Saturday, December 28, 2013


December 8, Sunday
After finding a room of refuge from the storm at Tehachapi and resting there for the night we enjoyed a wonderful hot breakfast in the motel breakfast room.  The road was still closed when we checked at 8 a.m., again at 9 a.m., and finally at 10 a.m. the road was opened to traffic.  Highway 58 was chock full--two lanes of traffic, almost bumper to bumper, travelling at about 20 mph.  From Tehachapi the road was almost all down hill.  Conditions improved from clear sunny skies with wet roads and snow covered hillsides to dry roads and no snow to be seen.  Traffic picked up speed and pretty soon all was normal again.

Hwy. 58 joined 99 at Bakersfield.  It was a good thing that it was a Sunday morning as traffic around Bakersfield was light.

We stopped once at a rest area and then arrived at Merced and checked into a Motel 6 by 2 p.m.  We took a few things up to the room, turned on the heat and then went for a walk to a supermarket to pick up some food.  We passed the afternoon reading, watching t.v., writing emails.  D.S. #1 in Yosemite soon called and we discussed road conditions into Yosemite.  At this time snow tires are sufficient.

December 9, Monday
We had figured on a two hour drive to Yosemite, but because the road was narrow and twisty and Jim is a careful driver it took a bit longer.  Then the navigator (myself) made a mistake and took the first left in the park and had to make about a 15 minute circle (because the roads there are one way) to reach Yosemite Lodge where D.S. was waiting for us.  What a treat to see him and give him a big hug!

He had reserved a room for us for the next three nights, and it was lovely.  Here's a view from our balcony.  The weather was just especially wonderful; there was fresh, white snow all around and the sun was strong, making everything sparkle.  We enjoyed these birds that came chattering around our balcony.

I'm not sure if it is a kind of bluebird or a blue jay.  I'd guess a jay because of the crest.  What a gorgeous blue!

We had a nice meal in the cafeteria, which offers lots of choice, from soup and salad through burgers all the way to a complete meal of fish/meat, veggies, etc.  We skipped dessert and were plenty full.

That afternoon we went for a short hike on the valley floor.  Late afternoon and evening we spent in our room with D.S. having a very good visit.

December 10, Tuesday

Had a slow morning, a dinner around 1 p.m. in the cafeteria again.  We drove to a parking lot just beyond Curry Village and hiked to Mirror Lake, the same hike we did last year in October.  This time the lake (which was completely dry last year) was covered with snow.  We went a bit further a took a loop back for a total hike of approximately 5 miles.  It was exhilarating to be out in the snow with the sun again shining brightly, making everything gleam.

Late afternoon and evening we repeated our relaxation and visit in our room.  Such a good time!

December 11, Wednesday

Our hike today was from the meadow below El Capitan up the talus slope--no trail, just rubble, snow and bush to the base of the cliff.  D.S. said that perhaps just a few of the million visitors to the park each year ever get to the base of that impressive cliff face.  Here's the view from the base, looking straight up.

That evening as Jim was having trouble with the extremely slow internet provided for guests he asked if we could go to D.S.'s room and use his connection. That worked like a charm.

Meantime D.S. was showing me a video on his DVD play of the competition to be the fastest team to climb the nose of El Cap.  That was amazing and actually pretty scary.
We went back to our room and together watched another video about Alex Honnold, an extremely gifted climb who of "free solos."  I'm just always thankful that I don't know when D.S. is climbing!

As we were returning from our hike that afternoon we noticed that the moon was visible in the afternoon sky.

This is our last evening here.  Tomorrow we drive on to visit D.S. #2 and his family.

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