Exploration and reminiscence in Yosemite


Waking at 8 am, I laughed at Chris’ having slept in the same position all night. Fei laughed at his hair. But Chris used gel as usual. Then Fei tried to make s’mores and then Jing and I made it too. We then went to the valley, and visited the museum. Saw Native American artifacts, and Chris Brown dancing pictures in the museum. Visited the “Indian Village” behind the museum. Signs informed us some buildings in this village are still used in “the old way.”

We ate lunch. Stopped by Bridalveil Falls on the way to the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias. Climbed to the Vista point, took pictures in the heavy spray. On the way back down to the parking lot Chris, Jing and Fei got pictures on a log.

The climb up from the parking lot to the Grove was 2 miles, according to a sign posted at the beginning. Nic and I were far ahead of everyone else. I had to run part of the way up to keep up with Nic though. Everyone reunited at the Grove Entrance and took photos.

Continued walking up the road. In the Grove it was quite a bit colder than it had been on the way up. Read an information sign that was buried up to its neck in snow.   Went on an icy path to “The Fallen Giant.” Nicola and Fei each climbed onto it for pictures. We marched on a little further on packed snow before turning back.

On the walk down to the parking lot, Fei went to the bathroom but could not find water. The rest of us thought she had heard someone when we saw her looking around the building.

Twisting down the hill around curves we walked into alternating brightness and darkness beneath the shade of the hill and tall trees. Saw a couple of groups of people going in the opposite direction who asked us to estimate how much longer they’d have to walk; we gave them optimistic estimates.

On the drive down, Chris sat in the middle and requested that we talk about something fun. He called for embarrassing or funny stories. I asked him to provide examples. He did so quite willingly. Most embarrassing since he got here: once sleeping in Vic’s room (Vic is one of his best friends here) he made the mistake of going into the women’s bathroom (an easy mistake to make since there are no urinals in Florence Moore, where Vic lives). Once during the second week of school Chris’ roommate, a football player, met a girl from Arizona State. They came in at 2 am; Chris’ roommate picked Chris up and left him, still holding his blanket, in the hall.

At the valley grocery store again inquired after movies (unsuccessfully) and did some food shopping. On the drive back to the hostel exchanged stories of childhood. Chris’ first memory was of a moon through the window of his boarding-kindergarten, thinking of being a college student. Fei’s was of being left on the sofa as a baby, and crying when her mother and brother came in with sodas and didn’t share with her. Jing remembered trying to take some blocks from a school set of blocks to replace pieces she’d lost from her own set. Chris once got into a fight with a girl who tried to bite his face so he pulled her hair. Jing remembered having a kitten that would come when she called.

Conversation moved on to food. On reaching hostel, prepared dinner and ate in the Cafe–Chris and Nicola ordered food and shared with those who ate their own preparations. Back in the room, Fei gave Nicola a massage. Chris got a massage too.

We played Pictionary again. Chris and Nicola vs. Fei, Jing and I—2 rounds, Chris and Nicola won both.

Walked past neighbors playing guitars and singing “La Bamba” on our way to star gaze. Picked out the Big Dipper and maybe the North Star. Back to play Scrabble (Nicola won).


Beginning: Senior Year Spring Break


Jianbo-post-June-2017Our little travel group met in my room to go together to the Marguerite station. Jing asked Fei if she had brought her motion sickness pills; we held the Marguerite while she ran back. Two friends on their way to Berkeley that morning, Qi and Jianbo, had asked to join for the train ride.

We waited in CalTrain Station for Nicola. Chris, who lived in Tokyo as a child, played Japanese elementary school games with Jing and Fei. Nicola picked us up and we were on our way. We made a pit-stop at a Food 4 Less in Tracy. Fei got ice cream. Chris got donuts. Later, we stopped in Oakdale. Fei got pants at Big Kmart and we ate teriyaki for lunch.

Approaching the park, we stopped at an overlook. Drove into Valley and Yosemite Village to get advice on trip planning at the Visitors Center.

Our first hike was to the base of Yosemite Falls. From there we followed a bike path past Yosemite Lodge in search of a meadow where, at sunset, animals should appear and from which meadow Half Dome, lit up orange, should be visible. On the way, we crossed Swinging Bridge.

We sat in the meadow a while waiting for animals, but none appeared, and we left when it started getting dark. On the way back to Yosemite Village we took pictures of a group of deer we found grazing.

The drive up to the Yosemite Bug Hostel was made a bit more exciting by the sight of a truck on fire with flames shooting out its windows. We turned around to check on it, but it had been quickly extinguished.

Found the Yosemite Bug and checked in. Got to our room, with its bunk, sofa, full bed and balcony. It was a bit dark and we needed to share a bathroom, but we counted this is part of the adventure.

We argued jokingly for a while about sleeping arrangements then went to dinner at the hostel’s “Recovery Cafe.” Jing and I split a meal, Nicola and Fei split a meal. After dinner, Fei pet a cat that was sleeping on a sofa in the cafe. A lot of youth were also around the cafe and the hostel in general.

We took Pictionary cards and Scrabble back to our room. Split: Fei and Chris (with one minute to guess) against Nicola, Jing and I (with 45 seconds to guess). Played to 6; Chris and Fei won.

After the game, Jing returned to reading, I to writing this record, and the rest to Scrabble.