We stopped for gas at the junction. It was over $4 a gallon, but not by much, and was not by any stretch the most expensive gas I saw on the trip. Then we headed east. The first twenty miles or so reminded me greatly of the endless lodgepole pine forests of Yellowstone, although the pines (I don't know the variety, much to my chagrin) of Yosemite are much larger.
The first view we reached was at Olmstead Point, named after the guy who designed Central Park, and also worked in Yosemite for a while. The views there are amazing:
|That's the back of Half Dome in the distance|
|Yet another variety of penstemons -- we saw at least half a dozen different kinds on this trip|
|A mariposa lily, which I'd never seen growing in the wild before|
I love these, too:
|A bronze relief of the landscape at Olmstead Point|
The next landmark along the way was Tenaya Lake, named after one of the last of the Indians who lived in the park. It is a picture perfect alpine lake.
|Tenaya Lake in the distance|
|And much closer up. Note the young woman sitting on the rock.|
|If you look just below the big green spot in the middle of the photo, and just above it as well, you'll see who she was looking at. Climbers, who are everywhere in Yosemite.|
There is a new slight dent in Kestrel's left front fender. It was lined with stray deer hair. But it is barely noticeable unless you know what you're looking for, and that was the extent of the damage, to us and the car. I really hope that the only thing the deer got out of it was a big bruise on his back end.
I'm so glad his antlers didn't go through the windshield. It certainly could have, because he and I stared at each other for a split second that lasted for several hours as he slid over the hood.
After that, Tuolumne Meadows, while lovely, was something of an anticlimax.
|I don't know the name of that mountain, alas.|
|Or that one. But the river is the Tuolumne. The stick is a guide for the snowplows. The snow gets measured in the yards up here.|
|This is actually on the east side of Tioga Pass, outside of the park entrance.|
And between the two is the difference between mountain meadow and arid desert. Midway between we saw prickly poppies:
|Beautiful to my eye, but common as sand to my west-Texas-bred friend Mary|
It was nice to be back in a real motel room...