10.22.15//Day 8 – The One with All the Driving

I woke up around midnight, surprised at how bright it was outside. The moon, though it was not full, was in full effect. I rolled over and fell back asleep, not stirring again until just before 0500. By that point, the moon was gone and the sky was littered with stars. I have never seen so many stars in all my life! As a kid, I had a glow-in-the-dark astrology book that I loved. I wish I had that book with me this morning! Even without a cheatsheet, I was able to identify the North Star, a dipper, and Orion’s Belt. (And I was quite proud of myself for doing so! 😉 ) Despite the time, I was in such awe at the sky that I lost track of time staring at the stars.

I eventually broke down camp and we were on the road again, just before sunrise. This time, when I passed the Sand Dunes, it was cool enough for Charlie to hang out in the car while I walked around for a little bit. The surrounding mountains were starting to glow with the red of the rising sun. I took a few pictures, knowing full well the photographs could never compare to the reality, and then just stood there…watching as the sun visibly started overtaking the mountains and lit up the sky.

Before entering the sand dunes, I had skimmed the signs warning of the natural inhabitants (read: snakes) and describing the the J-shaped tracks they make. You should know, I have a huge, irrational fear of snakes…just like Indy. The sand dunes were too impressive to skip, though, on the mere chance I might encounter a terrifying, squiggly stick, so I walked very slowly and carefully checked my path with every step.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

We stopped briefly at the information center in Lone Pine, CA for a picnic lunch. It was in Lone Pine that I noticed the first signs of snow on the mountains. We entered Inyo National Forest once again, on our way to Lake Sabrina.

For the life of me, I cannot see the signs for Inyo NF without thinking “in yo’ face!” and laughing a little bit. I crack myself up. 😉

Anyway, Lake Sabrina. It was beautiful! Driving up to the lake I spotted a few fly fishermen standing on the banks of the river. The lake itself was almost deserted, save for a couple more fishermen. Charlie and I walked along the dam, him sniffing every inch of concrete and me praying to stay upright and on top of the dam. Every time Charlie got too close to the edge, I could picture him channeling his momma’s grace and slipping right over the edge, pulling me down behind him.

Lucky you! You’re being introduced to all my fears in one post! 😛 Heights. I love them…unless I don’t feel safe. Convenient, right? I’ve gone skydiving. No problem. But, walk across a dam that’s about 3 feet wide and drops straight down to a lake with low water levels…in really gusty wind? Not for me.

With a death grip on his leash, we walked the length of the dam back to the parking area and down to the water’s edge. This seemed much safer. The air was cold but the water was colder. I figured Charlie would have a drink and we could head on our way. I figured wrong. Silly pup! He immediately laid down in the icy water, probably scaring off any fish the guys were about to catch.

I wanted to camp in Yosemite tonight and, since I was unsure how long it would take to get through the park, I didn’t want to spend too long at the lake. Once on Tioga Pass, I started to see more and more snow. I’ve hardly been on the road a week and already the weather has kept me on my toes! I made in through the thunderstorms and rain, but I wasn’t quite ready to give up my shorts and sleep on a bed of snow. Fortunately, as we made our way west, the snow disappeared. Unfortunately, the daylight was disappearing just as quickly. I stopped for the requisite photo ops within Yosemite (El Capitan and Half Dome) as we traveled through the park. This being my third time at the park, second time with Charlie, I already knew there were very few places we could be together. I made my way to the first of three campgrounds I had picked out for the night. Full. Then, on to the second – also full. Same thing with the third campground! As I struggled to maintain a signal, I searched the various apps I had been using for another place to pitch our tent. I could either backtrack through the park or continue west. I could find campgrounds roughly an hour in either direction. I opted to continue west and still had no luck finding an open campsite. I’m still not sure that we would have had any better luck if I had turned around. The park was packed! All I knew was that I didn’t want to tempt fate and sleep in the car, alongside the road, just to have a ranger knock on my window in the middle of the night and scare the bejesus out of me. Having driven roughly twelve hours today (fun fact: it takes twice as long to travel any given distance when photo ops are involved), I was exhausted. I am still exhausted. But I’m also clean, warm, and, “camping” in a bed at the Best Western just outside the park. With my travel companion snoring soundly loudly at my feet, I’m ready to call it a day. 🙂

~malama pono~

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