Yosemite – Day 2
We got up at a reasonable hour and made The Best Breakfast over a campfire. Yosemite’s nearby grove of giant sequoias includes one of the oldest organisms in the world.
The Grizzly Giant is a whopping 2,500 years old and HUGE. Even during a week of seeing big trees, these were in a category of their own.
We had a picnic — Josh had never before experienced the yumminess of a Thundercat sandwich. What? You’ve never heard of it, either? This culinary joy is simply a peanut butter and honey sandwich; I often have one for breakfast on the weekdays.
Then was a run for firewood, and our first real look at the park.
Also I should mention that the beautiful rock formations here are the result of a massive magma chamber that cooled, was thrust above ground over millions of years and then dramatically carved into their current shapes by glaciers. (in other words, LAVA LAVA LAVA)
El Capitan is over a mile high. If you want to climb it bottom to top, it takes two days and you have to camp out halfway up. This involves a special camp hammock and NERVES OF STEEL OMG.
Half Dome (below) is my favorite of the formations. It’s one of the highest in the park, and I can just feel the geological history streaming from it. You can hike to the top (with great effort), and if we ever go back I’d love to try it. Josh thinks I am bonkers. As long as a storm doesn’t roll in (volcanic rock attracts lightning like crazy, and people have died up there from it), I’m sure I’d be fiiiiine. Probably.
We watched the sun set at Glacier Point. I wish the colors showed up better here. The rocks turned this wonderful pink-purple, it was beautiful. Then, just seconds later, the color was gone and the rock was gray, but the sky and clouds were bursting in neon lavender and hot pink. We had considered staying to see the stars — Glacier Point is the spot for that, too, and it was a crystal clear night — but we were quite cold (temperature drops fast at that elevation), we had another hour until full dark, and we hadn’t eaten dinner yet.
We got back to camp and with some effort got our fire started. Dinner was hot dogs with a steaming mug of tea. When we got firewood, we had also picked up chocolate bars And Reese’s cups for s’mores. I don’t actually care much for marshmallows, but I will make an enthusiastic exception for s’mores.
The stars were INCREDIBLE. You see 10x as many stars out here and they come to the foreground so much you can’t find the stars you are accustomed to. I’m no constellation afficianado, but I can always find Orion’s belt — it’s three stars in a line: boom, boom, boom. I couldn’t find it on this sky, however, with all the supporting players moving into leading roles.
And my favorite part: the Milky Way sweeping from one side of the view to other, a cosmic gaussimer stroke. You know, just billions of our neighboring solar systems. In Hawaii, we saw a similar scene stretch horizon to horizon; here in Yosemite we were peering up through a clearing. Our view was a perfect circle of sky, rimmed with the deep black silhouetted top limbs of towering Redwoods and Douglas Firs. If that doesn’t move you, you are unimpressable.
We spent the rest of the night daydreaming of leaving our computer-driven urban life and going to live in the woods.