Yosemite National Park, California

Half DomeYosemite Camping Cooking jambalayaYosemite MoonriseHalf Dome Trees recovering from controlled firesYosemite Valley Yosemite ForestA twisted treeLooking over the distance 4.5 miles to Half Dome Yosemite descentHiking in Yosemite Fallen LeafWaterfalls in Yosemite Sunset Hills

Happy Thanksgiving! Hope everyone ate lots of turkey and got really plump off of good food!

Recently, I made a last minute decision to join my friends on a weekend camping trip to Yosemite National Park. Now, up until a month ago, the totality of my camping experiences consisted of a single trip by the American River. The result? Well, let’s just say that I woke up in so much pain that I had to spend the rest of the night “camping” in the backseat of Chris’ truck. Camping: 1; Jeanne: 0. (Protip: A mattress pad or a blow up mattress is necessary for weak city girls to survive camping.) To say the least, I was apprehensive about spending a weekend in a tent in Yosemite. I gave it another shot. This time, with blow up mattress in tow, I slept like a baby.

Hiking the Panorama Trail down to Yosemite Valley from Glacier Point was a wonderful (albeit, painful in the end) experience. We woke at the crack of dawn to the chill of the valley’s air. The surrounding campsites were quiet, with only a few clouds of smoke floating amidst the trees providing proof that humans were up and about. Although there was a tour guide on the bus up to Glacier Point giving us the history of Yosemite, I ignored her, instead taking the time to imagine myself walking in the quiet amongst the giant, sleeping sequoias. Seeing all of Yosemite Valley laid out below us was utterly breathtaking. Half Dome loomed like a majestic eagle-head just beyond us. It seemed to be within reach, but its sheer size was revealed by the fuzz of tiny sequoias lining its shoulders. Next year, I’ll tackle it. Maybe.

Nine long and tortuous miles later, with three different cameras in tow, I managed to lose my Canon AE-1’s lens cap—not once, but TWICE. Miraculously, and thanks to the incredible patience of my two friends, who were kind enough to wait while I backtracked to the trailhead in search of the cap, I found it both times I noticed the cap was missing! (That’s them in that one picture, by the way. I thought they were too cute not to include. It is also of note that they are veteran campers and hikers who made my first “real” camping experience an easy one. She’s also the one making jambalaya in the dutch oven. Delicious!) Because of my constant compulsion to take photos of the gorgeous scenery, I noticed the missing cap within a quarter of a mile from when it was missing. Whew! Only an extra mile of hiking . . . I was unable to walk without wincing for a week after.

I can’t wait to go back. It’s going to be great.

~J

[All photos taken by me on a Canon AE-1.]

11 thoughts on “Yosemite National Park, California

    1. Thanks, Johnny! 🙂 Not a bad idea. I’m not sure how I’ll keep track of the lens cap in the future (maybe a small leash that attaches the lens cap to the camera body?), but I’m definitely much more careful about my lens caps now!

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