. Since he said his head had been cold the night before, I joked that we should sleep in them. Cam took me seriously. It actually turned out to work really well. It didn't seem nearly as uncomfortable the second night.

But when we woke in the morning, it was frosty and cold again. We turned the heater on in the car and tore down and loaded up in record time. Soon we were on the road towards home. All of us were looking forward to making it back with time left to veg a bit before starting the week again.

Shortly after we pulled out of the park, Cam stopped another time so we could stretch our legs, admire the view and have some snuggle time. Thanks for capturing this moment and sharing Yosemite with us, Cam.

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