Well, it took a long time to get there from Las Vegas via Fresno. We still don’t know if we’ll have to pay for those hotel rooms that we canceled within the 48 hour window. We stopped in a place called Tehachapi for gas, and I bought a postcard so I could remember how to spell it. The wind farm we could see for miles before stopping, and which you can see below is in the foreground of the postcard.
Thank you, Nevada, for celebrating your statehood on October 31 and creating the phenomenon known as “Nevada Day,” and thank you, CALIFORNIA, for welcoming us so frequently to celebrate it. Oh, California, land of gold and dreams. California, several different states in one. Always presenting a challenge, rewarding those who rise to meet it with experiences unique on the planet.
Our first stop was Cesar Chavez. I didn’t even know there was a monument to him. It’s one of the newer ones. Cesar Chavez has been a national monument for three years and still doesn’t have a brochure. I took this photo of his sunny resting place in hopes of submitting it for the NatGeo YourShot “sacred places” assignment, but I missed it by something like four hours. Therefore, exclusively for you, my lovely readers, Cesar Chavez relaxing at home.
And a selfie of me by a yucca. Yucca!
How is it I was halfway cute on Thursday, but from the above selfie until the end of the trip (with one possible exception), I’m looking to’ up from the flo’ up? It matters not. Certain parts of California judge you, but if you feel judged at parks and monuments, you’re not doing it right. Unless you’ve wandered off the trails. Then you’re on your own.
To some, Chavez was a labor hero. To others, a terrorist trainer. He said:
From this point on, I think I’ll count this post as my #MonthlyTravelsChallenge for November, topic: Go Back!
Because Yosemite is not a place you visit once. It is a place that will beckon you time and again to rest and experience the grandeur that it is.
It was in the low 50s when we arrived, yet we rolled down the windows and inhaled the pine scent all the way to the vista for El Capitan, and for quite a while afterwards.
Now THAT’S a pretty picture!
How about another selfie?
This selfie requires Miss Gokey’s help.
We pulled over again at the first available spot, Sentinel Beach, where we upset a couple making out and took photos like this one which would have appalled our photo walk guide, Michael Wise. Our photo walk is another topic for a different post, but I will say he would hate this photo because you can barely see the waterfall. The white of the water matches the granite, so the fall doesn’t “pop” the way it would if I had better equipment or cared to do any post-production at all.
From there, after getting postage cancellation stamps, chatting up the rangers, browsing at the gift shop in the Visitor’s Center, and shopping in the Ansel Adams Gallery until they kicked us out for closing time, Miss Gokey drove us to Curry Village, where we checked into our lovely canvas tent cabin.
Notice the bear locker for storage of anything scented including food and toiletries.
Someday it would be nice to stay in one of these for about a week.
The photos from Friday end there, but the story doesn’t quite.
We took the shuttle bus from Curry Village back to Yosemite Village to see a film called Return to Balance: A Climber’s Journey in the theater. Ron Kauk, the climber featured in the film, was there to talk to us about it before and after. The film consisted of Ron Kauk narrating his thoughts about life and climbing and nature while images of him climbing alternated with images of the nature and wildlife in Yosemite in different seasons, all set to the soundtrack of soothing flute music punctuated by the occasional shocking caw of a bird of prey.
The film we saw is available online through the Yosemite shop on BLU-RAY if you’re into that sort of thing. It’s heavily copyright protected, so it’s not available online. However, this youtube video from several years ago features Ron talking about his experiences. If you have a full one hour and ten minutes of time to spare and you want to watch climbers climb rocks to the soothing flute music, there’s this other, much longer video as well.
Shortly after the film ended, we stood and waited for the bus for what seemed like a very long time, but we did get back to Curry Village before the Pizza Patio closed for the night.
Because I can’t leave you with so many words and so few photos at the end, here’s one more photo of rocks, trees, and sky to tide you over until my next Yosemite post.