Where are you going now, Mr. Mouse?
What you do, what you see,
Sooo depends on where you go, don’t it?
Tryin’ my best to get around...
It was a Beautiful Day, Sat., Aug. 2, ‘14. What else can I say? It was a summer’s day in the heat, though, and not a winter’s day in the rain. And I was not alone in a gilded cage but in a YARTS bus and a ‘97 hatchback. Fortunately, for both of us, I connected with a citizen of Venice (the one in California, not Italy) named Daniel, driver of the hot ‘97 and a first-time visitor to Yohamite. I made it a point to talk like an Ahwahneechee by using the original names, not the white man’s weak sauce nomenclature. He dug it.
Last year it was the lovely Ayshegul from Ankara whom I met on a YARTS bus and escorted on her maiden visit. I’m getting to be an unofficial guide--and these folks are getting such a deal. What really makes it fun, in part, for both parties is the spontaneity. No reservations, no schedules, no cash exchange, just good will and authentic sharing of joy. You might recall having performed similar guiding services, I’m sure, be it with climbing acquaintances, your kids, and even total strangers, which is the case here.
An aside from the main story--
I thought here lately I wasn’t having fun with myself.
The past reminded me of what I am not now.
Remember when you first started to roam the hills, climb the crags, or camp with ferriners and n00bs in the climbing camp, and things just fell into place a lot of times? That’s what I’m talkin’ about. You go out for a day with these cats it makes for memories for a lifetime, especially for first-time visitors, for whom the event is a watershed, an eye-opener; and for the guide, who can rest assured he’s doing what he can to help this dewd, or some slick city-kitty (how often does THAT happen, though, really?) to learn some ethics, some awareness, and some attitude.
And that’s forever.
Don’t make it hard.
Friday evening I felt pretty lonely and posted to ST more rowdily than I do normally.
That’s what I had to do.
I got an answer this morning—gonna fly away, nothing to lose.
It’s not Thursday, but it is Saturday.
And I decided that morning to ‘make my bird,’ come what may, smoke be damned (I’m asthmatic and can even spell it), any altitude variations I can tough out. And I did.
Doo doo doo doot doot doo doo doot
Daniel is‘easy’ as in easy-going.
Daniel is loaded with attitude.
Daniel gets loaded.
Daniel has a car.
I am also easy-peasy.
I have attitude as well.
I get loaded, too.
I needed a ride to Glacier Point if he was going there and he was. We both had stash. A time to gather stoners together, you might sing.
I had come up on the YARTS bus from Merced at 7:00 a.m. and gotten off at the Visitors’ Center shuttle stop at 9:45.
We met each other in front of the Village PO. I had been Degnan’s-watching, playing a game to see could I tell the tourons from the locals. And taking pictures, of course. I invited him to set on one of the stumps and take a break. He looked relieved.
He sat. We chat.
He’d spent the night in his car in Mariposa. He knew nothing much about the Park, except he had reservations in ‘Mr. Poser’ last fall when the Park shut down, leaving him high and dry like a lot of others, losing his deposits, a chance to vacation with his lady, etc. Live, learn, try again.
We sat and smoked in front of the PO. Nobody said nothin’. We grooved and then moved.
It was a good day, a unique day, a beautiful day.
By the time we got to Woodstock, we were...
Where WAS I? Oh, yeah, butterflies above our nation of white supremacy... No, wait...
This was one of the travelin’ songs I recall from hot days in the Merced Canyon, truckin’ down to the flats to be THERE instead of WHERE WE LIVED. Days interrupted by nekkid swimmin’ in the river to cool down, smoke a jay, take it slow. We’ll get there when we get there. GREAT TIMES in a converted bread truck or in an Econoline van, back then.
And so, like me and my friends used to do in the olden days, Daniel and I traveled by stages to Glacier Point, making a long stop at the Bridge, meeting Eric Bissel, taking pictures, and jiving. We decided on Lynnard Skynnard as travelin’ boogie.
We stopped once to look over the valley to Forresta and check out the char on the hillside above it—the El Portal fire. The pictures you are seeing are of smoke (no Flames) is why they’re dim, not clear. Is that OK? Did the best that I could, Big Mike.
We even golfed at various locales on this drive, Daniel having taken the game up one more time a few years ago. The courses included Washburn Point (blue tees) and Glacier Point. I waved at the Sierras with the driver, but wasn’t too eager to make a complete fool of myself by trying to hit a ball. I deferred to Daniel and disqualified myself. I have too many handicaps.
We stopped about half an hour at Washburn. Daniel got out a Callaway driver and a bag of ‘rocks.’ He made a few poor shots, but he didn’t ask for a Ginsberg. Then he tagged a Pinnacle right at Vernal Fall! It was a beautiful drive on a beautiful day on a beautiful course by a beautiful person. What else can I say?
We parked in the VERY FIRST SPOT at the Glacier lot! In all that MADNESS! Daniel has a handicap, see, wouldn’t you just know it? We did the Touron Trot out to Glacier, greatly shortened by the parking adwantage, and which meant taking pictures for me and finding another spot to tee off for Daniel, talking with the occasional native, and apologizing to the occasional Canadian for asking to take his photo,
This Canadian lad was delighted to have me take his photo. He was young, but he said that having someone request his photo had been a long time coming I told him to be proud to be a Canadian in America. He said, in all seriousness, “Peace.”
Daniel had some snacks in Wawona at the golf shop while I watched traffic on Hwy 41 and took pictures, mainly flowers. We’d hit the Wawona Store,--yogurts and a beer for me--but he needed a hamburger, so he sought out the pro shop, but they only had five buck hot dogs. None of that shite for sodium-free me, thanks--I’ll be here at the car taking pictures, Daniel.
And so we headed down to the Valley at 5:00 and I had a beer and some Danish in the Lodge’s Food Court and awaited the 6:00 p.m. YARTS bus. When it got there, I said goody-bye and went to the bus.
There was Ron Kauk, Nature Boy in the flesh, the cat who’s back yard saw the beginning of the El Portal Fire. You talk about the circle being closed...
The main prompt for my going to Yosemite on Saturday was to check out the plume of smoke I saw from my window at 6:00 a.m. Paranois strikes deep. I feared that it might be another conflagration besides the El Portal fire. But I was relieved to find out the finger of fate wasn’t too awfully fickle today. It was more...precise.
Everything fell right into place. Including Daniel’s tee shot from Glacier Point: right down the middle and into the Ditch someplace.
A hole in one, like. I seem to have put things in motion and walked up to the cup and drew out my Pinnacle of bus trips, man!
I guess I’m buying a round at the Nineteenth Nervous Break Down tonight. The Orange Orchard is on me!
I feel like I’ve been here before, having had this experience. Again.
This is chapter book territory, kids; and old farts, who never HEARD of chapter books until THEIR kids were raisin' their own kids, there are five chapters.
1. The approach via YARTS.
2. Tourons and Degnan's watching.
3. The Bridge.
4. The Washburn Point Country Club & Golf Course.
5. The descent.
Note: Due to other commitments, WBraun does not appear here. He is rumored to have disappeared, in fact, in a puff of smoke. Vanished. I'm wondering how much of the smoke in the Ditch was from his birthday cake.
TOURONS. DEGNAN'S SOOO0-WATCHING.//
At hand and I want to say
It's Sunday day and it'll be Monday
Before I'm finished up here.
The only reason I have, the basis for my effort, stems from a remark made somewhere in which Marlow said that he, being a non-American--and it was an attitude like many others hold, he assured me--liked seeing the way that 'mericans did things. They are America-watchers, if not Americanophiles. I have tried to oblige in my TRs and with the Flames thread.
So, I'm not really doing all this work for love of a bunch of creaky, leaky old farts at all, but the world in it's entirety. But at the same time I am sharing with those broke-downs and fossils who abound in Taco Village, and I really hope these photos of the mundane summer month of August in the Valley give you some joy and help you to recall certain long-ago memories.
On to Glacier Point Driving "Range" and the Washburn Point "Sierras" Course.
W.P.G.C. & C.C.
Washburn Point Trailhead is 7'500' and the elevation of Glacier Point is Googled at 7'214'.
It's all about the rock, long-term, as Ron Kauk says.