Sunday, September 6, 2009

Day Two/Part Two Basking in Afterglow

I kid you not...this is exactly the way the animals at Yosemite National Park behave. We did not see any bunnies, but let me tell you, we did see a lot of squirrels who think they are cats, raccoons who think they are dogs and deer who think they are, well...low key people. The squirrels in Yosemite will crawl right up to you and hang out (especially if you have food). One even came up to us and then just sprawled out on it's belly, with it's four little legs sticking out akimbo and just rested there for a long while. At Glacier Point, which I will get to later, the squirrels inundated us and at one point, having them disregard my quickly out-stretched hiking boot, I reverted to spilling my Pepsi on the back of one. It scurried away only to return with it's many brothers and sisters to drink from the spill. Tiny little lapping sounds accompanied the dining al fresco that afternoon. I think those squirrels probably got a hit of caffeine. Imagine that...

Upon entering the park, we went to the Very Helpful Front Desk to check into Camp Curry, or Curry Village as it is also called. We had reserved space in the tent section, sturdy walled tents with canvas covers, each having a few beds, a dresser a light and heat (if you need it, which we did was quite chilly at night but not cold enough for heat) 89 bucks will get you a tent and an all-you-can-eat breakfast in the lodge.

By the time we dropped our backpacks at the Village, we were starving, so we headed to the lodge area and got cheeseburgers and fries! Nom Nom Nom...We then headed to an information kiosk and asked Mr. Not So Helpful about what we could do with the remainder of the day.

"We would like to spend time exploring for the rest of the day. What do you suggest? We would like to see El Capitan perhaps?"

"Um, you shoulda seen that on the way in."

"Ah, yeah, um...any other trails which might lead us to a better viewing point than the entrance road?"

"Here. Here is the pamphlet for the park. There are hikes noted on the third page from the back"

**In our heads: "Okay, dude, go back to your latte. You are a seriously UnHelpful Person. We shall return when Someone Helpful is sitting in that seat...Mkay?"**

As we turned around we saw this:


Seemingly tame as can be and just sorta lounging around the bush by the kiosk, this deer hung out. Only a few people actually SAW it.

We took a looksie at the map of the park and decided on a little hike. "This hike along the river, Mist Trail, looks like a tiny loop, something we could just meander along. It might be pretty!"

Off we went.


That trail? That trail was AWESOME. And NOT a tiny loop in the least. It led along the river, up and up and up to a bridge from which we could view Vernal Falls. We headed further to the top of the falls, climbing what felt like a 45 degree slope, traipsing up 600 granite steps to the tippy top. Perhaps it was a little more than we had expected to hike...but OH MY GOD!!!

The falls were not as full as they were in other seasons, but they were flowing down along the side of the granite, with crashing, swooshing sounds. And RAINBOWS!!! Big Huge Rainbows. It was Magic. Hard Work and Magic.



I think I mentioned that the temperatures were over 100 degrees before? So, by the time we got to the top, after having consumed much water, black Twizzlers, Goldfish snacks and feeling hot and gritty, we arrived at the Emerald Pool, a natural retaining pool which holds the water from the falls ahead, The Nevada Falls.


I took off my clothes (I was wearing a bathing suit...relax) and gingerly (and I do mean gingerly) dipped myself into the cold, cold, cold, did I mention cold? water. Eventually, I just jumped in. It felt like a full body ice cream headache. Coming out, shivering, I sat on the rock and ate more Twizzlers. Squirrels came to visit, and we tossed them a pistachio nut. Time was running out, and we had to climb back down the mountain before dark, tired and very happy.

On our way to the lodge from the camp I turned around in the parking lot and saw THIS:

Half Dome at Sunset

Hot shower. Pizza. Beer. Sleep. What an incredible day.