Long Weekend in Bodie & Yosemite September 2006

Having only recently gotten back from our long weekend trip to Idaho, it only seemed fitting it was
time to take another long weekend trip, this time to Mono Lake, Bodie State Park and Yosemite.

After driving up late on thursday night, eating at Sonic in Tracy, crashing for the night in tiny Groveland,
getting up early, and driving through the top of Yosemite, our day finally began in the town of Lea Vining
at the world-famous Nicely's.  (note: this restaurant may or may not be world-famous, but they had an
awesome sign and apparently deep-dish apple pie that we didn't try but was very tempting).

We drove to this middle-of-nowhere location for two reasons - to see the tufa of Mono Lake, and
witness the desolation of the ghost town of Bodie.  This is the tufa.

Information time: Mono Lake is a dead, or terminal lake - meaning water runs in but only leaves via
evaporation.  This leads to salinity 2.5 times greater than sea water and 10 times more alkali.  The
tufa is formed as fresh water rises from underground springs and mixes with the mineral-rich salt
water...as the lake's level drops these formations make themselves present to the public.

Here, Chelsea mulls over the impact of agriculture and Los Angeles on the water table of Mono Lake,
and more importantly, how this will effect the wetlands and migratory patterns of the water fowl who use
this area to feed and nest.  That, or she's just staring ut into space not thinking of nuthin'.

More tufa.  It's a fun word to say, tufa.  Almost as fun as rigamarole.

We then made our way a few miles north of Mono Lake - down a windy road which led to a gravel
road which led to sightings of coyote and sheep and deer and finally, we came over the hill and saw
Bodie State Historic Park.  

Words can't really do this place justice, but it is much bigger than I ever expected.  I guess the
low moisture and humidity of the high desert has helped preserve this piece of gold rush history.

For some reason the sight of an outhouse makes me think of Cousin Eddie from Christmas Vacation.

The only church still standing.  Despite the wealth of buildings here, apparently it is only 5% of the
total numbero f buildings that stood during the gold rush years of the 1880's.

One of the houses you could enter.  It was pretty interesting to see the floors and the walls, and the
different levels of wallpaper and floor coverings that have existed in these dwellings over the years.

If the buildings still had windows, more than likely they looked like this - as if the owners had just been
zapped into oblivion, their belongings still there in their normal places.  In the bars there was booze on
the shelves, in the casino there was still chips on the roulette table, in the hotel the snooker table looked
brand new outside of the dust settled on it.  It was truly an amazing sight to behold, as if you had actually
been transported back in time.

Given the radio in the baby's room on the right, this was probably one of the last occupied houses.  
Apparently everyone was gone by the 1940s, and then sometime in the sixties it was named a state
park  and the government began overseeing the land.

Inside the general store...like many of the other buildings, durable goods were still on the shelf as
if you could just go in there, dust them off and purchase them from the shopkeep.

An old truck out in front of the gas tanks; I'm assuming that it was restored by the park service folks
and looks as if it is still in use around the land.

Wagons are like so two centuries ago.

This is the main mine in town, and it is off limits because apparently all the ground around it is poisonous.
The miners back in those days (and even in the modern day in third world countries) use cyanide and
other poisons to leech the precious gold and silver metal from the rock.

Oh, and it was friggin' windy and cold despite being beautiful and sunny outside.  Apparently the low of
2006 so far was -21...but the booklet we purchased said something about it sometimes getting 50 and
60 below in this place.  

...Maybe not as driveable as the old truck up above.

This place was truly amazing...well worth the long drive out ot see it.  I've never witnessed anything
like this town frozen in time.

We then made our way back into the park, via Tioga Pass - which is nearly 10,000 feet above sea

When you are that high up, it's goddam cold.  

Portrait of the happy couple #5417.

The sun setting on bare stone mountains = the pretty.

I read a brochure that said you could ride the park deer around like ponies, but this one was all "no dice!"

Half Dome thorugh the trees.  Ooh, arty ain't it?

Trees through the trees.  Yeah, not so arty on this one.

I got a pair of big rocks.

Saw a couple of these crazy lichens growing on some trees - they were huge!  They looked like
some manner of neon brains.  Zombie trees maybe?

This is where Yosemite Falls usually is in the spring...in the fall, it's just a dug out chunk of rocks.
It really gives you a neat perspective if you have ever witnessed it with the water ragin' full on.

Late friday night our friends Tim & Christy drove up and shared our cabin with us...I've known
Christy since I was 14 and we were both living in a tiny town in NC and had history class together.

Unlike Yosemite Falls, at least there was a little bit left of Bridal Veil Falls.

The nice part was that you could hike up and really explore the nooks and crannies where the falls
usually land in the spring.

...And once there, you could have your girlfriend pose "like a tiger".

Just posting this as evidence I was really there.

These rocks were surprisingly comfortable...I could have nearly taken a nap right here.

El Capitan.  I don't know why we even bother taking photos of this, because it never does it justice.  
The thing is just immense in person, something the camera can't really show.

Packing up-n-out to leave on Sunday.  I have no good reason for leaning my head back like that.  

Chelsea attempts to eat Half Dome.  Daryll Hannah ain't got nothin' on her.

Half Dome, from the vantage of Glacier Point.  No glaciers were harmed in the taking of this photo.

And that's it!  We drove back to Oaktown, stopping for Sonic on the way (of course).  Yosemite
squirrel says "bye bye"!