Saturday, August 13, 2005

Bear Poop, No Knitting.......

Luna and I finally made it to Yosemite!! What a beautiful area on our most magnificent Earth. We had it all to ourselves too! (NOT!!)

Yosemite, CA

We arrived at about 10:00 am on Tuesday. Drove into the Yosemite Valley and did a few stops along the one-way circle to take pictures. In our National Parks, dogs are only allowed on the paved areas of roads and walkways and certain campgrounds. That's about it. And since it was over 90*, I wasn't going to leave her in the car for more than 3 minutes. So, we would park when we could find a spot, get out, take a few pictures and back in the Suzuk for the next stop.

Bridalveil Fall

The main area of Yosemite Village was way tooo crowded. The parking lot was about a five minute walk away from the village area so Luna and I geared up to make a 'hot' walk. We had to run from shade-spot to shade-spot because I was so worried about her paws burning. Whenever I take her someplace hot, I always put my hand on the ground or pavement to check the temp and count to 10. YV was hot! But there were lots of trees so I figured we would be fast visitors. There wasn't much for me to see in the buildings or stores because I couldn't take her in. So we did a fast walk-thru of the Village and decided to get to higher and cooler ground in search of a campground. Mr. Ranger had told us White Wolf and Yosemite Creek campgrounds had spaces and were dog-friendly.

Valley Floor

Merced River

We found a spot at White Wolf Campground up on the Tioga Pass roadway about 1 hour's drive from the Yosemite Village area. It was one of the last spots available for the night.

First Night's Camp

Two 'Bear' boxes to put EVERY THING in, including your chapstick, lotion, water bottles and, of course, food. There were a number of rocks we had to step over to go from the Suzuk to the picnic table. Which is why I was thinking it was the last camp site available.....

Our 'Tent'

Poor Luna, too hot above 82* and too cold below 80*.

Obe Wan Luna

During my two-day Yosemite Drive-aBout, I met the nicest people in the form of Rangers and CampMates. Glenna and Gene were very fun! Since they had been at White Wolf campground for one week already, they were the experts on all-things cool and bear-stuff. They showed Luna and I where the stream was and some old Indian 'grinding' spots and Indian summer camp spots. Luna really like that.

Of course, it didn't start out that way. The first thing that Gene ever said to me was, "There was a BIG bear in your campsite last night." I didn't know if that was nice camper-talk or not. Like maybe they didn't like Luna or me. So I just said, "Right and do you have a corkscrew?" My plan was to bribe them into liking us with wine. Maybe wave some yarn at Glenna....she could be a knitter you know. Gene said, "It's just something you need to know."

Like those HUGE BEARS in my nightmares? I've been swimming with sharks for 25 years......have 1000's of dives logged in the oceans of California and lived on Grand Cayman where I was in the water daily. Sharks....HA! But BEARS!!! BEARS scare me to death!!! So, I need to know that there are HUGE BEARS that really like my campsite????? This is how you make new friends?? Hi, BEARS from your nightmares...HERE. Gene looked like a nice guy but I'm thinking that's not a really nice way to make new friends. "Hi, here's your nightmare!" Camping by yourself?? "Hi, BIG bear he was too." "He ate the last campers in that spot which is why its now available!"

Actually, Gene was being very nice by basically giving me a warning to be BEAR-READY which is what good camp-buddies do. We had lots of fun. They had TWO cork-screws. We used them both.

Glenna and Gene

At about dark-time, this newly-wed German couple drove in looking for a campsite. Of course, I shared my spot. I had LOTS of room. They set up their tent and I told them to put EVERY THING in one of the BEAR boxes. We had TWO you know???? They looked at me kinda funny like I was giving them a hard time but started putting their stuff into the BEAR Box. It took a while for her to find all the lipsticks in the car. After they had all their stuff pretty much set-up and were enjoying some of my wine, the pot-banging started and the BEAR Ranger showed up a few sites away. The German Couple pretty much right then picked up their tent and placed it between our two cars before finally settling down for a night snooze.

Newly Weds from Germany

So, the next morning, TWO, count them TWO piles of bear poop!! There had been LOTS of pot-banging and hollering about 'go away BEAR' around the camp ground last night but Luna and I never saw one. Mr. Park Ranger had even visited with more campers two spots and three spits away to fill out a 'bear incident' report but Luna and I were sighting free. You could tell where the bears were though by just following the pot-banging and car-panic-button horns and lights going off. It was busy around dinner time but very quiet for the rest of the night.

Real Two BEAR Poop

Poop Distance From 'Tent'

Since Luna and I survived the Bear-Poop Incident, we had coffee and drove to Tuolumne Meadows for a new look-see. (There is STILL no knitting here.....). The German Couple left for Death Valley. To camp. I gave them my Desert Person lecture and told them it would be 120*. NOT good for camping. They went anyway. Glenna and Gene left on their AWESOME Harleys (no pictures, kicking myself) and I took THEIR spot. Just so I could start a conversation with the new campers. "Hi, there was a BIG BEAR in this spot ....."

View from Olmsted Point

Half Dome

We had a very nice drive around the upper part of Yosemite. Luna SOOO wanted to swim and chase a stick. She actually started howling when she saw all the water!!

Tenaya Lake

Tuolumne Meadows

Waaayyy too many people at Tuolumne Meadows. Had a really good cheeseburger that almost made up for too many people. Fabulous weather too. 75* so taking Luna for walks was good on her little paws.

The second night we moved one campsite over to Glenna and Gene's old site which made it easier to haul stuff from the 'bear' box' to the table and back.

Second Night's Camp

New people showed up in the RV next to my old site. I had a NEW bottle of wine, borrowed THEIR corkscrew and ended up having dinner with them! I'm really liking this not-having-a-corkscrew method of making new camper friends. So far, it's worked out really well. I don't have to build a fire. I just have to share good wine. Isn't that the way the world is supposed to work?

Bear Locker Box with Guard

So, the last night....the NEW people at my OLD site....she says, "did my Cow Bell Ringing wake you and Luna up???" WHAT????? She then says, "it was the biggest bear I have ever seen." WHAT?? You saw a BEAR? (Just for the record, the Cow Bell Ringing didn't wake her husband up and he didn't see said BEAR). WHAT??? Luna didn't wake up. I didn't wake up.

Ok, here is what I think. It's a National Park Marketing strategy of the highest order. There are no BEARS. There are BEAR Boxes, lots of BEAR signs with BEAR information, there is even fake BEAR POOP. But, there are no BEARS. Some campers must be in some discount camping program that they get guaranteed sites if they bang on pots and yell or hit the panic button or ring Cow Bells at dinner time or 5 AM so that it APPEARS there are BEARS. But there are no BEARS. This EXACT same thing happened when I was camping up at Sequoia National Park a few years ago. The Rangers there would even tell me, as I'd be driving in and out of the campsite a few times a day, WHERE the MOM BEAR and CUBS were at that moment. I'd drive by and NEVER see them. NEVER. There are no BEARS. It's a marketing ruse.

This is a National Park Marketing Scam of the highest order. There are no bears in Germany while camping either. Or Wolves. The German Couple told me so. Nevertheless, it's a SEVEN hour drive from the White Wolf Campsite to my house. I guess I'll be going again really soon because Yosemite is truly beautiful. And so is the drive to get there.

Luna & Me



Blogger Nancy said...

Looks like you and Luna have the camping and friend making stuff down to a science! Pretty pictures too. Stay cool!


3:33 PM  

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