I was only planning on doing a day trip, but I ended up staying over night.
I took a lot of pictures. I have to think about how to present them, and which to post, because this is only the second post about this, and people are already bored.
As promised, I woke up at 3:30 in the morning. I saw the sunrise long after I had left the Bay Area behind.
The smoke in the air made the sunrise nice.
I saw a lot of California, driving East. Miles of golden grass and oak trees…
I stopped beside a lake.
I saw a cute old house.
I saw the coolest sign ever… I don’t know what kind of animal that is, but I want to pet it!
I saw miles of dead trees from the California wildfires of years past.
And I saw parts of the Ferguson fire that are still burning.
They had to put signs along the highway saying not to report these fires, they already knew about them.
Smoke in the background, burned ground in the foreground to the right.
It was eerie and heartbreaking. Yosemite had just reopened. The East and Southeast entrances are still closed because of fires. The air reeked of smoke.
These aren’t the biggest fires in California right now. The whole place is burning.
As I made my way down into the valley, and it began to open up before me, I knew that smoke was going to play an important part in this story and the pictures I took.
There would be none of the crystal-clear views you come to expect in Yosemite.
And yet, the air did clear during parts of the day.
And the fires had one good effect on my adventure. Yosemite was virtually deserted. Only people from other countries were there, people who had made reservations months or years in advance, and weren’t going to let the fires ruin a once-in-a-lifetime trip to this magical place. Yosemite is hard to do in summer. It is a traffic nightmare. You park and take the free shuttle buses.
I never had trouble parking. I was on trails and in meadows with nobody in sight. If I wanted to park and pet a horse, or take a picture, I was always able to.
And that was pretty incredible.