Monday, April 03, 2006

SPAM, snow and soaked socks.

But, first I'll tell you about the trip there.

We headed out to Yosemite pretty early in the morning. (I lost the bet.) Stopped in with Derek's folks to pick up dry firewood, the hatchet and the campstove.

Yosemite, it turns out, was four hours away. Not the two hours that somebody had remembered. No worries, though. We had enough trailmix to keep us in good shape for days. We shot down the freeway and then traversed highway 120 through the foothills, watching the ominious looking clouds that we seemed to be headed straight for.

The foothills were gorgeous. Here in California we run ads for California Cheese. They feature great looking cows on lush green foothills. The ad's motto is: "Great cheese comes from happy cows. Happy cows come from California." This ride in the cow-dotted foothills was straight from that Ad.

The road changed from long curves to hairpin turns, and the elevation change was dramatic. Looking over the side, we all began to secretly wonder if Derek had what it took to drive this treacherous road. And, in silence we wondered if anyone would find us in that ravine.

We had passed the hairpin turns and reached the mountain pass just in time to see snow. Lots of snow.

"Yosemite is in the valley, right?" I asked Derek who had been there several summers in his childhood.


"So... we're going through snow now, but we won't be setting up camp in the snow, right?" I wondered out loud.


As we reached the peak, the snow banks were an impressive 5-6 feet high on either side of the narrow road. The clouds were thick and the snow began to fall. The tall redwoods were a real contrast to the thick blanket of snow. I wondered how fresh it was.

Derek and I exchanged nervous glances. The road began to gather slush. Any minute it would be ice and I knew we didn't have snow tires or chains. Or money for chains for that matter.

I prayed silently and turned on the camcorder and camera. "If they find us in the snow bank in the spring, at least they'll have our last messages to friends and family on videotape." I snapped out of it.

It was a quiet 24 mile trip through the pass. And, soon the snow blanket began to recede and the falling snow turned to spitting rain. We turned a corner and the most wonderful thing appeared. A huge, granite mountain! We all squealed with excitement! Turned another corner and squealed some more! Soon, Derek pulled off to the side of the road to look at a waterfall across the river. I hopped out with the kids and the camera and began to take pictures. It was truly the most beautiful landscape I'd seen since Canada!

A middle-aged couple was there from North Platte, Nebraska. Just retired. How cool is that?

We pulled up to the check in station and paid our $20 to get into the park. It was a 6 day pass. 6 days. I wondered if we'd be stuck there six days. It was getting ready to snow that night...


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