Friday, February 20, 2009

The Storm Begins -- Yosemite Valley -- Day 2

Sunday morning was innocuous enough, quiet, calm even. Even the most conservative of weather reports had to acknowledge the winter storm advisory for the Sierra Nevada. As the day progressed, the sky hung more ominously in the valley. Jim left, and I thought about it. By early afternoon it was snowing. By evening, it was undeniable, snow, and lots of it. In the morning Jim and I looked over the area around El Capitan Meadow. Despite being interested in a group of Oaks I had seen the night before, The light was wrong and I ended up focusing my attention on a burn in the west end of the valley.

Fire Damage

Black Oaks

Don't Eat Human Food
For lunch I went to Degnan's and grabbed a sandwich. I spent some part of the day finding stuff like gloves and a map.

The sign on the table says something fascinating about our dietary choices. If you just imagine people in the place of "wildlife" this gets a bit more interesting. If we ate better, maybe it wouldn't be so dangerous for the wildlife to eat it.

The Lodge

Ahwahnee Meadow

Ahwahnee Meadow
I went to the Ahwahnee for Chili in the early afternoon and walked back via the valley loop trail. Beyond that I spent some time tightening up my gear and preparing for a cold snowy night. I went back over to the Lodge to see the Cajun band that had played the previous night (you remember the picture of the guy playing the washboard tie with spoons) and to carbo load before retiring to my tent.

The First Snow Falls
By the time I got back to my tent the storm had evolved to a raging howl above the tree tops, none of which could be felt on the valley floor. Snow fell in clumps and the wind kept me awake. I had to wake and clear snow off my tent more than once.
During the night something or someone collapsed on my tent, making me fear that I was really about to be crushed, leading my to scream and shout. When I was able to evaluate the tent -- everything was normal, so I suspect I dreamt that, but it seemed so real, that I wonder. Did some crazy camper trip over my tent while wondering around in the dark?

The wind howled and I slept roughly, snow fell, but I was dry and fairly warm. The coyotes woke me in the early morning with a crazy song.
Big Winter, Tiny Tent

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