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My time in Yosemite was incredible, you live in a different time, time goes slowly.  I felt it on the drive in, on 141 about 8:30 in the morning.  Rolling hills, the sun lighting the fields to pure gold, the layers and layers of mountains as far as the eye could see, a little obscured in the hazy morning light, the sharp, dark relief of the evergreens.  I didn't quite get that I'd be in the Sierras for a long time before I hit the park.  Magical.  Fun driving too, I was thrilled with how my little car hugged the road, winding around and around and up and up.

My first afternoon, my legs felt like lead getting used to the altitude.  Almost everyday I had a slight headache, but other that that felt great.  Didn't factor in how cold it would feel that high up, but it was gorgeous.  30's to 70's--if you're in the sun.  Snow still on the ground in various places from last week's snowfall.

Hungy as a 15 year old farm hand.  Big breakfasts, dinners, snacks. 

I felt pretty fit, nothing is sore, shoes were perfect.  I huffed and puffed a bit the day we went to Sentinel Rock, climbing that rock, but I made it.  There was a last minute plan to climb Half Dome on Sunday and Monday, camp in ranger's tent halfway.  I was very tempted, my friend would have lent me everything I needed, but I'm not sure I was ready physically to back pack that extensively.  I'm very motivated to become more experienced with hiking and backpacking. I'd like to be more familiar with trails and sensing directions when in the woods.  I was on my own sometimes and found myself tensing up when I realized I was somewhere other than where I thought I was.  It's a little scary and daunting.  The woods are big and it's cold out there.  It was challenging for me and I see I can learn a lot and most of it all really appeals to me.

 My friend has worked in more national parks than I knew existed.  She's travels to other countries every winter and usually volunteers somewhere, backpacks, hangs out.  Her experience is vast and seems unbelievable. She's worked in the South Pole and Alaska.  Spent years, if you add it up, in Tanzania.  On and on and on.  And she's a back woods ranger.  Pretty cool stuff.  I can't wait to hear where she lands next because I will definitely visit.

I got back last night, still processing it all.  Tomorrow I go back to work and the dentist.  So thrilled I had my little vacation.  It was truly like being in a different world.

Some of my pictures follow. Nothing too technical, just my vacation pics with my little camera.

Pictures... )


Sep. 27th, 2009 09:40 am
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Yesterday I bought my second pair of hiking shoes in about 17 years.  In between, I wore running shoes.  The first pair were Timberland's, boots, heavy, sturdy, indestructable.  I still have them, for nolstalgia purposes.  I wore them once here for a mild hike, they were too heavy, my feet have gotten bigger, they have shrunk perhaps.  The tips of my toes were incredibly sore afterwards.

I bought them originally for trips to Mexico and Guatamala, 2 treks about 3 weeks each.  They served well.  I even stashed my cash in them.  Mud, rocks, cold, heat, streets, rain forest-they were the greatest.  At one point I had a cut in the back of my right ankle from the support digging in, but that healed.  I remember the sales guy telling me that they were snake bite proof, which I found a very appealing feature.  I broke them in on Bayshore Boulevard in Tampa, Florida which is a lovely completely flat stretch along the Tampa Bay, nice to drive, nice to walk, run, push strollers, sit on a bench.  Walking in about 90 degrees, 80 percent humidity, I felt proud because I was telling everyone I was going where these shoes were absolutely appropriate.  "Seen any mountains?' a guy good naturedly ribbed.

I've bought a much lighter model for the next decade or so.

In 12 days I'm going to Yosemite for 4 days.  A friend I connected with at my high school reunion has been a back woods ranger there for 17 years.  She was a brainiac in school and a  free spirit.  She's talking about getting out of it this year.  I cannot wait to hear what she's contemplating, She will be cycling in Chile with a friend.

I'm staying with her, I'll have my own room and have been guided as to what to bring.  A blanket, a towel, some warm stuff for the nights.  I'm bringing her wine, dark chocolate and chocolate chip cookies as a gift.

We'll eat from her food provisions and I'll bring fresh veggies for burriots and pasta, some cheese, snacks for lunch.

I'm beyond excited and slightly nervous.  Mainly about not getting lost, silly stuff like that.  She gave me directions for a hike for when I get there, as she may still be in the field.  Friday, we'll go out together.  I'll bring books and notebooks.  She has a computer, they only get Verizon there, so my phone won't work while I'm there and getting close to there.  Fascinating.  (AT & T for all the bravado, come on!!!)

I love that my first trip there will be like this.  A bit away from the general public, an insider's view, off season so slightly less crowded.

The sequoias, the mountains, the river.  Visualizing it, I can all ready feel somewhat how grounded and peaceful I will become.

So so so grateful for the opportunity.


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