Waste not, want more

No variations on a theme.

California Part 2: Yosemite

Unfortunately, we reached Yosemite at the point in our adventures where trip burnout was sinking its teeth into my smelly flesh. My cranky-meter was going off a fair bit and I wasn’t as able to fully appreciate the famous Yosemite National Park. What might I have appreciated more on another day in another time?

  • The two and a half hours of campsite searching. Despite all warnings, planning and good intentions, these hours were spent hot, hungry, smoky and desperate with a car making loud weed-wacker noises through several otherwise idyllic and quiet campgrounds. There may also have been chasing cars and a general sense of frenzy.
  • The hilarity of the gas station inside the national park being mounds cheaper than the gas station just outside the gates – the one we used. (Only in America do National Parks have gas stations, multiple gas stations.)
  • The dry and dusty two mile Mariposa Grove trail through a variety of magnificient and huge Giant Sequoias. This was beautiful and I actually enjoyed it immensely considering I was a slave to the last shuttle of the day (bad planning on my part). There was little time to take photos and actually enjoy the trees. We brought no water, the trail was darn steep and I literally ran most of the way back down. I may have used expletives most of the way up.
  • A good old fashioned full day hike. I was just too burnt out to take the time to enjoy a good hike. It’s sad.
  • The family that poached/shared our campsite while we were away all day. We had heard stories of people sharing campsites in desparation, but were a little surprised to learn that we’d driven past our campsite in the dark because an entire surprise family of 5 was bustling around the fire blocking the view of our tent. I was very sympathetic until they pretended they couldn’t understand us and were doing us a favour by letting us stay. Things warmed up after that and I realized I was just really tired. Eventually, we were offered blankets after realizing the parents were keeping their kids warm with towels.  They left in the middle of the night.

What would I probably never appreciate?

  • The acrid smell of forest fire and consequent smoke all through the famous Yosemite Valley
    • I get that the forests have to regenerate and all, but that doesn’t mean I have to love wheezing it in.
  • The mounds of people. Yosemite is just too darn close to thriving metropolitan areas. It’s no Yellowstone, which was still busy, but not like this. Note to self: go again, go often, but don’t go in August.
  • The couple that was every so grateful that at least we were from a neighbouring country and spoke English unlike all those real foreigners who surrounded us. Actually, this was the only anti-tourist/foreigner comment we got the whole trip so I was pretty impressed.

I will, however, always appreciate the couple who saw us driving around looking desperate and waved us into their site. After giving us an interpretive tour of the site’s many bonuses: next to the outhouse, has its own stream, far from people, visiting bear, tent in morning shade, picnic table in morning sun (they were like campsite realtors); this lovely couple recommended some of the top to-dos and merrily got into their Prius and drove into the afternoon sun.

Gremlins are withholding my captions (grr). Choose your own adventure:

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October 3, 2011 - Posted by | Hiking, Minor American Roadtrip, Photography, Travel and intrigue | , ,


  1. Your story of campsite squaters acting all put out when realizing they would actually have to share with you, made me laugh–sorry. But only because it reminded me so of taking the train from Hanoi to Saigon–28 hours worth of train, I might add. At one stop I had to exit with my Maltese, so she could “potty” near the platform, but warned my partner Sara to, under no circumstances leave our compartment, lest it be taken over by those boarding 3rd class passengers who are infamous for squatting in empty 1st class compartments. Did Sara listen? Of course not. Within the 90 seconds it took for Sara to exit, find me on the platform, and me to race like a mad woman back onto the train, a family of FIVE Vietnamese had moved in, luggage and all. I had to fight like hell in a language i didn’t know, to wrestle it back.
    All that to say–bless your little campsite claiming heart! And you even shared blankets. You’re much kinder than we were, I’m afraid
    Great post, Rose!

    Comment by Kathryn McCullough | October 4, 2011 | Reply

    • No apologies for laughing – that’s the least I can hope for. I’m fairly certain that yours is much worse, we had a whole huge campsite and no one had invaded our tent (thankfully!). That train situation sounds an absolute hell of a lot worse. Must have been an interesting conversation between you and Sara after that.

      Comment by Rose | October 4, 2011 | Reply

  2. Very entertaining post – nothing worse than trying to enjoy beautiful scenery when the cranky-metre is going off! Reminds me of my family vacations…

    Beautiful photos 🙂

    Comment by faultlessfinish | October 4, 2011 | Reply

    • Glad you liked the photos. You’re right – family vacations can be like that. I’m always hard on myself for not enjoying every single moment.

      Comment by Rose | October 4, 2011 | Reply

  3. Campsite squatters, hey? I’d be cranky, too! (I always need a day or two of not doing/seeing *everything* on holidays as well, otherwise the crankiness creeps in.)
    Yosemite looks like quite the park– maybe Marty and I will have to venture there one day (not in August).

    Comment by Dana | October 28, 2011 | Reply

    • Yosemite falls a little into that hike for half an hour or three days sort of thing, but it definitely has a lot on offer. It’s good you know about your travel limits – maybe now I know mine 🙂

      Comment by Rose | October 29, 2011 | Reply

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