Thursday, July 3, 2008
Diary of Yosemite: Days 2-3
So after no sleep the night before, we "wake" up at 5 a.m. and head to Yosemite Valley with the hopes of snagging a site at Camp 4, the only walk-in site in Yosemite and one known for being a favorite spot of bohemian rock climbers. We end up 10th in line and when assigned the new site at 8:30 a.m. are so relieved/excited to have become a resident of Tent City and not have to return nightly to a site that is 90-minutes away.
After retrieving our gear, we spend the afternoon at the Mariposa Grove, a collection of some of the tallest and largest trees in Yosemite (and the world). The schmoopy side of us particularly like the two trees growing together named "The Faithful Couple" but there are some so impressive in size I appear to be invisible when photographed next to them.
A few miles of solid hiking and we head back to camp to set up--again. This time we have a better idea of where we misstepped with the tent but that only makes it more frustrating when we can't bend all the poles into place (Note: we are weak). After giving up when the last pin refuses to pop in to place, we decide the trip so far can be summed up in two words: Close enough.
I can say however that I built a pretty good campfire that night and very quickly I might add. As we're sitting around it a couple of 19 or 20 year old rock climbers staying in our camp decide to join us. I ask one named Mason (how convenient that he is a climber named after a rock) how high they climb and his answer is "Anywhere from 15 to 3,000 feet." This leaves us wondering how do you decide between 15 and 3,000? That is a pretty significant gap. It's also the first moment I realize I'm not one of the kids anymore when they surely identify me as a working, er, an old stiff and not a a college student. Chris adds to our reputation as squares by saying "We went bouldering one time at an indoor gym around the corner from our apartment." I'm sure Mason is very impressed by this.
That night a bear is spotted in our camp and in the morning two cars on either side of our rental have been smashed into. I was happy to have been zipped up in our fairly large tent. Mason slept outside in a sleeping bag reading a copy of American Psycho.
The next day we decide to treat ourselves to breakfast at The Ahwahnee Hotel. It was built in 1926 and seems to keep up the upscale lodge facade one might associate with how 1950s Liz Taylor may have done Yosemite. So maybe I shouldn't have been so shocked when the waiter came to take our order and asked Chris "What will the lady be having, sir?" I was and I had the eggs. The dining room was pretty impressive though and we had a nice window view. Afterwards we wandered around rooms with reading areas and fireplaces the size of the wall but Chris commented that it looked like they were trying to inject Indian cultural decor "The way a white person would."
Later, we visited waterfalls and improvised our own path, getting intentionally lost along the Merced River in order to leave the crowds behind for a while. We get back to camp early enough to leisurely prepare dinner, our first attempt to cook on the propane powered stove my mom and Ken lent us. This is where we stumble. Propane is gas and gas--at least in the movies--explodes. So I'm not so confident when I have to hook it up, light a match, and hope the thing will heat the grill.
Here's where you have to picture the situation again: I'm on my cell phone (yes, in the woods) being talked through the process by my mom and Ken. As they calmly tell me it's a very controlled substance and I'm going to be fine, I'm thinking I don't want to blow my hand off and asking questions like "Is the flame supposed to be blue?" At the same time Chris is throwing matches into the grill to try and light it but he's doing so from such a distance so that they either don't make it to the stove or blow out when they get there. Against the advice of our cell phone coaches, we decide to go eat pizza.
Close enough indeed.
I used to sit in the cube behind you. Then I didn't. And then we fell in love.
reading Lorrie Moore
reading Paper Lion
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