Original Post: August 17, 2015
Day 2 at Yosemite. At least we were prepared for Tioga Pass Road today. We woke early, figuring we’d start the day off right. That meant fishing in the stream in the meadow directly across from the campground, of course. Nate caught several cutthroat trout, hooting and hollering each time he reeled one in. And while we (ahem, Nate) were fishing, I sat by the shore, photographing and generally appreciating the solitude. Until these guys showed up.
Okay, so they were pretty welcome and I’d hardly say that they ruined my solitude. They checked us out for several minutes before deciding we were no threat and that the meadow looked like better eating on the opposite bank. They splashed in and waded across to the other side. (With one stopping to pee in the middle of the stream. Really??? What a boy thing to do.) I was really just in awe at how close they were to us, without a concern that we were near. When two additional frisky deer showed up about twenty minutes later, the entire spunky herd took off together. At a distance of 30 yards, it was a pretty spectacular sight. And the Belding’s ground squirrels were pretty darn cute, too (even if they might be filthy little plague-carriers).
This guy took several minutes before coming out of his burrow. I’m sure he wanted to make sure I wasn’t a coyote ready to pounce on him.
Since Tioga Pass Road threatened to be long and exhausting again today, when we’d finished with our morning in the meadow, we headed to Tenaya Lake on the way to the falls. I didn’t need to see Yosemite Falls until the evening anyway.
We just figured we’d make a day of the journey. So, on we went to picnic at Tenaya Lake, when we realized that the place was not as deserted as it had seemed.
Nate tried throwing in a line, but caught nothing. The lake is far too deep and there was nothing to be caught from the rocky shore. Mid-afternoon at this point, we head onward to I had begun to think of as “The Main Attraction.” But, we were tired and Tioga Pass Road is ridiculously long. Does this road ever end? And it was drizzling again. Hmm, a pull off… (Or “pull out” or “turn off” depending on what park and what state you’re in.) Off we go, to take a fifteen minute nap.
Back on the road, we finally reached the visitor center in the midst of a horrible traffic jam. The rain had picked up steadily and nearly everyone wanted to get out of the very poorly laid out parking lot. Let me restate that. VERY. POORLY. LAID. OUT. Add to that the ridiculous chaos of travelers from all over the world who probably don’t read the signs so well and it’s a mess. Oh, but wait, that’s right, the signs weren’t there to read… One thing we discovered (belatedly) about Yosemite was that the signage within the park was awful. The only saving grace was that I had a park map from when we’d first entered the park. Otherwise, I think it’s safe to say that we would have been turned around quite a number of times!
We finally found a parking spot just as the sky really began to pour on us. It was about 4 pm by this point and we figured we’d just wait out the storm. Storms can’t last forever, right? Lots of wicked lightning and one hour later and we were still sitting in the car. Then – a break! Hooray! We got out and figured it would be a good time to do a little shopping in the gift store, particularly since it was still too early to try to hike to the falls. (By my calculations, the sky had to clear, the sun had to set, and the moon had to rise for the moonbows to show their faces…)
We finished shopping and made it back to the car in time to see this:
To say I was frustrated would have been a severe understatement. It wasn’t as though we could wait out the storms forever, particularly if they just kept forming and lingering. How could we be HERE, in Yosemite, during the perfect time for moonbows and be foiled by the weather of all things? I swore I heard the soup nazi in my head, only instead of no soup for me, he was screaming, “No moonbows for you!”
Disappointed, we decided to throw in the towel rather than wait another several hours in the car. You know what this meant, of course. Back to Tioga Pass Road. But, on the way out, we saw at least a few sights that made the trip to “The Main Attraction” worth it. Here and there the sky cleared for just an instant and the sun set the peaks on fire, the low-hanging clouds only making the scene more dramatic.
For all that Yosemite skunked us, I’m still surprised that I managed to pull off a few photos I hadn’t thought were all that great when I was out in the field, but at the computer discovered that they weren’t nearly as bad as I’d thought!
Perhaps there’s some Ansel in me after all.