Old Man Winter made his debut today with buckets of rain and gusts of wind hitting the 70+ mph range in San Francisco. Just down the block from my house the winter wind wreaked havoc on this tree (and many more just like it up and down Haight Street!): P.S. I totally love how the parking meter was untouched by the whole winter storm. The SF Municipal Department WILL damned BE SURE to collect their parking money, come hell or high winds!
Moving books and furniture up four flights of stairs is kind of like climbing the cables at Half Dome--over and over, again and again (not really, but lots of work nonetheless). The Cables at Half Dome, Yosemite National Park.
Although I have done a good amount of backpacking and hiking within Yosemite, the area (Tuolumne Meadows-Glen Aulin-Waterwheel Falls) we visited this year has to be my almost-favorite destination, basically tying with the two awesome--in the original sense--destinations of Half Dome (climbed twice--ETA actually Three Times!) and perhaps I shall once more this year with my brother and yes, I know three people have died there this year!) and the top of Yosemite Falls (three times--once backpacking, twice hiking). That said, let me share a bit of our trip with you.
Monday, June 25 Ourevening was spent in the uber-touristy Yosemite Valley, with me feeling as nervous as a girl on a first date and a bit tongue-tied around John as this was the first time we had seen each other in over a month! We ate pizza at Degnan's Deli and then drank some good Cabernet Sauvignon while watching the sky for shooting stars in the Backpacker's Camp. We also kept a sharp watch out for the camp's black bear!
Tuesday, June 26 Breakfast at the Ahwahnee Hotel followed by an hour+ drive up Tioga
Pass to Tuolumne Meadows (the starting point for our backpacking
trip). We stopped at the Backpacker's/Rockclimber's store to buy some
dehydrated food for dinner (the only vegetarian choice was Backpacker's Pantry Lasagna--which
turned out to be the crappiest tasting dehydrated food I've had yet!).
After quickly packing our backpacks, John and I headed out on the trail
to Glen Aulin where we'd be staying for two nights. Along the way we saw this super-fat Marmot sunning himself on the rock (and now that I look more closely at the picture, I can see he also was sitting quite nonchalantly surrounded by a bunch of pooh!).
We also saw a coyote--my first in person!--a gazillion lizards and squirrels, and many more marmots of a much more Kate Moss-ish figure (i.e. skinny marmots!).
After about a 5.5 mile hike, we arrived at Glen Aulin starving and more
than burnt out on our lunch of Power Bars and Jelly Belly Sport Beans.
Lo and behold, magically appearing before our eyes was the Glen Aulin
High Sierra Camp "Restaurant ": Now, she may not look like much, but she had gloriously yummy food for purchase--served at indoor tables (which means NO MOSQUITOES!), multiple courses, and seats. Seats, by gods, seats which are quite the commodity after carrying every single thing you need on your back up and down hills, through dusty gulches, step-stepping around horse and mule shit.
The above restaurant is located about 250 yards from this fall, Glen Aulin:
Luckily, the restaurant took us in without reservations (normally required) and so we quickly set up our campsite (yep, that's just mosquito netting--no tent) : and then headed back to eat raviolis with alfredo and/or marinara sauce, vegetable soup, salad, veggies, and triple chocolate cake! Yum!
We then joined a ranger for some campfire talk, but unfortunately gathered in around the time she decided to have the groups around the campfire sing Girl Scout songs. Hmmm...Not quite my thing now that I am no longer a Brownie and have no children, so we headed back to our campsite to look at the stars--under our mosquito net--and fall asleep. (Although, I must cop to going to Brownie camp--Camp El-O-Win--in third grade and loving singing campfire songs around a campfire!)
Wednesday, June 27
We woke up at at 7:15 to make the 7:30 breakfast at the Glen Aulin High Sierra Camp "restaurant". Breakfast consisted of oatmeal, pancakes, bacon for the carnivores, eggs, and a few other things that I fail to remember now. After eating we scurried back to our campsite, dragged our sleeping pads and bags out from under the mosquito net and laid down on a rock in the sun--and fell asleep for another 2.5 hours! I also got a bit of Sockapalooza knitting done. For a midmorning snack, we noshed on some leftover triple chocolate cake that had been handed out at breakfast--ah, the joy of backpacking, one gets to freely nosh, nosh, and nosh since one burns so many darn calories.
Our trek for the day was to hike further along the trail to see...WATERFALLS! The trail along the way was gorgeous as it meandered for a good part along the Tuolumne River with scenes like this: And this: Before making a steep descent down to Waterwheel Falls which were quite impressive, but could have been much more so if California had gotten more than 46% (ouch!) of its normal rainfall this winter! Despite the water shortage, the falls were a-fallin' and swooshing away. Here is a pic of a waterwheel fall: And a pic of John goofing around, trying to make his best waterwheel fall with one of our water bottles: After a short break, we headed up the trail back to our base camp with the thought of HALIBUT! running through our heads as that was to be the main course of our dinner at the Glen Aulin "restaurant". Unfortunately, I missed the backs of my knees while applying sunscreen so I got a bloody painful burn about the size of oranges on my knee backs. Burn mother-fracker, burn!
We watched the sunset and then hit bed early as the mosquitoes were particularly vicious that evening.
Thursday, June 28 We went the cheap route for breakfast--Power Bars and Jelly Belly Sport Beans--as eating at the High Sierra Camps is expensive about $23 a person or so for a meal! Plus, it is always good to have a goal meal to make a long-ish hike more bearable. Our goal meal was a hamburger for John and a Gardenburger for me, along with fries and a sweet cherry coke at the Tuolumne Meadows Grill. So we packed up camp and said goodbye to the director of the camp (with whom we had reminisced about being students at UC Santa Cruz--the director was class of 1974 and John and I were 2002 and 2003). Then we headed home.
I love Yosemite!
August 14-16th--Wimpy--but Fun!--camping at the Napa-Bothe Campground where we will be silly--but safe--as we wine taste at the four wineries that are located within walking distance of the Campground!
End of August--A 70 mile round-trip backpacking trip to some secret hot springs in the Sierra Nevadas!
It's official...we've a black bear visiting our house!
While watching online episodes of PBS Frontline (yes, I am quite boring, but it makes for great knitting accompaniment) around 1:30 this morning, I heard clunking noises upstairs. I first thought that my mom was unloading the dishwasher (we hold odd hours around this casa), but after about five minutes of almost incessant clunking and clanging, I became a bit annoyed and decided to see what she was up to. Upon reaching the kitchen, I found the lights out and realized--holy crap!--we've a bear, either that or a really obese raccoon! I ran to get a flashlight and stepped out on to the back porch and flashed the beam about in hopes of locating a winking pair of glowing eyes. And did I! Along with a big bear not more than ten feet away from me, most likely high on the case of Coca-Cola s/he had ripped into!
By gods and holy cow, we've got a bear in our backyard!
Just because I am ever so slow in getting my backpacking pictures together, I present: A pre-backpacking breakfast at The Ahwahnee... (I think I may have caught John with a mouth full of food here!)
We got lucky and got one of the window tables this breakfast and went for the *GASP* almost $20! breakfast buffet which includes made-to-order omelets, fruit galore, amazingly-yummy scrambled eggs, pancakes/waffles, lox bagels, a million other things, along with fresh-squeezed OJ and good coffee.
To eat dinner here, you used to need a jacket (for men) and dressy dress for women (we've yet to eat dinner there as we hardly bring dressy clothes with us backpacking!). Luckily, they got their brains together and figured out that this was California and there is hardly a place which requires such a thing (not even one of my fave's, Chez Panisse!) Now they require button-up shirts and ties(?) for men and dresswear for women.
Someday, I would absolutely love to stay at the hotel part of the Ahwahnee, but only in the wintertime, as the summertime is for backpacking!
And, finally, a picture of the Ahwahnee's dining room nearly empty:
One of the many, many waterfalls along the trail: I am hoping in the next few days to get a nice slideshow together along with a more detailed description of the trail and the yummy amenities we found at Glen Aulin.
Today's entertainment was knitting socks in my front yard while watching and cheering on the "Fresno Freakshow" (as one cyclist endearingly termed it), otherwise known as the Climb to Kaiser cycling race. Participant cyclists climbed 13,500 feet and rode 135 miles!
During the hour or so that I cheered on the cyclists, I got one marriage proposal! Boy, oh boy, those cyclists must be deliriously tired as I had just rolled out of bed and hadn't even brushed my hair!
Pedal, Cyclist Pedal!
Knit, Sock Knitter, Knit! [Sock Details: Socktopia's Carolina, Last Queen of Naples, Sock Pattern, Size 1 needles, Koigu KPPPM (dye code p117, dye lot 318). I am completely loving this pattern as it looks pretty and is super-easy to memorize!]