As I sat reading in the sunshine next to our trailer, the woman from the space next door walked over and started to chat. We talked about what we had each seen in Yosemite and other camper chit chat, when she said "and we did Glacier last year and are planning to do Yellowstone this summer". I asked her how long she was planning to be in Yosemite and she said three days.
Now it really gets under my skin when people talk about "doing Yellowstone" like it was the dishes or a sudoku puzzle. One can see a lot in a few days or a week, but a park like Yellowstone or Yosemite can't be "done" in a weekend any more than Italy or the works of Shakespeare or the blues. We can immerse ourselves in these places and things and live them for a day or a year, but they are never "done".
And later that same day, I had a conversation with a man from Georgia who was camping nearby for a week. We were chatting and I asked him what they did that day and he told me he and his wife had hiked up to Carlon Falls, a pretty little hike to an isolated waterfall nearby. I told him we had driven up the Tioga road which had just been cleared of snow and opened for the season a few days before. He said they had thought about driving up there but decided it wouldn't be worth it. "Was there anything up there different than anything else around the park?" he asked. I didn't know how to answer that question. Not wanting to blurt the obvious "Of course it's different, it's a different place!", I was trying to formulate an answer about how Yosemite Valley is about 5% of the park and how the waterfalls that pour into the valley all drain from the hundreds of square miles of high mountains around it and how the 12,000-foot peaks are pretty different from the 4,000 foot valley and how the Tioga road climbs to the largest meadow in the entire Sierra Nevada range and past that to a 10,000-foot pass...but I just said, "Yeah, it's pretty nice up there, you should go there if you can the next time you visit Yosemite."
Similarly, having worked for Silicon Valley-based companies for a good proportion of the last quarter century, it always amazed me when California-based colleagues admitted that they had never been up to the park - main valley or otherwise! I've had incredulous conversations where people have asked me what I would be doing in the spare weekend in the middle of a 2-week trip to the Bay Area and they've just not understood it when I've said that I would be spending every possible minute in the park.ReplyDelete
Plus, where else do packets of potato crisps (chips) purchased at sea level spontaneously burst as you're just driving along?!
And to cap it all, the Tioga Road *is* awesome!