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Yosemite Sa(nd)m

After Seattle we spent almost a solid week working at IDF, finishing with an interview with Logitech; the weekend started well with brunch with rowanf and galileopan and hanging out for a while, but I came down with a cold and took to bed for a couple of days. When I emerged we wanted sunshine and daylight so we took off for Yosemite, driving through the central valley and stopping in Mariposa overnight and then in through the oldest rocks in the park. There's a budget motel for sale along this road - and I'm a tiny bit tempted ;-)

All the roads were open so we got to see a lot more of the park than the last time; we went up to the tunnel view first, then up round all the top roads to glacier point. At one point we stopped with a fantastic view of mountains that aren’t your classic Yosemite peaks, stretching across the sky and away into the distance.  Glacier point makes you feel you can reach across and touch Half Dome, but when you look down to the Yosemite Valley it looks a hundred miles away (rather than just 8,000 feet!). Chipmunks skittering across the path, the fattest ground squirrel I have ever seen waddling along, blue jays, deer – and a huge herd of tourists; we didn't see any bears, just bear-proof boxes.

We saw climbers on the face and on the top of Half Dome and when we went down into the valley, those tiny dots on the face of El Capitan? Those were climbers too. The Tualamine Valley road was open; we didn't go up quite as far as the Tioga Pass but we stopped at Olmsted Point (not a place to put a house) for a glorious view of the backside of Half Dome, then caught the last of the afternoon over a lake and on to the Tualamine Meadows for sunset light on the peaks, and then back to Olmstead to watch the moon rise.

The journey home was made more ‘interesting’ by having the GPS set to shortest route rather than quickest; this took us off a road with long but level hairpin bends in favour of the Old Priests Grade road with tight hairpin bends on 45 degree slopes. It would be a beautiful route in the daylight but the brake pads were smoking at the bottom of the road!

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Mary Branscombe
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