Backpacking in Yosemite was just awesome. It's made me decide I want to do the John Muir trail the summer after I graduate - either early or late summer, otherwise it'll be too hot. There's something about being out there, where your skin becomes layers of dirt, sunscreen, DEET and more dirt that's strangely appealing. It smells good. Backpacking makes you so aware of your lack of cleanliness, but also of the fact that being clean isn't entirely necessary. They sky is so blue out here - so fresh and pure, like the sunrises and sunsets - I had to take a picture of it.
We dayhiked out to Evelyn Lake on Saturday, a place that the map describes as being "shallow and desolate." At treeline, it certainly is. The trees here have grown bent from the wind. They are sparse and seem only to be barely hanging onto life, yet crouched at the shore (and a small beach, of all things) they look dense and forresty. Birds are everywhere, and ground squirrels hurry back and forth, freezing only long enough for you to walk past. Huddled up against the rocks, I can feel the wind pick up and I try to draw warmth from the earth. The brush next to me whispers in my ear. I think I could stay here forever, sleeping or waking, being part of the rock until the wind blew me away or I simply melted into the sand. Or perhaps I would wake years later like Rip Van Winkle to find my world in a knot. Time passes but slowly and I feel as though I have all the time I need.
Later in the evening, back at camp, I watch the clouds turning orange with sunset. I love the way the light changes on the clouds and trees, and the opposite ridge, love being able to see the light even when it's out of my view. I love the way it lingers. I like, too, the sound of the tent zipper, muffled by the bigness of where we are, like the crunch of boots on dirt and the cooling of the air. I like the way I feel alive, and the way my mom and dad just talk and the sound the birds make scolding as they whir off between the trees. Time feels ponderous but quick, the slow of the mountains and the scatter of grass tufts over it.
We hiked out Sunday morning, made great time - about 2.5 hours to hike out of Lyell Canyon. We totaled about 28 miles between Friday morning and Sunday afternoon, hitting a top elevation of 10,400 feet. Feels good.
Today it's just more errands. Picking up Heidi from the kennel, going to REI to return the rental tent and get money back for my jacket (it went on sale from 125-->89.99!) and then fixing stuff with my ATM card, etc. Then hopefully Pizza Chicago for dinner, pearl tea with all my friends, and hanging out until late.
I don't know that I'll get another chance to update for a long time... until I'm settled in Spain anyway. I'll be in New York tomorrow from approximately 4:30 on the 31st to 3:30 on the 1st. CAll me if you want to talk - I'll have more downtown than HBO movies can fill. I may be able to sit outside the American Airlines ambassadors lounge and rip off their Wifi.. but we'll see :o) At any rate, I hope to see you tonight, and if not, have a great rest of your summer!