America 2017: Day Nine (29 October)

Drivin’ down the street today, I saw a sign for lemonade
They were the cutest kids I’d ever seen in this front yard
As they handed me my glass, smilin’ thinkin’ to myself
Man, what a picture-perfect postcard this would make of America

It’s a high school prom, it’s a Springsteen song, it’s a ride in a Chevrolet
It’s a man on the moon and fireflies in June and kids sellin’ lemonade
It’s cities and farms, it’s open arms, one nation under God
It’s America

– Rodney Atkins

Sunday 29 October 2017

Yosemite Valley, California

Not for the first time on this trip, I’m just about dead on my feet, and ready for a good night’s sleep.

I woke up at 7am, just a few minutes before sunrise, and went out for a 4km jog. It’s amazing to be out and about in the Yosemite Valley just as the sun is coming up, and with very few other people around. I actually saw more deer than I did other people. It was a crisp morning, perfect for running, and I can’t think of a more spectacular spot that I’ve ever run in. I was in a great mood when I returned to the room, ready for a big day.

After breakfast, we walked down to Yosemite Village (about twenty minutes’ walk) and had some morning tea at Degnan’s Deli where we also bought lunch supplies – garden salad, salami and cheese – to eat out on the trail. Then, via the famous Ahwahnee Hotel, the crown jewel as far as accommodation in Yosemite goes, we headed out on the Mirror Lake trail, another trail that is closed during the winter season, and arrived there just after midday.

Despite there not being much water in the lake at the moment, thanks largely to the long-lasting drought that’s held California in a tight grip for years, where there is water, you can easily see how the place got its name. The reflections of the surrounding rock formations are nothing short of pristine, and we found ourselves a wonderful spot in the shade for lunch. Although there were a lot of people around, it was still very peaceful place to stop: one of those places where it seems like each corner you turn, the view gets better and better.

On the return trip, we took a few detours around Happy Isles, along the Valley Loop trail, through Camp Curry (where there are over a thousand hard-bottomed tents for summer and spring use) and back to the Ahwahnee Hotel’s bar, where we had ourselves a well-earned Bud Light. As nice as the cold beer was, the best thing about reaching the bar was getting to sit down in comfortable chairs. We’ve walked a lot of kilometres today and we all needed the rest.

For dinner, we went to Degnan’s Loft (above the deli where we purchased lunch, and ate beautiful pizzas whilst watching Game 5 of the World Series – 13-12 extra-innings win for Houston, who hold a one-game series lead – before what is definitely going to be a well-earned sleep.


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