I lived for my first nine or ten years in California, and for most of that time my dad and mom were into car camping — and so was I! We would take off for a weekend or a week to visit parks and forests in the deserts and mountains. I loved it. I don’t remember ever being unhappy when I heard we were going camping.
More than one of those visits was made to Yosemite National Park. This would have been in the 1960s. We moved to Hawaii around 1970, and I don’t think I ever visited the park again — that is, until now. This past week, after the Nebula awards, I made it back to the park for one glorious day. I was with my husband, who was seeing the park for the first time. The weather was perfect, and the crowds were not bad at all.
We started with a visit to Glacier Point, where we had a stunning, panoramic view. We also discovered there is a trail, just over four miles in length, that traverses the valley wall between Glacier Point and the valley floor. That is definitely on our list to do the next time we’re able to visit.
Next, we headed into the valley, parked the car somewhat near the visitor center, and spent the next few hours walking about and taking in the sights. I’m sure I’m not the first to say this, but looking at the valley’s massive walls, softened by Yosemite and Bridalveil Falls and enclosing gorgeous forests and meadows, I felt like we were standing in Rivendell — Imladris — long after the elves had gone back to their homeland. It was amazing.
We found the base of the trail to Glacier Point, and hiked up it for a half mile or so, just to get a feel for it. The base seems to have been paved at some point, though much of the paving has eroded. There is some skilled rock work on the switchbacks, with most of the rocks covered in moss — very lovely.
Before long, we headed back down and then followed a trail that paralleled the road, intending to return to the store and the visitor center. That’s when my husband suddenly stopped, announcing, “Hey, look. Bears.”
Have I ever mentioned that I have a deep fear of meeting a bear on a trail? A fear that has been with me since childhood?
Him: “I need to take a picture.”
Me: “Holy shit!”
Fortunately, the two bears seem to have looked on us with a shock equal to my own, because they immediately turned tail and ran away. They were likely yearlings — not full size yet, but definitely not cubs. I have to say, I was hugely surprised that we saw any bears at all. Later, looking at the brochure, we read that we “would be lucky” to see a bear.
I guess we were lucky twice. On the day we left, as we drove away from our hotel (The Narrow Gauge Inn), we saw another smallish bear crossing the road. You know…when we return to do the Glacier Point hike, I think I’ll bring bear repellant. That should ensure we see no bears at all.
Here are a few tourist shots…I’m sure you’ve seen similar before.