July 9th, 2008

little review

Poem for Wednesday

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It has been a long, good but tiring day so I will briefly outline the highlights. We got up early, ate a quick breakfast and took a walk from the lodge to Lower Yosemite Falls, about a mile-long easy hike to the boulders that lead to the falls and across the stream to the pine forest nearby, where we saw lots of white-shouldered California ground squirrels, crested Steller's jays and assorted other birds and little rodents. It's a short walk from the end of the trail to the Yosemite Valley visitor's center, so we stopped there to visit the exhibit on Yosemite geology and to watch the film about how the land became a national park. Then we took a shuttle bus back to the area near the lodge and drove to the picnic area beneath El Capitan for lunch, where we were joined by several more birds hoping for a bite.

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After lunch we drove a bit through to Bridalveil Fall, which is on the opposite side of the valley from El Capitan. Then we headed toward Half Dome, which along with El Capitan is probably the best-known feature of the Sierra Nevada; you can see it on the California quarter. Soon after, we began the long drive out of the park toward San Francisco, which heads down winding mountain roads through dense forest to scrubby hills and almond trees. We had a small crisis when we checked into our hotel -- our room's air conditioner wasn't working, which in this heat was intolerable -- but we changed rooms and the kids had a bit of time to swim before we met Paul's aunt Sandra and cousin Jared for dinner at a Guadalajara Grill. We hadn't seen them since our wedding!