The Big Trip Out West
Though I haven’t even been home for more than a month, I’ve been pretty busy. Almost immediately after coming home, my family and Julia set out on a great adventure west. We wanted to see some of our nation’s most beautiful parks during the Centennial of the National Parks Service. Our goal was to visit the Badlands, the Corn Palace, Custer’s State Park, Mt. Rushmore, Devil’s Tower, Yellowstone, the Grand Tetons, Craters of the Moon, Crater Lake, Redwoods State Park, Yosemite, King’s Canyon, Sequoias, Moab, Canyonlands, Arches, the world’s best cinnamon roll at Glen Haven, and Trail Ridge Road. But even the perfect plan can have its bumps and amazing surprises. Come along on the journey, as I’ll be posting each day (and roughly each park) throughout the next few months.
Baby, It’s Cold Outside in Yosemite
Last night, we slept at the Big Trees Lodge, a beautiful hotel nestled around the rim of Yosemite. The cold night introduced an even colder morning, so we headed to the lobby to warm up by the fireplace. There, we dined on tea and oatmeal and chatted with a man from New York City who traveled there by train. (He traveled there by train! In 2016!) After breakfast, we drove off to Glacier Point.
The Sights from Glacier Point
By noon, we were parked at the first overlook into Yosemite Valley, right before Glacier Point. It was quite a busy area, but we still walked around. We had a few group photos here and had a small snack. (We love snacks.) Then, we headed down the hill to the very busy Glacier Point.
At the end of the Glacier Point trail is a cupola that looks out over the valley. From there, one can walk down a few stairs into a patio-like area with walls along the cliff edges. Looking over the side, you can see straight down into the valley. The cars there look like ants. The people? You can’t even see them.
But from where we were, we could see an idiotic college student jumping around on the walls with his camera. What happened to him? Maybe he fell off. (Maybe we pushed him.)
Really, he was fine.
Watch Out for Fissures
That afternoon, we arrived at Taft Point and began our hike to the Fissures. As we passed through a wooded area, we ran into three grouse, five does, and a six point buck all going about their afternoon. We waited there a while to see if the buck would finally be brave enough to cross the path. Bravery overcame him; as he passed, he turned to look right at us.
This trail takes you out to a rocky finger with no walls that looks over the valley. Due to erosion, it also has massive cracks in the rock. It was difficult to see where they were until you were right up to them, and some of them were big enough to fall through to the valley floor.
For those that are more daring, you may be able to join slackliners here. There was a group of three guys who had rigged a line over one of the large fissures and were taking their turns walking across it. Thankfully, they were harnessed, because one slip would have sent them down, down, down. Julia and I were thoroughly impressed by a guy who kept growling like a bear while he kept his balance.
At the end of the Fissures, we sat down for a picnic of peanut butter sandwiches (as per usual) and cheese crackers. Two large ravens sat close by, just waiting for us to leave behind some crumbs.
By 7 pm, we had made our way back down to the valley floor. Our last night in Yosemite was spent at Half Dome Village, an area with rustic, yurt, and cabin camping. Thankfully, we were able to escape the cold and stay in one of the cabins with little plaid quilts.
We deposited our things then went for dinner at the cafeteria in Half Dome Village. It was set up like a summer camp, and we all filed through the line. The mushroom and spinach lasagne was definitely the best thing on the menu. Time to hit the sack.
Be kind to one another,