Sometimes you plan something and no matter how hard you try it just doesn't work out. You can either accept it or wallow in self pity. Accepting some things are easier said than done sometimes. I think the secret is practice. I got plenty of practice this Christmas. My original plan was to spend Christmas on a tropical beach with a friend. Circumstances out of my control changed that. Instead I chose to escape to Yosemite National Park with my parents. They offer a photography class, In the Footsteps of Ansel Adams, that I decided I absolutely had to take. I was so excited I planned the entire trip around it.
The first day was the day of the class. We stayed just outside the park and took the two hour drive up. It was gray and overcast but the roads weren't too bad. The first sight I saw of the valley was from Tunnel View.
It was beautiful. I could only image what it looked like without the heavy clouds and mist. We arrived at Yosemite Village and it was pouring down rain. It was easier for me to jump out of the car and walk to the gallery where the photography tour started. My parents were to meet me back that when it was over. I walk the little ways to the Ansel Adams gallery, prepared with a rain jacket, umbrella, and water resistant camera bag. I was the only person who showed up. They canceled the class due to the rain, something the website said would never happen. The guy told me if I stuck around, someone would show me how to use my camera. Ha! I made it clear I was there to go to Ansel Adam's favorite spots, not to learn my camera. I felt utterly destroyed. I won't say I WAS destroyed because I wasn't. It just felt like it for about 15 minutes while I wandered aimlessly in a downpour. That class was why I traveled about 1,000 miles. After 15 minutes I let it go. You see, that's all I let myself have. Don't get me wrong, I was still bummed but I knew there was absolutely nothing that could be done. I was soaked by the time I found my parents nice and cozy by a fireplace in the Awahnee an hour later. By the time we left, any view I might have had was obliterated by the fog.
We rented a cabin near Bass Lake, about 45 minutes from the edge of Yosemite. It was everything we expected and more with the exception of only having rain and no snow. If you ever get out that way, I highly suggest the Tall Red Cabin. I'm already planning to go back there one of these days. Besides being in a great location outside of a small town, it was only a few hours from Kings Canyon National Park as well. I spent the day with family friends not too long ago and was told it was a breathtaking place. So of course we had to go. We drove down on Christmas Eve which happened to be the first sunny day since arriving in California. I knew most of the road would be closed due to snow but I still had to experience as much as I could. We never got to see any of the actual canyon but the sequoias were incredible. Even without the breathtaking canyon view, standing beneath a grove of giant sequoias is awe inspiring itself. We truly were in the land of giants.
As you can see, these trees are utterly dwarfing. The tree to the right is General Grant, the second largest sequoia in the world. President Coolidge called it the "Nation's Christmas Tree," a fitting destination for Christmas Eve. My iPhone panoramic app doesn't even begin to give it justice. My wide angle lens never even had a chance. This time I didn't let disappointment take over. I enjoyed the moment for what it was and captured it the best I could. Sometimes that's all we get.
The day after Christmas it finally snowed at our cabin. Our drenched yard turned into a winter wonderland. We spend a day or two just enjoying the cabin while the snow fell softly outside. I split my time between reading a Stephen King book and a photography lighting book by the fire.
Part 2 of my winter Yosemite experience will be coming soon…