Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Yosemite National Park: Day 5 FIRE ALERT!


Good morning friends,

It's been several days since I blogged about our California trip. I'd better hurry up and finish before I forget some of the details. A few of my arm chair travelers wrote to ask about the next adventure. One friend who is disabled really enjoys the travel channel. It's her way of traveling, and I think she's getting a kick out of our journey. I'm pleased to share our voyages with others who can't go. If you're able to travel, I hope these blogs will inspire you to take the same trip.

If you've read my last blog, (you can scroll down to read if you haven't. You'll be traveling backwards, but that's okay.) You'll see that we discovered a plume of smoke as we approached Yosemite. 


We arrived at the gate about 1:30 on July 18, 2017. The day was warm and the skies blue, but smoke was beginning to fill the skies.

According to the National Park Service, Yosemite covers 748,436 acres or 1,169 square miles, and of this land mass, 1,101 square miles are designated wilderness.  Goodness!  That's 94.45% of the park. Views are amazing. 


Gazing all the way to the top of the trees made me dizzy. (Never mind if hubby says I stay that way and it's not the tree's fault. Ha!) 



Giant sequoias have an amazing heritage and can live for over two thousand years! Wow! Can you imagine the stories these tree might tell? 
Picture this. One giant tree comes from a tiny cone. They are an awesome part of nature. God astonishes us, doesn't He? Would you believe fire helps these little things?



For years, Smokey the Bear tried to prevent forest fires. Scientists learned that fire actually promotes reproduction. Fancy that! Fire clears away smaller trees such as cedar. The extra space provides a place for the tiny seeds to take root.


Paul and stretch out at the base of a fallen tree. These trunks can reach over 25 feet thick. The largest tree featured in this area is the General Sherman.



  

Here's a picture of Paul on the path to the Sherman tree. Did you notice he bought a hat? Too late. He'd already turned red on the boat ride across Lake Tahoe. I bought one too. They make good souvenirs. Paul gave his hat to a friend when we got home. This guy has always wanted to go to Yosemite. I hope he takes the trip one of these days. By the way, I kept my hat. What does that say about me?

I couldn't get far enough away to take a picture of the entire General Sherman tree, so I borrowed a picture from Wikipedia.



 Before long, it was time to take a shuttle ride with our park ranger.  This guy was funny and informative. He also brought a spray bottle of water. You'll see it by his right foot. He passed it along to us to spray ourselves, and it helped with the heat.



Not only did we see giant trees as we rode with the ranger, we saw craggy, granite cliffs. From these picture, you can see the smoke creeping into the park.





Yosemite Falls from a distance.

After the tour with the ranger, several of us walked around, visited, and took more pictures.


My new friend, Carole Steer and I had our picture made with a smokey backdrop. The aroma was beginning to smell like we were at a giant fireplace.


We walked closer to the falls. The fire in Mariposa was getting scarier by the second. Maiposa is a small town, and Yosemite occupies Mariposa County. Mariposa means "butterfly" in Spanish. 


Look at this red sun! Tiny cinders were making my contact lenses uncomfortable.

We were supposed to meet Linda, our director, at 6:00 to go to the Yosemite View Lodge. Uh oh! We couldn't leave the park. Linda advised us to eat there and wait. The Yosemite View Lodge had no electricity, but they hoped to have it by 7:30.

Guess what? They didn't have lights by that time, but they thought they would when we arrived. We boarded the bus and sat in line to exit the park. We waited our turn for almost two hours. The officials were evacuating the town of Mariposa and the fleeing home owners had first priority. We sat on the bus and wondered if and when we would get out. (I think several of us prayed too. I know I did.)

Upon arrival at the Yosemite View Lodge, we exited the bus in total darkness. The bus headlights were all we had, that and our cell phones. 

Here's a picture of Linda Perez as she figured out our rooms and luggage. Her husband had placed a miner's headlamp in her luggage. Wasn't that awesome? I don't know if Pepe had ever been a Boy Scout or not, but he prepared Linda for something she'd never experienced before. Just think, she'd laughed with him when he put that doohickey in her luggage. You never know, do you?

Richard Steer found a penlight in his pocket. That little gadget was a godsend. So were our cell phone lights. Richard works in New York City (a block from Ground Zero) and after 9/11, he carries that pen light at all times. The next time I travel, I'm including a flash light and battery operated candles.  Can you envision all these travelers trying to find the bathroom and undress by iPhone? Yep! It was a challenge, that's for sure.

I couldn't take a picture of the lodge. Too black. But you can click on this link to see the pictures. Click on Photo Gallery and view. Yosemite View Lodge

It's too bad we arrived late at night. This rustic lodge sits above a rushing river. We had no A/C, so we opened the windows and the water lulled us to sleep. Of course, exhaustion probably helped. I liked this place. It's not a five-star hotel, but I'd like to go back and sit on the balcony with my morning coffee. We had no time for that. We were to leave at 8:00 the next morning. This was a short night, but one I'll never forget.


King's Canyon and Sequoia National Parks are next in our travels. Come back soon. We'll reminisce together. 

Now it's time to answer emails about my next book that comes out September 15, Mattie's Choice. I've got lots to do yet for the book's premier. That's one reason I'm behind in my blogging.

You can find my books on Amazon and other online book sellers. Gay N. Lewis on Amazon

Blessings until next time!



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