The purpose of this blog is twofold. First and foremost it is in preparation for an upcoming class that I will be teaching at the Lister Academy - it will allow for me to experiment with the technology that we will be using in the class, plus give a forum for my students and I to stay connected.
Secondly, this blog gives a nice side-effect that our friends and family can see what we're up to during our travels. I hope that all viewers (students, colleagues, friends and family) will enjoy the posts and feel free to leave your own comments.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Arriving in Yosemite

It was so strange waking up in Death Valley this morning and having it already be 98 degrees at 8:30 in the morning. It was a little sad walking around and seeing birds hopping along on the ground with their beaks open, seemingly panting in the hot morning air. Dry heat or not – it was still ungodly HOT!

As we made our way out of Death Valley we were quite pleased to watch the external thermometer in the car go down as we made our way through scenic, winding canyons and along side the snow capped Sierra Nevada mountain range until we finally reached Yosemite National Park – where we’ll be staying for the next 2 nights in the Yosemite Lodge.

The first thing I should mention is - Yosemite is not only extremely beautiful but it is HUGE! Before going to the Lodge, since we drove in from the East on the Tioga Pass we planned to stop and hike around Tuolumne Meadows. After a lovely picnic lunch in comfortable 75 degree, breezy, sunny weather we headed up Pothole Dome. We had a choice of either going up the Dome via a nice easy, gradual trail – or to scramble up the Dome’s rock face… can you guess which way we decided to go?

The view from the top was postcard picturesque! Everywhere we turned our eyes were flooded with beautiful back drops, dramatic vistas and extreme color contrasts – it is no wonder that artists and photographers (like the famous Ansel Adams) flock to Yosemite! After playing on top of the dome, we made our way down to the meadow. On our way down, as we tried to find the meadow trail, we were startled by a Black Tail fawn that came bounding out from behind a downed tree only a few feet away from us. It leapt away from us with such speed and grace that we didn’t have time to do anything but stare at it racing away. It was SO neat!

After recovering from our deer encounter, we found the trail and decided that instead of heading back toward the car, we would head deeper into the meadow and the woods for a bit longer. I’m so glad we did! Not even 5 minutes into hiking we spotted a herd of Black Tail Deer amongst a cluster of trees in the center of the meadow. There were at least 7 deer that we could see – some grazing, some bounding around chasing each other, some laying stock still in the grass looking very regal. It was very impressive!

After watching them for about 10 minutes, we reluctantly decided to move on (the swarming mosquitoes helped to motivate us to get moving). After walking another 10-15 minutes on the trail, the trail curved into the woods and we spotted a Black Tail Doe and her TWO fawns! We very slowly moved in closer until we were about 50 feet away from them. We got close enough that we could see the spotted fawns playing and nursing. We felt fortunate to be so close to something so beautiful and lively. The deer were aware of our presence, but didn’t seem to mind as long as we stayed still and at a distance. We often use the expression ‘frozen like a deer in headlights’ – but as we stared at each other we could not help but wonder if we looked like ‘humans in headlights’ as we gawked at them.

After returning from our hike, we climbed back into the car (did I mention that it is a Mazda 3 – zoom, zoom?) and made the hour and a half drive into Yosemite Valley to the Lodge. I told you Yosemite was huge. We have a very short amount of time here to explore as much as possible – so for now, we’ll leave it that today was another incredible day and tomorrow will likely hold even more for us.

By the way, have you figured out who wrote today’s blog? Feel free to cast your votes in the comment section: Bryan or Carmela?

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