Yosemite: One word: Spendor

Center map

Impressive planet you have here!

Even for us earthlings, Yosemite is an amazing place! Of course, you can’t see all of it—unless you work here—but, from a single day here, I’ve come to appreciate just how beautiful this nature preserve is.

Originally populated by the Ahwahneechee Indians, the Federal government turned it into a national park in 1890—and what a smart move that was!

Home to giant sequoia trees and some smaller ones (not really all that small!), the landscape is a natural heaven with rock formations that reach into the sky as if to tempt any brave human being into the climb (not me!). Tall waterfalls hide around every corner.

I did get my lifetime senior pass for ten dollars (and here I thought getting old sucked!). And I got the next to last space in the Northern Pines campsite (very near “half dome”) for two days; $13 with my senior pass (half price!).

I have already decided to sign up for two more days when the first two are over. The reason? I went to the bathroom last night and looked up!

Oh. My. God!

Surrounded by mountains, there is NO light pollution here. And the stars were visible in grand display. It’s going to be a bit difficult staying outside to view them for very long—the temperature dropped down to 28º last night and is forecast to be 22º tonight—with a 70% chance of two inches of snow! At least, that’s what the mechanical voice on the National Weather Service channel says. I guess we’ll see!

Cause for concern?

No, the real cause for concern was a forest ranger’s truck I spotted in the parking lot of the reservations desk: a Jurassic Park logo! As if bears aren’t the only thing to worry about.

Lock up all food, soap and wet wipes!

The signs are everywhere: This is bear country! And that means every campsite comes with a hefty steel locker with a complicated locking system the bears have yet to figure out. The paper I must sign to stay here tells me I “understand” that I must every night store all of my food, soap and an assortment of other items that bears consider to be inviting to eat. Let’s just say I am happy that I am not on that list!

A park ranger showed me many photos of cars—after a bear had ripped open the doors, windows and even the roofs! There was also a tale-telling large metal can with tooth and claw punctures (I am told that, with an ability to smell nine times that of a bloodhound, they can smell what is inside cans!).

You can bet I took all of my food and stored it away in my locker! No reason to tempt fate when all you can do is scream to scare them away (oh, I’d be screaming all right if a bear ripped a door off of the Sienna!).

Keep looking up (most of the time!)

I am truly a tourista here; I can’t stop looking up at the natural scenery. But, it would be a big mistake to not check what’s happening on the ground. I wasn’t fast enough with the camera to snap a photo of a family of deer that wandered into my campground last night but, maybe I will be luckier the next time some wildlife stops by (please, no bears!).

No phone, no data!

When President Obama stopped by earlier this year, the Secret Service erected 4G cell phone towers all over the park and they stayed here for seven months after his visit—until two weeks ago! So, I took a shuttle bus (yes, I said a shuttle bus) to the Yosemite Valley Lodge, where there is a food court, unlimited coffee refills and a WiFi signal.

anseladamsI can’t guarantee the next time I will be able to post an update but, rest assured, this is the best camping trip I’ve ever been on! Don’t miss out on clicking the photos to see the full-size versions. You know, when Ansel Adams was here, he only had film; that’s the digital equivalent of 7.5 megapixels. My smart phone has an 8MP camera! In color!

Drive safe and take care!


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