Sunday, June 10, 2007

Bears and Squirrels

Gallup, NM 9:50 am

When we pulled up to Yosemite Nat'l Park, we were both a little down-trodden and ready to be out of the car. I was mostly worried about finding a campsite inside the park, a task which we accomplished successfully. It was the middle of the afternoon, so we decided to check out Yosemite Valley to see what options awaited us there. As we drove down that windy road, huge granite walls rose mercilessly in front of us and waterfalls cascaded down them. We wanted to stop at every turn to take pictures, but each new corner held a better view. We did a short hike that afternoon and drove around to get our bearings. We vowed to stay another night, do a long hike, and breath in a little more of the mountain air.
The next morning, we set out to hike to the top of Yosemite Falls, the tallest waterfall in the US. On the way to the trail head we saw a bear! Cory said it was a black bear although it was brown, but I guess I believe him because what do I know about bears? It was pretty awesome to watch the bear from a distance. He was just minding his own business chomping away with his head down in the grass. I think I would have been a little more excited if he wasn't so close to our campsite.
The hike up the falls really felt good after spending so much time cooped up in the car. It's funny, every time I start along a trail my mind invariably moves to stone pathways, castles, and princesses. I know exactly where these thoughts come from- they are a direct flashback from perhaps the first place I ever did any hiking, Brownwood. I remember stepping onto a path that led into the "woods" that was actually not too far from our cabin. I thought I discovered a whole world full of castles complete with moats and dragons. (In reality it was some tables and chairs carved out of stone, and a stairway that lead to some rocks overlooking the water of the lake.) Whenever I think of Brownwood, it's still carved in my mind this way- a castle, my castle that I discovered. I remembered my family all under one roof, playing dominoes and feasting on chili beans and s'mores.
As we were getting closer to the top, the trail seemed to be getting steeper and I wasn't feeling as hard-core as when we started. By the time we were looking over the edge at the falling water I was feeling a little woozy- which I attributed to the altitude (reminding me of another memory- involving a ski trip and only donuts for breakfast). I propped myself up against a rock for a rest, and sat there for awhile letting the mist from the waterfall sprinkle me. Then I noticed a ground squirrel getting awfully close to me. I was eyeing him warily, hoping he would leave, but he started to run at me. Since I didn't have a coat to throw over it or a hammer to smack it with, I jumped up and gave a few warning stomps to let him know I had no qualms about kicking him off the ledge. That did it; he was running away in fear after that.
We finished up our stay at Yosemite planning a return visit and wishing we had longer to stay, and all of you guys here to share it with us.
We spent all of yesterday repacking and driving. We had some half-hearted intentions of driving through the night until we got home, but we were still 18 hours out. We stopped in at a hotel and finished the drive today. (I'm actually finishing this post from my home computer!) We are back in the lovely and sunny Texas, and now must rummage through all the junk we have stored in the car for the past two weeks, a task that may take us as long as the road trip.


Anonymous said...

Jessica - thanks for taking me along for the ride - it was a lovely road trip!


Sarah said...

So glad y'all are home, unharmed by feisty ground squirrels. See you soon!

Cody said...


Where's Eddie? He usually eats these things.

Anonymous said...

Welcome back! I am insanely jealous. Glad you guys had such a great time and saw so many beautiful things. And that you shared them with us!

Anonymous said...

d'oh! That was me, by the way.


bj said...

Hi, Jess...thanks for stopping by my new blog. I just started it last week and have just had a ball with it.
I thought, if it's ok, I'll add your blog to my favorites and then lots of people will start stopping by.
We had such a good time tonight in Idalou with the kids trick or treating. Just a lot of fun!
I love you lots,