Monday, November 05, 2007

Freeway to Yosemite

Freeways are ugly. After driving for a few hours, once I took the exit off Highway 99 to get on Hwy 140 towards Yosemite National Park -- I felt the 2-lane highways much more a part of the landscape than the concrete mesh work I'd just driven through that meandered through equally artificial and out-of-place looking subdivisions. But I digress..

On the way, a rock slide had closed a section of the highway. There was a detour that alternately stopped traffic for 15 minutes each way so vehicles can take turn on a single-lane highway. The geek in me kept wishing for sensors that optimized wait time on each end, but I told myself the whole point about being in Yosemite was to slow down.

More to reinforce rather than repeat something you may have have heard a thousand times -- Yosemite in fall is simply wonderful. Not crowded, the weather is sunny, nice, warm. Ok -- most of the waterfalls were dried up. But, would you consider the following images any less breathtaking?

Since we had our 2 little kids with us, we opted for a relatively short hike to Vernal Falls Bridge (categorized as "mildly strenuous"). We got around the park in these cool hybrid buses. The kids got real excited when we spotted a small bear strolling around the trees, and I was happy we weren't planning on camping out. The hike to Vernal Falls is a part of a much longer trek, most popular of which is the one that goes all the way to the top of the half dome. Maybe next time when we have some babysitting help (or if the kids are old enough to climb with us).

We learned that a few weeks earlier, a man in his 60s was on his way on the 211-mile trek to Mount Whitney. Apparently he'd made arrangements for food/supplies to be air-dropped via a plane or maybe a helicopter. Sounded like a cool (literally) adventure.

On our way back, it was close to 7:30 pm, both kids were asleep in their car seats, we drove up to Glacier Point (about a 20 mile detour) to watch the stars in the clear night sky. Living in the city, you tend to forget what they sky looks like at night without any artificial light. We even managed to see some shooting stars. Too bad my camera couldn't photograph that -- some things are just meant to be experienced.

Driving back on 120 towards 99, suddenly a deer crossed the road in front of me. Good thing I wasn't driving fast and was able to slow down in time, without waking up anyone inside either. Pretty soon, we got back on the concrete mesh work by way of Highway 99, making me even more certain -- freeways are really ugly.

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