Yosemite during the Pandemic

November 1, 2020. We gained an hour last night.

We’re here for our 18th Anniversary. Got here Thursday at dinner time. It’s beautiful and it’s different. We usually come to camp in late May or mid-September. Since it’s late in the season, we’re staying at the Lodge, right across from Yosemite Falls, which is completely dry. It’s only a teeny bit smoky. Many of the concessions are closed and those that are open require masks and are only doing takeout meals, to be eaten inside or out.

The mornings are really chilly (40’s). Friday, we ride our bikes to Mirror lake in the hand-freezing morning. I’m wearing gloves but Mitch has to suffer through it, so we switch to ride on the sunny side of the valley, which makes a big difference. Mirror Lake is a bed of dry sand. Many years ago, they used that to sand the roads in the Winter.

After Mirror Lake, we ride to our favorite spot, the stone bridge with the deep swimming hole. Mitch goes in for a dip, polar bear that he is.

It’s Halloween and we see several people wearing costumes. I wonder if there was a party somewhere but am told that people just want to dress up for the holiday—there isn’t anything “going on.”

Sunday, we leave the lodge at 9:30 and park at Curry Village to hike up Vernal Falls. I forgot that it’s the same loop we did eight years ago. I think it’s the most popular trail in Yosemite and is usually wet from the intense waterfall. This time of year, it’s not wet nor crowded.

It’s still a groaner getting up that steep flight of stairs. For the hike down, we opt to take the John Muir Trail, which is sublime in its own way. Some time, I’d like to go all the way to the top of Nevada Falls and check out Little Yosemite Valley which leads to the backside of Half Dome, where the final climb up that incredible rock begins. We meet some backpackers who came down from there. It sounds lovely and there’s a campsite. I am probably kidding myself that I’ll go but it’s nice to dream. 🙂

And being here in Yosemite has been overshadowed by the anxiety of the election. I put my phone on DND because I’ve been receiving a multitude of texts, emails and calls exhorting me to make calls and give more money. It’s a messed up time out there in the World. We are all nervous about the election and Covid seems to be here for the foreseeable future.

So we try to stay present and be with the serenity of the park. It is enough.

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