Morning in Yosemite, July 29, 2006

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It was just such a great morning in Yosemite, I had to write something. I haven't been getting as much exercise lately as I would like because of various work things. Last night I got to bed early and then woke up spontaneously fairly early, so I decided to take advantage of the cool morning and go for a run up the Four Mile Trail. It's longer than the Falls Trail (4.6 versus 3.2 miles) and has more vertical (3200' gain versus 2600'), but it's a much easier and more pleasant run because it stays in the shade much longer, has a smoother trail, and gains its altitude consistently and persisently instead of in nasty short steep bits. It's still a fair leg burner after a while though.

Anyway, compared to the ever-crowded Falls Trail, it's quiet (though still one of Yosemite's most popular trails). I saw nobody on the way up except a huge buck mule deer and two grouse that flitted around right by my feet. If I were a starving backwoodsman, I could have probably reached down and grabbed the both of them. I didn't have a watch, but someone at the top told me it was 8:40 when I got there (so it took me a bit over an hour I suppose). I hung out up there for about 20-30 minutes and then headed down. I started seeing people pretty regularly once I got about halfway down, so I didn't think I'd see any more wildlife when I came around the corner and there was a relatively skinny young bear in the trail. The bear was about as tall as a typical adult, but didn't look like he had put on a lot of weight yet. He's definitely got some eating to do before winter. Anyway, I stopped and he stood there in the trail as calm as could be about 75' away. I waited for him to get out of the trail, but he didn't move, so I decided it was time to take a pee. He still didn't move and I decided it was more his trail than mine, so I climbed down through the rocks about 50' off the trail to see what he would do. Sure enough, once I got some distance, he sauntered up the trail on his merry way, sniffed where I peed, and then followed on a bit. When he got about 40' away I gave him a growl and then went on my way and got back on the trail and he did the same. I was headed home and he, I suppose, was home the whole time.

I had noticed a few Evening Primroses in Sentinel Meadow (by the chapel) a week ago, but as I was going by this time they were out in force. I think they are one of the nicest Valley flowers (and they grow near our property in Yosemite West too), but like the dogwoods, it's a treat to see them, common or not.

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