Monday, September 11, 2006

Yosemite - Morning Tranquility

In my last post, I told you how lucky we were to snag a campsite at White Wolf, one of the first-come, first-served campgrounds at Yosemite National Park. But I didn't tell you much about the camping experience. Let's see...

As excited as we were about finding this spot surrounded by pristine beauty, we were concerned about the people blaring music and talking very loudly (ok yelling) to each other who had already set up camp very nearby. We considered driving on to the next campground to see if there was a more peaceful spot but we liked it there and didn't know if anything else would be open and even if something was, what was to stop another group of obnoxious campers from setting up next to us? We decided to cross our fingers and hope the loud people at White Wolf would mellow out a bit as the night progressed.

After exploring the area near the campground (see previous post and Cam's posts), we settled in to relax and enjoy an evening around the campfire. Cam and Sam have a ritual about fire building. I am happy to be the recipient of its warmth and fascinating coals. Soon, they had a wonderful fire blazing away.

Before leaving, Cam offered to pack all of the camping gear and food. He and brought excellent cook on the fire options. We quite enjoyed our impromptu chili (one can pinto beans, one can chopped tomatoes) and Sam had some sort of pasta. However, we were often distracted by our neighbors who rather than turning it down seemed to be gearing up for a night of revelry. We did our best to ignore them while wondering with dismay why they thought yelping in a poor imitation of a wild animal was an ok thing to do. After roasting marshmallows and enjoying our s'mores, Sam and I were ready to catch some shut-eye. It was dark and we were tired so we didn't have any trouble falling asleep. Cam decided to check to see what time quiet hours officially began.

Thankfully, Cam brought along several comforters to augment our sleeping bags in providing warmth. At 8,000 foot elevation, it was going to be a chilly night. When Cam finally came to bed, he told me about how our rowdy neighbors had been taken away in handcuffs.

Shortly after 10:00 pm Cam decided we had all had enough of these people's infernal racket. He walked over an asked them to turn off their music. Apparently, one of the guys was obviously wasted, slurring his speech. The other guy was so angry at having their party interrupted that he wouldn't even look at Cam and just sat there staring at the fire. Then, I guess one of them challenged Cam to go get the ranger. He said he was happy to get the ranger if that would make things easier then walked off toward the ranger station. It seems like that was enough to get them to turn off the music so Cam walked back to our campsite. Minutes later, they were making animal noises again, "Whoop, whoop, whoop?" Really.

Before Cam decided to go have another word with them, he heard an authoritative-sounding person talking with them. Apparently someone else had called the ranger. Soon Cam heard the ranger say they were going to search these guys vehicle/tent. He asked if they had anything else they wanted to tell them about before they found it like the concealed knife one of them had on them. Marijuana and hashish were mentioned that evening and the next day, Cam heard some rangers discussing the bust say they had also found cocaine. So these people were more than obnoxious, they were armed criminals. Excellent. At least no one was stabbed. "Bad boys, bad boys, whatcha gonna do?" (Photo courtesy of COPS TV.)

We both had a bit of trouble sleeping after all of the excitement. I'd had just enough sleep to be less tired than uncomfortable. I unzipped my sleeping bag and felt much better not being constricted. It was cold. Dogs were barking. Someone's car alarm went off and then at seriously around 1:00 in the morning, we heard someone setting up camp. They had some sort of generator going; I think they were blowing up an air mattress. Oh well. At least Sam was sleeping soundly. Cam and I did manage fitful bouts of sleep.

Then finally, it was morning, glorious morning. If we thought it was cold inside of the tent, it was literally freezing outside. There was frost on the tent. We ran around a bit; washing up with cold water from the bathroom didn't help much. The Frappuccino and Reese's Puffs cereal did. Sam and I found a patch of sunlight to stand in then as quickly as we could we decided to just get hiking to warm up.

Cam had suggested we take one of the hikes that left from the campground. It sounded like an excellent plan to me so we headed out towards Lukens Lake. I loved the way the moss grew on the branches of trees in the woods. One group of middle-aged guys hiked past us while we were climbing boulders near the path. We didn't see them or anyone else again on our walk to the lake. The men were at the lake when we arrived. We walked along the lake a bit to give them space. I guess they left shortly afterwards. I didn't see or hear from them again.

The lake was ours. We sat on a fallen tree and enjoyed the definition of tranquility.

It was glorious...


and relaxing...

Cam hiked around the lake in both directions.

I took this photo of trees and the pristine sky while lying on my back on the log.

Just as we were about to pack up and head back, this deer came to the lake to have a drink and pay us a visit. She was around the bend from us and seemed to feel pretty comfortable despite our presence.

As we were leaving, we passed some people just arriving at the lake and saw several more groups on their way there during our walk back to camp. After such a restless evening, I am happy we were given such a restful morning.

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