YOSEMITE SUMMER: First Days Off – Books, Blisters & Such

This and several upcoming blog posts are about my recent month long visit to California and experiences in Yosemite National Park, where I served as a park volunteer.

Tuesday, June 16

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Lower Yosemite Falls

I wanted to go where it was warm and there were more people. So I thought. I headed to the Valley Tuesday morning. I planned to go to the Museum Library to research the Park Service Rangers. I received an assignment before I left. I could pick up the Delaware North Corp. (DNC) discount cards, good, supposedly, for a 50% discount at the Tuolumne Grill and a 10% discount at the general store. Otherwise, everyone had to wait until Friday for the cards.

I got to the valley around 10am and parked in Day Use Parking. Upon arrival, I received a phone call from Suzy (YC). She said she would send the paperwork for the DNC cards to the Valley field office, and then I needed to take the paperwork to the DNC office near the Village Store. I had not anticipated this, but said “sure” and headed for the library.

There, I met the librarian, who is Adrienne’s daughter-in-law. Small world. She pulled a number of books and treatises. I began reviewing the treatises. A short time later the librarian informed me she was closing the library for lunch and would return in one hour. Not a problem, I thought, as the resources seemed pretty light. I walked to Lower Yosemite Falls. The water flow was weak but the people watching was fun. Hundreds of people, mostly children, were scrambling among the talus at the base of the falls. It’s amazing there are so few trips or falls, but that blessing goes along with being a child.

I returned to the library, completed my research, and checked out one book. I then called the YC office as I watched my cell phone battery charge deplete to under 30%. I don’t think it helped that one of my fellow volunteers kept sending me the same nature photo over and over again. Although I acknowledged receipt of the photo, she never received the acknowledgment due to poor cell phone reception. Very late in the afternoon (around 4:00), the Valley YC volunteer informed me she had received the required paperwork for the DNC discount cards. I took the packed shuttle bus to Yosemite Lodge. She met me there and kindly drove me to the DNC office, where the employee initially said it would take several days to issue the cards. The YC volunteer charmed her past that obfuscation, and I soon left the premises with the cards (and a more fully charged phone, done while I waited).

Back to the campground – a two-hour drive due to road construction. I need to go on a hike.

Wednesday, June 17

Both Cyndi and I are off today, so we agreed to hike to May Lake. It’s a light hike, about three miles, but can be supplemented by hiking around the lake. This will be a good test for my hiking boots.

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May Lake

We drove past Olmsted Point to the May Lake entrance. I drove two miles down a paved road to the trailhead. Several years ago I made the same hike, but the paved road was closed, which added four miles to the effort. Early on, I realized my boots were rubbing my heels. Not a good sign. I stopped after about two miles of hiking and bandaged the heels. Unfortunately, I had not packed moleskin. I soldiered on, and Cyndi and I had lunch at the east end of the lake, a rocky outcropping that affords beautiful views of the lake. After our repast, we trudged to the west shore, then hiked up the trail toward Mount Hoffman, stopping where we had great views of the entire park. Hoffman is located at the geographical center of the park, thus affording great vistas.

My blisters could handle no more, so we headed back to the car. Along the way, we stopped to observe a marmot feasting on horse dung. Cyndi noted that the dung is mainly grass because of a horse’s digestive track. Nonetheless, my opinion of the marmot has dropped a notch or two. It’s still dung.

May Lake

May Lake

Thursday, June 18

I decided to mend today. Nothing meaningful to report.

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