Archive for October, 2012



Ode to the Painting Crew

(Author’s Note:  There has been some commentation about the status of painters’ lower appendages.  Be it known that at all times and in all situations, all painters appear clad in white painters’ pants.)

Their legs are always with us,

No matter where we turn.

Their ladders clink, their scrapers grate,

Their sanders buzz and whirr.

 

Their legs are always with us,

Ascending, standing, bent.

All paint-bespattered, flexed to ladders,

Filling one more dent.

 

Their legs are always with us,

Two weeks now, maybe more,

From every window, all we see is

Painters by the score.

 

Well, maybe it’s not twenty.

Most days it’s four to ten,

But all the house is covered now

With men like bees, and when. . .

 

They ask us lots of questions,

Or show us what they’ve done,

They’re all polite and eager

And really having fun.

 

Their legs are always with us,

Plus vehicles galore:

A car, two vans, a bucket truck,

And some days even more.

 

The crew chief is a guy named Shawn.

The rest we only know

As Bearded Wonder, Tattoo Man,

And other names, and so. . .

 

We greet them kindly every day

And thank them for their work.

We growing rather fond of them;

Not one of them’s a jerk.

 

There’ve been a lot of challenges,

Some odd, some happenstance.

Their chainsaw broke, our colors changed,

The smokehouse did a dance.

 

It’s after three o’clock right now.

Today their work is done.

They’ve packed things up and left the scene.

It’s silent!  Oh, how fun.

 

The walls are Cottage Cream, you see.

The trim? Toque White’s appearing.

The ceiling of the porch is pure

Sky-blue, called Atmospheric!

 

Our privacy is mainly shot.

Today while sorting files,

The bucket truck rose past Scott’s desk,

“The Beard” all waves and smiles!

 

They come each weekday morning

At six and thirty-nine.

Good thing I’m up and dressed and out

And walking down the line.

 

They’re all so nice and friendly

And courteous as can be.

They all work hard with excellence

And deal respectfully.

 

We know that they’re all working;

Not really peering in,

But I feel odd sometimes at home

Just doing life, but then. . .

 

I guess I’ll miss them when they’re gone,

When everything looks great,

When we’re all proud and happy that

Our house appears first-rate.

 

For now, not any window’s “safe.”

Where can we go to hide?

Their legs are always with us

From dawn till eventide.

Advertisements

Consider the following

If you are baking something yummy to take to life group, and if you melt one and-a-half sticks of margarine in a mixing bowl, and if when you carry the bowl from the microwave to the counter you drop the bowl such that every single DROP of melted margarine is dumped onto the kitchen floor, then the mess that you will have to clean up can only be described as incredibly awful.

If padded church chairs are outside in a misting fine rain for even a few minutes, then they will get quite damp.

If your one hundred year-old house hasn’t been painted in sixteen years and you decide to have it painted, then it will take a crew of from three to six men four solid days to power wash, scrape, and sand it. (It will take them at least two more days to repair, caulk, prime, and otherwise prep the surfaces.)  During those four days, from 7:00 AM to 3:30 PM, there will never be a block of time longer than four minutes during which it will not sound like multiple people are banging on your door and/or running an air compressor in your ear.  Additionally, at any time, looking out any window of your house, you will see ladders, men’s legs, and/or men’s faces. These three, or a combination thereof, will be everywhere at all times, and some of the men’s faces will always be smoking.

Furthermore, if you strain your marriage far enough to come to an agreement on the color of paint for your house, then the specific color you pick will require a base that is not available anywhere in the entire state and cannot be obtained for three weeks.

Glacier Point

From the valley, we had to drive nearly halfway back to the park entrance and then turn off onto the road that would dead-end at the walkway to Glacier Point, BUT the big excitement happened a couple miles before we arrived at the turn-off.

We had seen many amazing sights in the park so far, as well as loads of awesome scenery outside the park, and although we had seen lots of squirrels, birds, and a few deer, I had secretly been hoping to see a bear.  As we drove the hour-long route into and out of the valley each time, we would see numerous portable signs stating that “Speeding Kills Bears.”  I read somewhere that one of those signs was placed at every spot where a bear was killed by a vehicle.  There were usually four or five on that stretch of roadway.  I didn’t want to kill a bear; I just wanted to see one!

So, we were tooling along, keeping an eye out for our upcoming left turn onto Glacier Point Road, when suddenly, up ahead, on the right shoulder, I saw a bear stick his head up and gaze at us!  He looked rather young and just exactly like a bear, a real live one.  He had a curious expression on his face, and he kind of turned his head back and forth a bit.  “Scott!” I hollered, “It’s a BEAR!  Slow down!”  He did, and as we passed Mr. Bear at about 15 miles per hour, he (Mr. Bear, not Mr. Roberts) disappeared back down into the woods.  WOW!  Even though I had only seen that bear for ten or fifteen seconds, I had indeed seen him.  It was just one more of the many wonderful things God arranged for us on that trip; even fulfilling my secret “bear sighting” desire.

After turning onto Glacier Point Road, we still had a fifteen-mile drive out to the point, or more accurately, to the parking lot for the point.  I’m honestly not sure just what I was expecting at Glacier Point.  I knew it was important to Scott that we go there, and I knew he wanted us to be there at sunset.  He had read online that Glacier Point was far and away voted something like the most spectacular place in the park.  Personally, I had already seen about as much spectacular as I could be impressed by, but I was game.

Scott had planned for us to do a hike out to Taft Point.  The trailhead for that hike was about three miles from the end of Glacier Point Road.  We had a bit of difference of opinion on this hike.  Scott wanted us to hike to Glacier Point (and I wasn’t sure how far or strenuous that hike was expected to be), and we wanted to get to the point by sunset.  So here we were around 4:30 or 5:00 PM and planning to do a hike out to Taft Point and back, then drive three more miles, park, and hike to Glacier Point in time to watch the sunset there.  Sunset there. . . when exactly WOULD the sun set at Glacier Point on that particular evening?  How could one get that information from a place totally out in the middle of nowhere?

We were kind of on top of the world, but I had no cell service.  We started on the Taft Point hike, and I was concerned.  For one thing, we were walking steadily downhill.  This meant that coming back to the car, we would be walking steadily uphill, and I’ll just say that if my downhill speed is 4x, my uphill speed is probably only x/2.  As mentioned re: our Vernal Fall hike, uphill for me is a matter of taking a few steps, pausing to breathe, wondering why I’m doing this, and repeating the pattern over and over in relatively slow motion.  The further down we went, the more I worried that I wouldn’t be able to make the return jaunt fast enough to get us to Glacier Point before sunset.  With a half mile remaining to Taft Point, I decided to turn around.  I gave Scott the camera and encouraged him to press on and take good pictures, while I started back.  I figured we’d both get back to the car at about the same time.

Scott graciously gave me our extra water bottle and a walking stick of wife-perfect length that he had picked up, and we parted; he, hiking on down toward Taft Point, and I, starting the gradual climb back up to the parking lot.  I didn’t have a really good concept of the distance I needed to cover or the length of time involved, but, absolutely certain that Scott would overtake me before I got to the car (and that would be embarrassing), I walked as fast as I could, given the slight uphill.  I was walking along a well-worn path, but it did occur to me that I was totally and completely alone.  And that no one knew I was there (wherever there was).  And that if anything happened to me, there was no cell service.  And that we had seen that bear some 13 miles away.  And that he probably wasn’t the only bear in this section of the park.  And how fast and how far did bears travel, anyway?  All those thoughts kept me walking pretty darn fast, and I spied the parking lot in 22 minutes.

While waiting, I tried unsuccessfully to get cell service.  Before the Taft Point jaunt, I had texted Katie to ask her to please figure out what time the sun would set at Glacier Point and let me know.  I was trying to determine by what time we needed to arrive at Glacier Point to avoid missing the sunset.  After all this planning and hiking and such, it would be terrible to get there too late to see the main event!

I sat on a rock and awaited my husband’s arrival, which occurred some fifteen minutes after mine.  He said the view from Taft Point was really good, and he was glad he had gone.  Personally, I think he was probably even more glad that he had finished the hike he had started.  As you may know, Roberts’ do not quit, and they NEVER turn back, so, while he had no issue with my choice, I don’t think it was a choice he could have made.  = )

Along with many other sunset-seekers, we drove the final three miles to the Glacier Point parking lot.  It was a long, skinny lot, with lots of cars.  This was clearly not going to be a lonely, romantic experience!  We walked quickly up a paved path (note that all paths in Yosemite National Park – with the exception of the valley bike paths – are uphill, frequently both ways) that was billed as being wheelchair accessible, although I’m not sure that even my extremely buff sister-in-law could have gotten her wheelchair up some of the steeper parts.  As we walked along, my cell phone suddenly buzzed to notify me of a text.  Sure enough, our Resident Research Consultant had come through!  She had replied an hour earlier, but I was just now getting the news that the sun would set in approximately 40 minutes.  Yay, Katie!  We huffed and puffed along, rounded a curve and came over a rise, and there we were at Glacier Point.

It’s a rocky area with a number of huge boulders.  By huge, I mean big enough for a dozen to twenty people to sit up on their flattish tops.  There are some concrete stairs built into the side of the rocks, leading down to a fence situated more or less on the edge of the world.  Across the way was Half Dome, in all its glory, and between the fence and us were positioned a truly amazing number of photographers with their camera equipment.  Frankly, I have never seen so many tripods in one place at one time ever before!  Evidently the sunset view of Half Dome from Glacier Point is a premiere photo op, and people come from all over to capture it.  I, too, thought it would be a nice shot, but with my little point-and-shoot, I was tempted to feel intimidated by all their thousands of dollars of lenses, filters, and remote shutter releases.  I resisted the temptation, and I gradually squirmed my way into a position where I could least get a clear view of the big rock’s upcoming big moment(s).

As the sun behind us went down, the temperature dropped.  Duh.  It was quite windy at Glacier Point, and we were wearing the same shorts and T-shirts that had been fine for our morning hike among the giant sequoias in shady Mariposa Grove and our 85+ degree afternoon bike ride in Yosemite Valley.  Of course, when one perspires, one’s innermost layers get damp, and the combination of the breeze and the 55-degree temp meant that I was FREEZING!

A park ranger came to give a sunset talk of thirty minutes.  He was an interesting chap, as park rangers tend to be.  He said a lot of friendly stuff to the nearly 100 of us gathered there, gave his own background story, and then opened it up for questions.  He had been a ranger at Yosemite since the 1970s, so he said he’d do his best to answer any Yosemite questions we could put to him.  Various people asked various things, and he gave pretty decent answers, so I decided to pose the one question to which I had not yet received a satisfactory answer:  “Besides extreme age, is there any difference between a giant sequoia and your garden variety normal sequoia?”  He took the long way around it, but eventually explained that no, there is not.  A giant sequoia is just a normal sequoia that has lived some 2000+ years.  Fascinating!

The sky and Half Dome gradually changed shades, and I snapped about a zillion and six photos of the monolith over those thirty minutes while Scott hugged me and we both tried to generate a little body heat.

The sun did set, we walked back down to the car, and we drove the hour or so back out of the park for the last time (“Bye, Yosemite!) and down the mountain to our restful home.  And thus ended a glorious Thursday.

Friday we spent around the house, relaxing, resting, reading, and doing much of nothing.  Scott did make a little run to North Fork (ten minutes away) to get some odd grocery items and mail my postcards.  I think I took a nap.   Sleep was another high-priority item on our trip.  = )

We packed up.  We used up the last of our food very efficiently, including more and more veggie kabobs!  We agreed to leave thirty minutes than earlier the next morning.  this was a significant concession on the part of My Hero.  He has a conviction about being a good steward of every moment, so wasting time by arriving somewhere early is never part of his plan.  I, on the other hand, am late if I am not five minutes early, and this difference in S.O.P. has caused a fair amount of conflict over the past 25 years.  For Scott to agree to leave 30 minutes early, just so that I would have the emotional luxury of margin was a very kind gesture.

We did, yea and verily, leave thirty minutes early.  I think our flight was at 11:00 AM, so we needed to be at the airport at 10:00, and it was about an hour drive to Fresno, so we left at 8:30.  At 9:00, with thirty minutes of driving ahead of us, traffic ground to a halt.  Bear in mind that it was Saturday morning.  A mile or so back, there had been a road construction sign saying to expect long delays, but no road crew in its right mind would be working on a Saturday morning.  Only the one a half mile up in front of us!  People were actually out of their cars and walking back and forth on the shoulder.  Kids were playing in the grass.  Nothing was moving.  I talked to the folks in the SUV three vehicles in front of us and they had to get to a funeral at 10:00.  One of them was a pall bearer!  They said they had talked to folks even further up in the line who had talked to the lady holding the STOP / SLOW sign who told them that the delay would be about half an hour.  They had already been there for  15 minutes.  Well, I was really thankful that we had left 30 minutes early!

The total delay was 30 minutes, of which we spent 22 minutes in the stationary way.  There was another detour off the freeway when the exit to the airport was closed, but the Chief Navigatrix was able to use a PAPER MAP to direct the Driver on an alternate and slightly slower route through town.  We found a gas station near the airport, filled the tank, got the airport, drove in a circle, and finally found the rental car return place.

We turned in the car, checked our massive bags (one was 47.5 pounds and one was 48.5 pounds – nothing like a little margin there), hauled our other stuff onto the plane and relaxed for the two flights home.  They were uneventful, which is how flights ought to be.

Well, we did have a little excitement in Denver.  We had gone to the FARTHEST side of the airport to get to a Quizno’s where we ate a leisurely lunch.  Then we stopped at TCBY, and while we sat and ate some ice cream, Scott asked if I wanted to play cards.  I said I would like that, but as we were quite far from our gate and they would probably be calling us to board soon, I figured we didn’t have time.  That’s when we realized that Scott’s watch had not been re-set, and our flight left in 30 minutes, rather than in an hour and a half, so we high-tailed it through the airport, very thankful for moving sidewalks, and made it to our gate in time to board a plane so small that I wondered if it could fly.  It could and did, but when I used the bathroom during the flight, I had the sudden realization that I the only thing between me and the very back of that plane was a toilet paper holder and a thin sheet of metal.

Back in Springfield at 7:30 PM, with our flight the only one arriving, we waited for (no exaggeration) 25 minutes for our checked bags, then met our dear friend Donna at the curb.  She is so wonderful!  She took us and enough luggage for a family of four back to Scott’s car, and we returned to Branson to pick up Andrew from one of the four families who had kept him in our absence.

It was nice to be home, but honestly, we both could’ve stayed in “anniversary celebration” mode a LOT longer!  It was truly the vacation of a lifetime!!!

 

 

Back to the Valley via the Grove

Thursday was our final trek into Yosemite, and by now the drive was as familiar as an old friend.  We had packed our lunch, collected our brochures, loaded our belt bags, and filled lots of water bottles.  Scott thought I was overdoing the water stuff, but he’s always kind and didn’t say what he was probably thinking.

We got a fairly early start and arrived at the park entrance around 9:30 or 10:00 AM.  I, of course, stopped to visit one of my favorite places, and then Scott asked if we’d like to tour the Mariposa Grove of giant sequoias.  Well, from earlier conversations, I had assumed that we’d be going Friday back to Nelder Grove, where we could enjoy all the giant sequoias we wanted in relative isolation, so I figured we’d just skip Mariposa Grove.  However, we talked a bit and Scott said since we were only two miles away and we had plenty of time (planning to bike in the afternoon), we might as well.

This being a Thursday, the line of cars headed to Mariposa Grove was NOT backed up all the way to the park entrance/bathroom, as it had been on Sunday.  The parking lot at Mariposa Grove was almost full, but we found a spot, briefly studied a big sign map of the area, and began our walk.  It was uphill, as are all walks in and around giant sequoia groves.  You always start at the bottom and walk up, maybe because the big trees always grow near the tops of hills?  And roads are always constructed at the bottoms of them?

We meandered our way up, past some amazingly big trees.  This grove was more “cleared out” than Mariposa Grove, so we were able to see the towering giants from a little bit farther away.  This made picture-taking a bit easier:  instead of being able to shoot one-third of a tree, you could get 40%of it in one shot!  Also, in addition to having a lot more people – two people would be twice as many people as we had seen in Nelder Grove! – the whole area just had a really different feel.

We spent quite a bit of time wandering through Mariposa Grove, and the second-neatest part of it was a giant sequoia that had been hollowed out in the early 1900s to allow a stagecoach to drive through it.  This was clearly a Kodak moment, and in order to get a picture of the two of us standing inside it, we offered to take a similar in-the-tree picture of a group of folks from North Carolina.  There were about a dozen of them, and since in any group people walk (and huff and puff) at varied rates, it took quite a while for all of them to gather and pose.  While we were waiting for them to collect themselves, another couple wanted their picture taken, and I obliged.  Then a Japanese threesome used hand motions to communicate their request and offer to take our picture, followed by a total of four other couples or groups.  Actually, I probably could have stood there for thirty minutes straight and swapped cameras and shot pictures of couples, families, and groups.  Of course, we’ll never know how any of them felt about my photography, but at least they all have pictures of themselves inside that tree – and so do we.  I think Scott may have been getting a little exasperated because he was ready to walk on, while I was rather occupied for an extended time.

The most fun in Mariposa Grove was our peaceful and virtually solitary downhill walk from the Stagecoach Tree back to the parking lot.  Scott had chosen the path less taken, and it was a beautiful and relaxing half mile of walking and talking.  We like walking and talking, and we have learned that we talk better while doing something side-by-side than just looking at each other.

Back in the car, we did our very familiar one hour drive past all 52 paper plates down into the valley.  We had lunch at one of the picnic areas along the river.  It was a shady place among very tall pines (or were they firs?) and as I pulled out my sandwich, a gray squirrel was extremely attentive.  One minute he was on the ground about six feet from our picnic table, and the next thing I knew he was gone.  Actually, he had not evaporated; I just couldn’t see him because he was up on the opposite bench.  A few seconds later, he was up on our table, and a few seconds after that he put a paw on the zip-loc bag containing my sandwich!  This was entirely too much for Scott, who first tried to shoo Mr. Squirrel away with his hand, but when that didn’t work, resorted to squirting the nervy rodent with his water bottle!  Water is like gold in Yosemite, so it was a significant sacrifice.  Good thing I had brought a lot of extra water.  Mr. Squirrel continued to harass and/or entertain us throughout our lunch, which was long, because we had a long talk (OK, it was mostly a monologue) about some emotional challenges I was dealing with.

After that fairly deep, but very helpful conversation, we drove back to the bike stand at Yosemite Lodge, where I was extremely pleased to find that #1005 was still available.    We left proof that we would return by 5:45 PM and, with Scott in the lead, began another refreshing time biking through that gorgeous valley.  This time, since we had already traveled all the bike paths on Tuesday, we knew where we did and didn’t want to go.  For instance, we were sure we did not want to go to Mirror Lake!

As we rode east, we came to a memorial building that we had considered scoping out on Tuesday, but it had been closed then.   Right now, I can’t remember the name of the guy, but a conservationist-type fellow who was not john Muir (but who had met him) did a lot of hiking, exploring, pioneering, and other stuff related to getting the Yosemite area protected as a park.  This little odd-shaped rock building was erected as a memorial to him over a hundred years ago.  Now it’s a Sierra Club place, a kind of museum and meeting location for various conservation organizations.  We parked our bikes outside and spent fifteen or so minutes looking at the displays and learning a little more about the area’s history.

When we got back on our bikes, Scott noticed a problem:  one of his tires was completely flat!  What to do now?  We had no way to fix a flat or air up a tire, so first Scott tried riding on it flat. However, it was SO flat that he couldn’t even go five feet.  We’d have to get it back to the bike stand, but the one we had rented from at Yosemite Village was at least a mile away.  We decided to try to find the one at Curry Village and see if they could get Scott a different bike and decrease our bill somewhat, to compensate for the time he couldn’t ride.

It turns out that the Curry Village bike stand (both stands are run by the same entity) was only half a mile away, so he walked the bike to there and switched it out.  The guy there said he’d call the Yosemite Village guy and tell him of the change, so we were only out about ten minutes and a small amount of frustration.  the rest of our ride was fun and beautiful.  I think that for both of us, those bike rides in the valley were one of the highest points of our trip.  = )

We got back to the initial bike stand exactly two hours after we had left, and sure enough, the guy there knew about Scott’s flat tire.  To make up for that, instead of charging us the agreed-upon rate of $11/hour/bike, he charged Scott nothing, and he charged me for only one hour.  Net result:  we rode two bike for very nearly two hours, for a total of only $11.  We were so blessed!!!

It had already been a full day, what with Mariposa Grove, our squirrely lunch, and the biking, but we had one more destination before leaving Yosemite National Park for good. I’ll save that for the next post.

 

All together now

We had had a a number of good conversations during the first few days of our trip, but I think it was on Wednesday that I perceived a strong need to express how I was feeling after being together basically 24/7 for five straight days.

See, I am essentially an introvert, and I’m married to a card-carrying extrovert.  Not only are Scott and I wired quite differently in this respect, we each tend to live at the far extremes of the introversion/extroversion spectrum.

We had been having a blast traveling together, exploring Yosemite together, cooking and eating meals together, doing clean ups together, driving together, planning excursions together, grocery shopping together, talking together, watching movies together, etc.  Especially etc.  So we were a very happy couple, and I think we were both thinking, “Hey, this empty nest stuff is looking better all the time!”  (This was a pleasant change from the dread I think we had both been experiencing a year or two ago.)

The problem I was having was that I just wasn’t getting any alone time to re-charge my emotional battery, and even though I love Scott very much and truly enjoy being with him, at home in the evenings I am used to having some time to go to my computer and veg and unwind uninterrupted – even by hugs and kisses – while he is occupied at his computer.  For an hour or so, he does his thing and I do mine, and all is well.

For a number of very good reasons, I had decided not to bring my computer on this trip, and I have no regrets about that decision.  For a solid week, I never even looked at my email!  I did have nearly a hundred messages when I got home, but for those eight days, I was blissfully oblivious.  We did, of course, have Scott’s computer (“Don’t leave home without it.”), so he did do Rendezvous stuff and we were able to look up all kinds of stuff online, and I think he did some facebooking, but the only thing I did on the computer was a bit of blogging.  The deal was that someone had to occupy himself in some other way while the other spousal unit used the computer, so I did sometimes feel that, “I need to get off of here and go do something with Scott.”  Also, we couldn’t both relax on the computer at the end of the day.

The combination of all that togetherness, absolutely no aloneness, and having only limited access to my primary “toy,” left me feeling stressed and anxious.  I decided to talk with Scott about this.  Unfortunately, I guess I waited a little too long, because I was pretty overwhelmed and almost crying when I brought it up, but that’s OK; I am gradually getting better at stuff like this.  = )

A couple years ago, I was seriously dreading the empty nest phase.  I was wondering what we had in common and thinking that another 20 or 30 years totally alone together was going to be pretty rough.  A lot of counseling and a lot of God’s incredible grace over the past year or so had changed all that, and the joy of the first few days of this trip had been the icing on the “Wow! It’s gonna be great when all the kids are own their own” cake, but suddenly the reality of the potential strain of decades of total togetherness was crashing in pretty violently.

I explained to Scott how I was feeling and that I really needed at least a modicum of alone time to recharge my emotional battery.  He understood!  He was fine with that!  We arranged to spend most of our remaining vacation time together and some small portions of it alone, with each of us doing his own thing, and that ended up working out very well.  It relieved the pressure of feeling that I HAD to do EVERYTHING with Scott, and when I don’t feel pressured, I’m a much happier person and a better wife.  Ahhhhh!

Having agreed to spend at least a bit of time not exclusively in each other’s personal space, I was able to relax and enjoy the rest of our wonderful week.  We had determined that Thursday would be our final trip into Yosemite National Park, and by this time the drive there and the various features of the valley had become old friends.  We pretty well knew what we did and didn’t want to do there, so we were able to be focused, which was nice for two people who both like to make a plan and carry it out.

One thing we knew we did not want to do was Mirror Lake.  We had attempted to explore Mirror Lake on our Tuesday bike hike, and I think I forgot to wrote about it.  Since it was truly blog-worthy, I shall insert it here.

We had been riding for about an hour and were totally enjoying the perfect weather and beautiful scenery when Scott, who was leading as usual, turned us off the bike path onto a road that wove through the pines and began climbing slightly.  There were signs (!) indicating that Mirror Lake was 1/2 mile ahead, but the road was getting steeper and I was pretty sure that soon I would have to get off and walk the bike.  Just at that point, there appeared a turnout with a bike rack and a sign stating that, due to the steep incline, rental bikes were not allowed any further on Mirror Lake Road.

The idea of Mirror Lake was rather intriguing, so we parked our bikes and began slowly walking up the hill.  It was an uphill somewhat reminiscent of the now-infamous Mist Trail, but with only 1/4 mile to go, I was sure I could make it.  Make it we did, and at the top of the rise, there were benches and a bathroom and more signage and a couple of cars with disabled cards hanging from their rearview mirrors.  The only private vehicles allowed on Mirror Lake Road are those transporting disabled people.

So I’m looking at the signs up there, and they explain that there was recently a rockslide that blocked the walking path around Mirror Lake, so that trail and trail that it accesses are currently closed.  It would have been a sad thing to not be able to walk around Mirror Lake, but the sadder thing was that there WAS no Mirror Lake to walk around.  In front of us was a large depression in the ground that was full of grasses of various kinds.  THAT was Mirror Lake!!!  It was – just like virtually everything else in the area – completely and totally dry.  Ugh!

Disgusted with ourselves for not having figured that out before climbing the hill, we walked back down to our bikes.  However, here’s the thing that really got to me.  As we had been walking up, many people had passed us walking down, and not one of them had had the courtesy to say (in English or in any other language), “There’s no water in the lake!”  I, for one, would have greatly appreciated having that information prior to our ascent, so I decided  I would be the one to buck the trend.

We saw a family hiking up.  They were of South American or possibly Middle Eastern descent, and their four or five kids ranged from about three to maybe ten years of age.  As they approached us on their upward trek, I called out, “There’s no water up there.”

“What?” replied the husband.  “No water?”

“No.  The lake up there is empty and dry.  There’s no water in it at all.”

“So. . . no mirror?”

“No.  No mirror.  No water.  The lake is just a round place full of long grass.”

“Well!”  He turned to his wife and said something in another language, and then to me, “Thank you very much for telling us!”  And they headed back down.

My overriding thought was, “Good has been done!”

Proud of myself, I walked back down to the bikes and took a swig of water from my bottle, which, as usual, Scott was carrying for my in his red belt bag.  While he also got a drink, I pulled out of his belt bag our little Yosemite Valley brochure – the brochure we had carried around with us for two days; the brochure we paged through while eating breakfast; the same one that showed where the picnic areas and bike stands and hiking trails were; yes, that brochure – and flipped to the blurb about Mirror Lake.  Right there in black and white, it clearly stated, “Mirror Lake is usually dry in late summer and early fall.”

I suddenly felt much less proud of myself!


Archives