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Archive for June 27th, 2009

El Capitan

Originally uploaded by Kiki Karia.

After a fitful night’s sleep, we arose around 6:00AM, quickly loaded the vehicle and headed for Yosemite National Park. The sky was blue, but clouds seem to be ever with us so far on this trip. We turned west onto Hwy 120 and made our way up Tioga Pass. We reached the entrance gate to Yosemite at around 9:00 AM. The elevation here was 9,945 feet. The temperature was 38 degrees Fahrenheit. There still was much snow at this elevation, and the mountain peaks even had some recent dusting of snow. We stopped at a small pond to take photos and continued on to the Tuolumne River where we also stopped. It was still winter in the high Sierras. Continuing on, we passed Lembert Dome,Tuolumne Meadows and Lake Tenaya before stopping at Olmstead Point. From there, we could see Half Dome down Tenaya Canyon. Many visitors were here as well taking pictures. We hiked down a short distance from the parking lot and were greeted by a couple of yellow bellied marmots. The first one I saw sitting on a rock. He was looking at me as if he were waiting for me to photograph him. Mike and I had fun taking their pictures. We hiked a little further on to a rise in the rocks and took more pictures of Lake Tenaya, Half Dome and the surrounding beauty. After we hiked back to our car, we had a lunch break, eating the sandwiches we had purchased in Bishop. We continued on and arrived in Yosemite Valley around 2:30. We stopped at a few of our favorite spots to take pictures and then pulled in to Camp Curry where we usually stay in the park.
Mike was going to the visitor desk to check on our rooms. I browsed in the village store. A few minutes later he was back, which was surprising to me. Usually there is a long wait before you can get your cabin keys. He said the rooms would not be ready until after 3:00 PM and suggested we go someplace where we could relax, like the Ahwahnee Hotel. The Ahwahnee Hotel has a great room that is like a gigantic living room. It has a couple of huge fireplaces and a variety of sofas and chairs. 97 percent of the furnishings in this room are the originals from when the Ahwahnee opened in 1927. It is a nice place to relax. We each ordered a beverage and went out to the veranda to relax and enjoy the scenery. As is common at the Ahwahnee, especially on a Saturday or Sunday, a wedding was getting ready to take place. We saw several from the wedding party going back and forth in preparation. It’s such an exciting time. After we finished our drinks, we took a walk behind the hotel. There are several cottages back there in the woods. We had stayed in one three years ago for our 27th anniversary and had really enjoyed ourselves. But this time, it looked like we were going to be staying in Curry Village, possibly in a tent cabin or a wood cabin without bath. Because of the rock slides last year in Curry, our original reservations had been cancelled. Mike had had a difficult time finding lodging for us in the valley. We passed by the cottage that we had stayed in three years ago. Mike was telling me that he had heard that some of the cottages actually had fireplaces in them. The one we had stayed in did not. We passed by a cottage that was being cleaned. We stopped to take a look, and it had a fireplace in it. The cleaning lady let us come inside and take a peek. The décor was Indian, with a King-sized featherbed and a good sized fireplace. The only problem with it was that it smelled smoky. Otherwise, it was a lovely spot to stay. The cleaning lady told us that a lot of honeymooners stay there. We continued on thru the forest and ended up at the river’s edge. It was so peaceful and tranquil back here. The river looked so crystal clear as it flowed through the forest. Mike and I took a few pictures. I noticed a bridge further down, and I told Mike I would like to go photograph it. He told me to go ahead and take some pictures. And then he informed me that we would be staying there at the Ahwahnee in the same cottage we stayed at three years ago. I was so surprised! All this time, I had thought we would be staying in a wood cabin without bath in Curry Village. I was not looking forward to a midnight trek to the restroom a stone’s throw from our cabin or waiting in line at the bath house to take a shower. But I wasn’t going to complain because I had stayed at the Ahwahnee three years ago, and I was grateful for that experience. But now, Mike was telling me we would indeed be staying at the Ahwahnee! I was surprised, happy and overwhelmed at the magnanimous heart of this man who married me almost 30 years ago. We both had an emotional moment of tenderness. We hugged and then Mike went back to the hotel to check us in and get our room keys. Still feeling overwhelmed with gratitude, I went back to the river’s edge, sat down and wept. As I sat there by the river, I began to pour out my heart to God and thank Him for his faithfulness and goodness to me.
When Mike returned, he told me there was a change in plans. The employee who had made our reservations apparently made a mistake. So instead of the cottage we had before, we would be staying in another one nearby. He took me to our cottage, and it was just perfect! It had a comfortable king-sized feather bed with soft, plump pillows. Outside our window we could see Half Dome smiling down on us. Everything was immaculate and tastefully decorated in the Indian style for which the hotel was named. What a wonderful anniversary gift to stay at this peaceful place. I am so blessed.

Our Patio

Our Patio

View from our room

View from our room

Our room at the Ahwahnee

Our room at the Ahwahnee

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