Yosemite! I love it so much it’s my tire cover picture

Day 48:
Today I met Roald, hands-down the coolest dog of my trip.
11,850 miles in counting.
I woke up at the Golden Gate Bridge rest area this morning. That’s two mornings in a row I woke up at the Golden Gate Bridge, nothing to complain about, I guess. Yesterday was such a fun and successful day, and completely unexpected for the things that I have planned, that I slept better, as long as my body would allow me. I woke up to the sun high in the sky, got cleaned up and got moving. The only thing certain is I have a campground reservation in Yosemite starting today, through the next few days until my van repairs on Thursday.
I toil with what to do and where to go and what route to take to get to Yosemite. Like every other day of this trip, I have changed my mind 100 times in 20 minutes. Originally, I wanted to go back and visit Jeremiahs Gold again. That final is going to haunt me forever, unless I find it. But I think I decided to head out towards Bodie and then work my way into Yosemite from the other side.
I drove East all day. The most beautiful area being Lake Tahoe, obviously. The weather was perfect, and the skies cooperated for me to get some of the most amazing views from above, down onto the lake.
My first real stop of the day was Bodie California. Bodie is an abandoned mining town, that CA maintains as a park. I made it out there about mid-day. I spent a couple hours wandering around, taking pictures, being unbelievably fascinated about this time period. This kind of stuff has always fascinated me. I know I say if I had one I wish, I’d lived back then, I’m wrong. But I wish I could travel back in time for a vacation. you know, kind of like a dude ranch? West World style. If anyone has connections with robots and AI, get in touch.
Since I was driving right past, I had to make a stop at Mono Lake on the way from Bodie to Yosemite. I first heard a mono lake in 2013, the first time I visited Yosemite. But I’ve never been here. Glad I made a little pitstop, it was the perfect time of day. The sun was behind everything and casting that beautiful “sun is setting” light.
Now into Yosemite where I will make my home for the next few days. I’m killing time, and giving my van a rest, before hopeful repairs on Thursday in Sacramento. I guess I just called 3 days in Yosemite “killing time”. More examples I’m the luckiest person alive. I’ve never driven over Tioga Pass before, I don’t believe. I’ve been to Yosemite a few times, but don’t think I ever left the park on the eastern side. That’s one of the more unbelievable passes I’ve ever passed through. I pulled over so many times to look and take pictures I lost count.
I love Yosemite so much. I saw a big brown bear wandering around shortly after I entered the park. Also, it’s the only place where I can enter the gates and think to myself
“Yay I’m in Yosemite!” And then I still have a 2 Hour drive to get to where I’m going in the valley.
What a great place.

Day 49:
Today I met Pierre or PeePee as he is affectionately known, hands-down the coolest dog of my trip.
12,270 and counting.
I woke up in a Yosemite valley campsite this morning. There won’t be a lot of miles today, because I’m in Yosemite and may not even move my little girl. I got up at about five and drove out to Valley View for sunrise pictures. It was a bit hazy, understandably. But beautiful for all the right reasons. Then up to Tunnel View. I watched the sun come up over the mountain and took some pictures. What an unbelievable life I have. I made conversation with lots of other traveling strangers. It was an amazing way to start my day. Then back to camp where I made myself a wonderful bacon and eggs and fruit breakfast. I think that’s the first time I’ve actually “cooked” a meal in my van. I’ve made a lot of boil in bags, sandwiches, dry foods. But I broke out the cooktop and whipped up some eggs and bacon.
My possible plan for today is to at least make a big walking loop around the valley. I can’t believe there’s still so many geocaches I haven’t found in Yosemite? I’ve been here twice before, both times since I started Geocaching. But there are just a whole lot of unfound geocaches. Lots of them found, but way more than should be unfound.
The way I had to get campsites in here is strange, but I’m just grateful to have them at all. I was in one spot for one night and then the next morning I had to move a quarter-mile to another site for the next two nights.
I did about an 8-mile walking loop around the valley. I got back in the perfect time to move my van from one site to the other. I still cannot believe there are so many geocaches that I had not found in two prior visits here. I walked a big loop. It was about 8 miles, a couple virtuals, whereIgo, very unique question mark in the middle of a national park, and earth caches of course. I had to move my mobile home from one campsite over to campsite number 69 in upper Pines. Hee hee.
I slung up my hammock and rested for a while, just taking in the sky. At the time of day when the sun was highest in the sky, a sunshower came through. Bright blue in one direction, and terrifying gray in the other. The drops were as big as quarters, they felt great in the blazing sun, and that smell of the ozone in a thunderstorm in the trees is delightful.
I finished the night with pictures on the famous bridge that looks into the valley. I set up there a good two hours before I needed to. That gave me the opportunity to have at least a dozen wonderful and meaningful conversations. Most notably I met the most fascinating person so far of the trip. A young fellow from New Jersey named CJ. He’s an inspiration to what we can be.
Then it was back to the campsite. I made a steak and mashed potatoes, and went to bed for the night.

Day 50:
Today I met Ozzy, hands-down the coolest dog of my trip.
12300 miles and counting.
I woke up in Yosemite Valley, campsite #69. Coolest part of the trip so far.
I had nothing planned. I had to drop my van off for service in Sacramento in 24 hours, so I had that long to play. I made myself a lovely breakfast at the campsite, eggs and bacon. I turned my back for 5 seconds to get my water and walk it to the picnic table, and a crow stole all 4 pieces of my bacon. That left me very depressed. Thankfully the delicious cheesy eggs fixed everything. I spent a while wandering around the campground, enjoying the sounds and smells, and chatting with tons of strangers. About mid-morning, I wrapped up everything, packed up nothing, and got on the road. I had a hike I wanted to do in Yosemite before I left. I parked at Tunnel View, and hiked straight up the side of the mountain, toward Glacier Point. Glacier Point is about 13 miles straight up. I only went about 2 up, almost 4 miles round trip. I found this awesome and old virtual geocache there. Thanks for brining me to this hike. Sadly, the haze was really bad today, and the views were all silhouetted outlines. Still amazing in its own, but different way.
From the park, it was time to get to Sacramento, I had a bed in a hotel waiting for me there. I took my time driving, enjoying the scenery along the Merced River. No picture opportunities today, sadly. I made it into the city, got Pervvie to a nearby truck wash, picked up some stuff at an amazon locker at a 7-11, stopped at the auto depot for more Pervvie liquids (she loves the green stuff), and finally checked into my hotel. Tomorrow morning I take my baby to the infirmary to hopefully find out what ails her.

I did start an album of this trip that I am updating as I process. HERE.

Yosemite 2014 – Getting lost in the woods – Glen Aulin & Pacific Crest Trail

2014-09-Yosemite-688The final hike of the trip was a doozie. It had everything you might want in an adventure. Action, suspense, drama, cowboys, people getting lost, and waterfalls. The journey for the final day was mostly a circle starting from our tents, heading to the high country camp Glen Aulin, and then back down to civilization and Tioga Road. We started early and picked up the Pacific Crest Trail not far from our campsite. The PCT is the west coast equivalent of the Appalachian Trail on the east coast. It is a footpath through the wilderness that runs from Mexico to Canada. It has been my life long dream to set foot on the PCT since I first heard about it 2 months ago. Imagine how excited Josh and I were when we saw Pacific Crest Trail on the Yosemite map of the high country. It didn’t matter where that trail was, once we saw it, we were going to walk on it. The walk up to Glen Aulin was beautiful, mostly along a river with sporadic waterfalls. The only downfall was the time when Josh and Matt lost me. We were all together one minute, and then separated for the next hour or two. I was never worried, I had a GPS machine, and they had the power of numbers, although one of those numbers was Josh. I realized there was a problem when I ran into a cowboy, yes a real life cowboy, riding a horse, wearing chaps and a duster, carrying a gun, and leading a large line of donkeys. I asked the cowboy if he saw 2 other hikers the way he came from. He said no, I said no problem I’d meet them at Glen Aulin. He told me Glen Aulin was behind me. I wanted to argue because I’m so smart, but he was a cowboy with a gun. I turned around and starting running in the other direction hoping to catch the other guys as quickly as possible. Running might be overstating the forward movements I was making, but I tried. I went about 2 miles out of the way, which does not sound like a lot of distance, but it is a lot at that elevation, incline, and running as fast as possible. I finally met them just as they were getting to Glen Aulin. They were planning to wait for me there if the need arose. I think I pissed one or both of them off, I apologized and explained what happened. It was an honest mistake, even a sweet boy like me, with my own GPS machine could get turned around and go the wrong way in the woods.

From Glen Aulin it was mostly down hill and back to Tioga Road. This was not a full loop, we got picked up by Dan and Drew at a parking area near the trailhead. I really wanted to hitchhike back the 10+ miles, but nobody else was into that idea. I hang out with unadventurous bums. The last of Yosemite 2014 pictures can be found HERE. Also a “Best Of” pictures page is HERE. Thanks for reading.

Yosemite 2014 – Elizabeth Lake and Tuolumne Meadows

2014-09-Yosemite-651We made our move of camps from the Yosemite Valley to the high country and Tuolumne Meadows. Once there and camp was set up we immediately set out for a hike straight up in the air to Elizabeth Lake. We hiked across the 9000 foot elevation point to about 9500 feet. Once at the lake we circled the entire lake and took some time to scamper up and across some rock formations. I believe this particular hike, in conjunction with the time of day and weather conditions made for the best photo opportunities of the trip. You know the conditions are great to take pictures when even a life long seasoned professional photographer like Matt was super excited to take pictures. A place he has probably shot several times before, and I could see his boyhood excitement. The mirrored effects of the mountains, sky, and clouds off the water were spectacular. It was the most fortunate of timing for us. The entire hike was great, the weather cooled down nicely because of the elevation and late afternoon. We made it back down to camp just around sunset. Perfect time to put on warmer clothes, eat some food out of a bag, and bundle up for sleeping in the cold. I fooled around with some of the pictures. Some I made the way I saw them with my eyes, and a few I made with some fun effects that I like. Some pictures HERE.


Yosemite 2014 – Camp change & Olmsted Point

After a few nights sleeping outside in the Yosemite Valley, it was time to move camp to the high country. We packed up camp and started driving to Tuolumne Meadows. As the crow flies it is only about 20 miles, probably less. But it takes 3-4 hours to drive there. The elevation climb is several thousand feet and the drive is across the beautiful ridge of Tioga Road. We came up to the high country of Yosemite last year, but only for a day trip. This year we were going to sleep outside, under the stars for a few nights, and wake up in the most beautiful part of the park. As Bob Hrabek the park ranger said to us as we entered, “Welcome to Paradise”. He wasn’t kidding. Ranger Bob then proceeded to hook us up 2014-09-Yosemite-534with what must have been the best campsite on the grounds. We were nestled in the trees and backed right up to the trail that lead to everywhere you could possibly want to wander. A giant change from down in the valley. The climate changed too, once the sun was gone it was freezing. Perfect for sleeping outside.

On the drive up to our new home we stopped at Olmsted Point. Another place we stopped last year, but completely different this time. The weather and skies were very cooperative for photography. The skies were deep blue with cotton ball clouds. I was able to capture a picture of a tree I loved last year, but couldn’t do much with it on camera because of a dull sky. We marched out to the Point for another view of Half Dome, and then continued to our new home in Tuolumne Meadows. Once there we set up camp and went for a hike straight from our tents to Lake Elizabeth. It was an elevation change of over 1000 feet, maxing around 9500 feet. Elizabeth Lake is were the most amazing photo experiences happened, while we were there everything changed to make for the perfect conditions. I hope I was able to capture something. I will find time to get to those photos next. For now I was able to get through a few more photos, Olmsted Point and our hike toward Elizabeth Lake. Those pictures are HERE.


A little more Yosemite September 2014

I finally had a chance to go through a few more of the Yosemite pictures from last month. I can’t believe it has already been a month ago. I went through and processed a few of the 2014-09-Yosemite-252-HDRpanorama photos and HDR photos that I made. Some are fun, others are nonsense. I also went through the pictures of the day Josh and I went to see the big trees on our own. Giant sequoia trees, and they are giant. Pictures do them zero justice. We hiked up to a point that is only a mile from the museum and could tell that nobody goes up there. It was an amazing vista point, but since there was no road to drive up there, I doubt it gets many
visits. That was a fun day in Wawona that started out hectic and full of uncertainty. It definitely worked out for the best. Later we were able to find a spot and watch the sun set on Half Dome. People queue up and wait for hours to get the perfect picture of the “golden light” on Half Dome. Josh and I fell ass-backwards into a spot in a meadow and watched from there, with nobody else around. Josh was able to watch some of the football game by Peeping Tom’ing through a stranger’s window. My pictures are not the storybook pictures of Half Dome, but I’ll take it for my personal collection. I still think the best pictures are yet to come. I haven’t even gotten to the days with the amazing skies and mirrored lakes. Some of the newest pictures are HERE. 2014-09-Yosemite-427-HDR

Yosemite September 2014 – Days 1 and 2

2014-09-Yosemite-114I finally had some time to look through pictures from Yosemite last month, September 2014. I have only made it through the first day and a half of pictures. I know the best are near the end of the trip, but I have to go through them in order. That is part of my CDO disorder.

We hiked the Panorama Trail on our second day in Yosemite. The group of 5 went together. The first day Josh and I set out on our own to circumnavigate would is called Mirror Lake or Mirror Meadow. It was a lake when I was here last year, and a meadow this year. Amazing what this planet does.

Pictures are HERE in case you are interested or overly bored. 2014-09-Yosemite-126