If you read Traveling alone Part 1, then you know that I started out from Cincinnati, drove to Dallas to pick up my son, and we tent-camped, together, to Tucumcari, Flagstaff, and two days at the Grand Canyon. Then he flew home after a night in Las Vegas, and I drove on to San Diego. Two days in San Diego, then a stop-over tent-camp at San Louis Obispo, and two days in San Francisco. As I said in Part 1, “…from now on I am out camping on my own.”
From San Francisco, I drive to Yosemite and set up camp in the National Forest adjacent to the National Park. This is a very nice campground as is shown in the picture attached to this article. Across from my camp are three tents which later turn out to be part of a five tent group of mixed singles and married couples that all work together in San Francisco. It appears that each tent group brought enough food to feed the entire five tent group, not to mention the best and most complete bar I have ever seen on a picnic table. With all this planning, they have no insect repellant and only one hot pad in the entire group. Since I am able to supply these missing items I become one of the group with all the privileges of food and bar. Very nice intro to the Yosemite campground.
The next day in the National Park, I am, as always, overwhelmed by the beauty and majesty of this valley. I am somewhat put off by the fact that so many of the masses of people here seem to want only to observe this natural wonder rather than experience it. There is a difference, and it seems to me the difference lies in one’s attitude toward the beauty. Spending most of your time taking pictures and joining into the crush of the souvenir shop seems to miss the experience of Yosemite. The experience requires hiking up the trails to the falls, and in spite of the crowds of people, it is very possible to work your way into areas where you are totally alone with nature. To me that is experiencing rather than observing. After a couple of days I’m off to Lake Tahoe.
My camp ground at Lake Tahoe is interesting in that it is quite hilly. Unusual. Lake Tahoe in the summer is another beautiful place that you can enjoy both as a commercial, resort area, and as a remote natural wonder. I love the lake with all its rides and boats, but I never miss the chance to take the rim trail for most of my time there. The rim trail is 164 miles around the lake, with entrance trailheads about every 10 or 15 miles. I have walked a number of sections in the past, and this time I plan to take the Heavenly Gondola to a point 3000 feet above the lake where a number of ski paths make great hiking trails in the summer. Two weeks ago in Tucumcari the temperature was 105 degrees. Today on a trail at Lake Tahoe the snow is so deep that hiking isn’t possible. Still a great experience!
Two days in Tahoe, then a quick overnight at a camp in Salt Lake City, then on to Jackson Hole, Grand Tetons, and Yellowstone. These are three contiguous areas. Jackson Hole and Grand Tetons are beautiful, but if you don’t get out and experience a hike on the trails to some of the lakes, you tire of the beautiful observation. Yellowstone is so interactive it is hard to just observe. If you are curious, you will find out all manner of things about how and why Yellowstone is what it is. It is the caldera of an ancient mega-volcano. Thirty by forty-five miles in diameter! Interesting.
Now two quick days driving a little over 600 miles a day, and on the third day I meet my lady friend in Chicago for two evenings at the Palmer House. Another wonder to be experienced. Then the 5 hour drive back to Cincinnati. And that’s my do it (mostly) alone tour. 7000 miles in 26 days. Needless to say I have skipped over a myriad of details in this short account, but this is the trip. Did you catch the Senior Issues involved?