Saturday, October 5, 2013

The life of Riley

As Yosemite Valley emptied, we lingered: the beauty of the meadows un-trampled by
human feet; the trees starting to drape themselves in yellow and the pristine blue skies and fresh air along with an absence of noise (and a ton of cars) made one want to hide out in a tent and get missed for the final count.

Half Dome

Yosemite Valley

We circled the various hotels and lodges, most of which were already shut, talked to a few other tourists who tarried and very much enjoyed a (brother Bob pulled out every time there was even one car behind us) leisurely exit from the park.

Tioga Pass
We had chosen to go out over the Tiago Pass and, although many were closed, we could still pull out occasionally to take in the splendors surrounding us: huge blocks of granite, followed by fields of shale; various pine trees as well as the odd animal (including a coyote in plain daylight); one alpine lake after the other – we had a “picnic” at Tenaya Lake even a couple of burnt logs from the Rim fire as they had managed to stop it from jumping Highway 120.

Coyote at Tuolome Meadows

Tenaya Lake

Stellar Jay
Tufas at Mono Lake

 Going down the other side we enjoyed seeing the Tufa’s ("Tufa is a variety of limestone, formed by the precipitation of carbonate minerals from ambient temperature water bodies." as per of  Mono Lake before traveling north only to turn around and go South when we realized that Mammoth was a lot closer than Tahoe. There we found a Westin hotel, off-season, probably not even half full where, for my joining the Starwood Group, we were able to obtain a two-bedroom, two-bath hotel suite. None of us could remember ever having stayed in such fine surroundings for a very reasonable price.
 After a trip along the coast with Scott and Alexandrine, a wedding in San Francisco at the Presidio,this trip to Yosemite and the Sierras, I truly feel like I am living the life of Riley!

Never fear – reality will set in soon enough as I return home.