There are wilder places, but they’re not very far from here. Our day started fairly slowly when Jen and the boys went to the nature center in the valley. Addy and I stayed in the RV to finish posting yesterday’s blog, but we met for lunch and then took a short walk to the base of Yosemite Falls.
Only Evan and I were crazy enough to climb the rocks to reach the place where the water falls to meet the rocks. I wouldn’t let Evan go all the way up with me, but I got as close as I dared with all the camera gear. It was close enough to get plenty wet and I was grateful for the weather sealing of the Nikon D810 and the Tamron 15-30mm. I wasn’t worried a bit, really. I knew that as long as I didn’t fall and land on the camera or in the river, we’d be fine.
After successfully navigating the way down, which was actually much more difficult, Evan posed for a picture. He must have picked up a couple tricks from some of the other travelers whom we saw along the way.
Our next venture was a very long drive along East 120, the highway to the wilderness. I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned this before, but I love to discover new places and the roads that take us there. Even if there are no roads, a path will do. If there is no path, just a destination will do. We drove for miles and miles and saw one beautiful scene after another. One thing that I've learned to appreciate is the way that the engineers designed the roadways to move through the land in a way that causes the least amount of aesthetic interference.
At one point, we stopped because the view into the heart of the mountain pass was irresistible.
And after another turn down the road, we saw a beautiful lake.
The water was so cold and crystal clear. There were people swimming and getting around in kayaks and canoes. The whole scene was something extraordinary.
Our actual destination was the Tuolumne Meadow near the wilderness ranger station, the place where a few people stand in a line to receive permits to enter the wilderness every day at 10:30am. It’s kind of exhilarating to be on the edge of something so vast. You can pick up the John Muir trail here and the rest of the Pacific Crest Trail if you’d like. Maybe I’m over-romanticizing the whole thing, but I don’t have to justify that feeling to anyone.
I cooked chicken fajitas and quesadillas in the RV in a turnout on the side of the meadow and enjoyed as much quiet as you can imagine (with kids, lol). After I washed the dishes, I went out searching for a spot to photograph the scene at sunset. We’re not really permitted to walk in or through the meadow. If one person walks through the grass, they might not leave a trail, but if we all try to be that one person, we’d eventually trample every blade of grass and every wildflower.
There were some large rocks near the side of the road that were accessible with one easy jump. From that vantage, I was able to see the colors change in the sky. I saw the light kiss the mountains in the distance. And I saw a group of deer or elk (I’m honestly not sure) laying and then grazing on the field. I stayed until I could no longer tolerate all of the enormous mosquitos that were also grazing on my arms and legs. Every time I’d end one of the pests’ meal on my body, two more would take its place. I had some deet in my other bag… the one I left in the RV.
As I walked back to the truck, I just felt like this could not be the last time I got this close to the wild, and that maybe one day I’d go a bit further.
Thanks for reading and for following our family journey. We’re near Yosemite for one more day, but I’ll try to post as much as I can. Take care, friends!