Friday, April 16, 2010

How To Get Me Away From My Garden

So, if you really couldn't care less about what pulls me away from the garden at the height of the planting season for a bit of R&R you should skip this post, there's NOTHING about gardening here.

My husband and I drove most of the way across the state in pouring rain on Sunday. Not really an auspicious start to a few days of outdoor activities with a couple of good friends. Not long after we got to our destination the rain turned to snow. . .  Fortunately, we had a cozy room booked at a place with big roaring fireplaces and a good restaurant. I had also packed a big fat page turner just in case I decided that I didn't want to deal with the elements (I am a fair weather outdoor adventurer).

Monday morning the scheduled activity was a guided photography walk with my friend J-. Here's the best shot I managed to get.

Halfway through the walk it started to snow again and I put my camera away. The next few hours were spent in front of the fire with that page turner.  The guys were less sensitive about the cold than J- and I and spent the afternoon slogging through the snow on a hike. J- and I got out again that afternoon in hopes that the clouds would part and we could get in a good walk. Mother nature did not cooperate, it started to snow again.

The next day, the sun was out! Hooray, time for a group hike. Here's my husband at the trailhead.

By now you've figured out where we were. What the sign doesn't tell you is that that 3.5 mile hike also takes you up more than 2500 feet. There were many views of Half Dome on the way up.

You can see what a spectacularly beautiful day it was. There was one lookout where you could see the upper fall, the middle cascade and the lower fall, but it was impossible to get it all into one photograph. The peak flow for Yosemite falls occurs in May but I think the flow this week was pretty close. What the photographs can't convey are the roar of the falls cascading down the cliffs. Our destination for the hike was the high point to the left of the top of the upper fall.

Upper Fall

Middle Cascade and Lower Fall

Here's a first for this blog, a photograph of me. I'm on the right and that's my friend J- on the left. The baggy hiking pants, gaiters, and funky hat don't make for the most flattering photograph, but so be it, I don't ever seem to be in front of the camera when I'm looking my best.

I took a lot of photographs of Half Dome. Who could resist? Our next trip to Yosemite will probably involve a hike to the top of Half Dome.

A glimpse of the very top of Upper Yosemite Fall from our destination. I was really happy to have the funky gaiters and warm water proof boots going through the snow at the top of the trail. It was amazing to see the various types of footwear on the hikers that day, including one guy in loafers. My feet were warm and dry.

Here's my husband and our friend B- (J-'s hubby) at the top. J- turned back when the trail got too snowy, she was leery of re-injuring a previously sprained ankle. What a spectacular view!

The next day my husband, J- and I took a beginning lesson in rock climbing.  B- didn't need a lesson, he's an experienced and passionate climber of rocks, ice, and mountains . . . big mountains. At the moment he is training to climb Denali, he's taking the difficult way up, he's good . . . Anyway, here's a couple photos of me on my first day ever of rock climbing.

I had a blast and am ready to do it again! My husband and J- both said "that was fun but I don't need to do it again". I was incredibly surprised by how much fun I had, I always used to think that rock climbers were nuts. Not only that but I don't really like heights. B- said that he would take me climbing again sometime this summer - I can't wait.

The next day we had to leave so we just took one quick hike to Mirror Lake in the morning. I didn't feel like lugging my camera with me so there's no photographs to show. Now I'm home again, back to the garden,  catch up on the blogging. Those peppers really need to be planted.


  1. It looks amazing, but I think you're brave to face all that snow and those rocks. Brilliant photos. I've just had a couple of much gentler days of R&R by the sea near the Spanish border.

    Good news - quite a few of the capers have germinated. They look quite fragile at the moment, so I hope they'll be ok. We're watching over them!

  2. Yosemite in the spring is the best time of year, although from the pictures, spring may be a bit premature. Blooms and full waterfalls. Spectacular.

  3. Oh wow, just look at you all the way up that rock face ! You're braver than I am. (I'm becoming a wimp in my old age).

    The vistas are simply stunning ! I'm always amazed to see how vegetation can thrive as it clings to almost nothing in these rocky environments.

  4. What a memorable and fun getaway this sounds like, Michelle! I could never do something like that at this point in my life! You took wonderful photos too, and I enjoyed every bit of the trip that you shared. Haven't been by to visit for a while so was nice to see a couple of photos of you. You dressed just right, I would say! No sense in being uncomfortable. I can't believe a guy was wearing loafers! Anyway, I've planted some veggies in pots: tomatoes (I've done those before) but never the rest: carrots, lettuce, mesclun, zucchini, radishes and a variety of herbs. I can't really grow them in the ground in my yard so I'm experimenting on the deck. Time will tell how things go...

  5. That sounds like a wonderful trip. I've been there, but not with the kids. And I used to rock climb, but not seriously. It was fun -- but I've got to take my hat off to you; I don't think I could do it now.

  6. We went to Yosemite a couple of years ago in the fall. It was just so beautiful, but got chased out of the high country by snow. We got so many beautiful photos there.

  7. Chaiselongue, your R&R sounds a bit more relaxing than mine. I admit the rocks really scared me to begin with but after my first climb I was hooked. It helped a lot that the instructor was an expert climber and he was at the other end of the rope!

    I'm so happy to hear that the capers sprouted. :)


    Turling, Winter just can't seem to leave us alone, but we did get some glorious spring weather also. It was indeed spectacular.


    miss m, I keep looking at those photos and thinking - Wow, did I really do that? I amazed myself, first that I didn't wimp out, and even more that I loved it.

    The vistas were so amazing I had a hard time keeping my eyes on the trail.


    Jan, welcome back! It was a super getaway, I'm glad you enjoyed the post. Function over fashion is definitely the way to go when hiking. I hope your deck garden thrives, I'll have to stop by your blog and see how it goes.


    Stefaneener, It had been many years since I visited the Yosemite valley. What a shame, it's such a beautiful place and so easy to get to. You should definitely take the kids someday. I'm sure you could still rock climb, you're not that old . . . I think one reason I had to try climbing was to see if I could manage it, I just don't want to avoid such things because of my age, not yet.


    Daphne, Fall is a nice time there, the weather can be beautiful (or not as you found out) and the crowds are thinner. We are aiming for this fall to tackle Half Dome . . .

  8. Beautiful scenery and some lovely photos. But snow!?!

  9. Spectacular views, you're brave to rock climb. I'm a wimp, I cannot imagine doing that even when I was young hmmmm years ago!

  10. Jan, that's what I said, snow!?! But the Yosemite valley floor is at 4000 feet and the walls rise 2000 feet and more. At that elevation snow isn't really all that unusual at this time of year. Someone was telling me about a June snow there a few years ago.


    Mac, I'm a wimp too, I would never have tried it on my own, but when our friends set up the lesson I figured I should at least try it. I never imagined that I would or could enjoy it!

  11. Lovely trip! Nature is beautiful! I have tried rock climbing once - I didn’t like it very much, too scary for me. I prefer to be with my feet on the ground.

  12. Brings back memories of growing up in the San Joaquin Valley. I spent many a weekend up in and around the Yosemite Valley. Learned to cross country ski and rock climb there. I really enjoyed the post as we are still some what in the grips of winter.


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