Starting the Year in Yosemite

All I wanted to do at the end of 2018 was hole up in a cabin and hike around Yosemite. Thanks to my Uncle Roger and Auntie Sharon, we were able to do just that. We celebrated the end of 2018 and kicked-off 2019 in my favorite place on earth…I feel like 2019 is going to be a year of miracles and change!

We expected Yosemite to be peaceful and relatively quiet. The snow on the ground and the ice around the waterfalls created a beautiful wintery playground we couldn’t wait to explore…but we forgot about the government shutdown. Oh my goodness. Stupid, unnecessary, hurtful-to-people, and destructive-to-the-environment government shutdown.

It felt like there were a million tourists, and we couldn’t figure out if it was because there was no one to control traffic, or if it was because our hike started at Tunnel View, one of the more iconic viewpoints in Yosemite. There was honking, there was parking spot stealing, there was terrible traffic, and trash everywhere. UGH.

Thank goodness, once we started on our trail to Inspiration Point, the noise eventually died away. The trail started off beautifully, and on a non-icy day, would have been a lark. But, after we spend the morning playing hide-n-seek and encouraging Carter to keep going, we hit the second half of the trail, which was rocky and entirely covered with ice. It got pretty sketchy for a while. Okay, really sketchy. We almost turned around.

It took us a long time to pick our way to the top, but we were rewarded with a massive ice patch – perfect for skating around on with shoes – and a spectacular view (that required me to butt scoot down an icy hill to see in its entirety, too bad the light was terrible for pictures!).

The second day, we strolled around on the Valley Floor Loop, which I’d never done before, with some beloved family members. The views were beautiful, though we were disheartened to see the poop and trash littering trails and walkways.

People were wandering off into places clearly marked for restoration, and taking dogs on trails where they were not allowed. We weren’t sure if we were imagining the feeling of lawlessness, or if it was real; at some point while we hiked, I called out to some people who were walking into protected meadows and asked them to come back to the trail. It wasn’t until we got home and saw the news that we realized just how bad things had gotten in the National Parks during the shutdown. I want to believe humans are innately good, but it started to feel like the beginning of Lord of the Flies out there, and it makes me so angry that people can be so careless with our natural treasures.

Despite the frustrations of the shutdown, we loved our short hike on the Valley Floor. I just love Yosemite and have an increased gratitude for the people who protect its land and resources.

Two memorable things from New Year’s Eve:

  1. I woke up early and finished the first draft of my first novel. I worked on it all year. It is almost 90,000 words. This is something I never EVER dreamed I could do. And, I. DID. IT. I hope that one day it will be published (after tons more revising!). But, even if it isn’t (don’t get me wrong, I hope it will be!), I’m pretty dang proud I finished this draft.
  2. I made it to midnight – no thanks to Settlers of Catan (Andy’s favorite game, and definitely not mine) – at which point I headed promptly to bed. Because I’m old.

Here’s to an incredible 2019!! I really feel good things, new things, wonderful things are coming this year.

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