They Say That Travel Broadens your Mind Til’ You Can’t Get Your Head Out the Door
Turns out I’d passed out in the living/dining room, in a big green lawn chair. This I learned at some point during the morning. It was hard to tell just when, because all of the cabin’s shutters were drawn, there were no clocks on the wall, and my phone was…more than 2 feet away. Oh well- back to sleep for awhile.
After an exceedingly slow start to the day, the three of us were all up and about- each hurting in the head to varying degrees, each dimly aware of some of the previous night’s high-country drama. Nobody felt totally right, nobody felt totally wrong; and nobody wanted to dredge the whole stupid thing up anyway. We gave each other space where it was needed.
Some of us went on a hike out towards the north rim of Tenaya Canyon, others decided to catch some rays laying out on the granite balds that hung over Snow Creek Canyon, a short distance from the cabin. It was a good day. Mellow. Necessary.
It Ain’t Exactly Rocket Science. Oh Wait…It Is
By the time the group reconvened at the cabin around sunset, we weren’t dancing around each other with felt boots any longer; and so we got back to the business of being a unified bunch of hungry folk. I can’t remember what we had for dinner that night; but I do remember that we had dinner; and that in itself feels like a mental victory under the circumstances.
Fresh out of wine, and nearly out of bourbon, and with precious little interest in either of them anyway, we were just beginning to settle in for a mellow, early night, with no distractions, when a quintet of lights suddenly appeared in the darkness just outside the living room window, bobbing and flashing and exploding their beams through the multi-paned glass. Surreal and freaky at first, coming as the lights did from the least intuitive direction (having semi-circumvented the nearby meadow before finding the cabin), the lights proved to be nothing more than the headlamps of newcomers, and not cyborgs, aliens, or UFOs after all.
They were a group of astrophysicists from Stanford University in Palo Alto, of varying Northern European and North American descent. They were all good folk, and they were even nice enough to help us take down the last of that wretchedly insidious bourbon, though they were understandably pretty wrecked from their day’s ascent from Yosemite Valley.
After a brief walk through the full-moon-lit meadow (the offer of which, incidentally, the dogs turned down in their utter exhaustion), the team sacked out, nice and early, as did the newcomers. The cabin must have been silent by 11 PM; and aside from an unbelievably loud crash which reverberated through the whole structure sometime around 1 or 2 AM, a crash caused by my bumbled attempt to get out of my bed-chair and cross the room in the blackness, it remained so until the morning.
Day 05: Back To The World of Man
Burning Up My Fuse Up Here Alone
Come morning, minds were on things like civilization, red meat, beds, and showers; and little was going to change that. After an efficient, no frills breakfast of crispy toasted tortillas, sausage patties and oatmeal, we gathered our gear and set off from the cabin, after recommending a few area hikes to the rocket scientists , who were staying until the next day.
We made it down through the snow zone in 10 minutes, then took off the snowshoes and made even better time through the woods. Stopping for a break at the Snow Creek crossing, we continued on down, consuming the switchbacks in an hour and a half, about a fifth of the time it had taken to get up them, and touching down in the valley around noon or so.
Soaks aching feet in Merced River. Retrieves vehicle. Begins to load gear into back of same. Readies to exit the park, to return another day.
Too Late, Lawman- I’ve Got a Lunch Date. Now If You’ll Excuse Me…
Just before we roll out, a white-haired old ranger walks up to us through the afternoon sunlight, greeting us and politely letting us know that we’re parked in a no parking zone.
Yeah, I know, I’ll be moving out in just a minute, sir. Thankful not to have seen any park authorities until now, when we were no longer under threat of being called out on our rule-disregarding insolence, we headed out of Yosemite Valley, tracing the Merced river down through its lower canyon.
We stopped at a roadhouse-type bar and grill in Mariposa, not a moment too soon. I had a French dip on crunchy roll. It was good. Or maybe it wasn’t. At that point I probably would have enjoyed a gasoline and rotten egg sandwich, with a dipping sauce of raw sewage on the side. No matter.
Previous: (Chapter 06)