Sunday, June 3, 2012

Lots of Yosemite

Just back a couple days ago from a fabulous little trip to Yosemite with some friends. We  lucked out and just happened to get a campsite inside the park right on the Merced river. It couldn't have been a better spot. (Thanks Mary). A day before we left I started to wonder if I'd make it because my headaches/migraines have been so bad. I paged my doctor and got a prescription for steroids. We had to find a drugstore on the way into the valley that would be open on Memorial day, but ended up getting them. I'm struggling a bit but they definitely allowed me to be mostly pain free.
 The other thing was my friend's Dad was all of a sudden on his deathbed and she just got word they didn't know how long he would make it. There were many phone calls, he stabilized and she decided either fret at home or in a beautiful place on vacation.
The evening we arrived we all four went for a leisurely walk on the valley floor. We came across a man lying 30 feet off a path in the grassy bushes. We all wondered instantly if we'd just come across a dead body. My adrenaline spiked immediately as I contemplated about 10 things at once. (who will touch him, will this ruin our trip, how did he die, is he in a coma, is he passed out on drugs, will he freak out if we wake him and he's not that 10?)
 We finally made out some breathing movement and were turning to leave when we thought we can't just leave him. The nights were cold, and what if he needed help. We went back and gently woke him. He sat half way up and kind of turned to us and said, "I'm fine man". (I wanted to he shouldn't fall asleep in bushes where people might find him and freak out.) This we would look back on see as a premonition or something like it.
 The mighty half dome.
The next morning we woke up to the sound of a helicopter flying around the valley. We all wondered how common that was. Was it a training exercise? Do people get lost all the time? Had some poor person spent the night somewhere and couldn't get down?
   After about an hour or more we looked up to see the helicopter flying with two people at the bottom of a long rope dangling below. I tried to imagine what that must be like to be the guy at the end of the rope. (Is that were the saying comes from?)
 Mary our scout leader in a rare repose. We thought we'd better document the moment.
   We would find out shortly after that it turned out someone had committed suicide by jumping from one of the tallest peaks. What I thought was two live people was really the poor Search and Rescue guy that had to somehow retrieve this person, strap the body to his own and fly across the valley. This was really disturbing to think about. Although I'm sure those guys are trained for it all-my brain wasn't. We thought briefly about the guy in the bushes. Was it him? Did this person know what he'd do before he left to climb to the top?
There were deer everywhere mornings and evenings. I ended up sleeping on a cot outside and one of many sweet moments was waking up and seeing one stroll slowly right by me. They are quite used to people.
 We did a big hike up two of the main waterfalls. My knees were really tired. This is the the view from up near the top of the higher one.
 Self portrait. The little tent/three sided cabin even came with a mirror. (I of course brought the christmas lights)

 Lisa Kalechstein tries to return the stones to the way nature found them.
     She continued to get lots of scary cell phone calls about her Dad. Then when things looked the worst. There were something like 6 messages from her Mom, and sister and no word about her Dad. She couldn't get anyone on the phone and decided to just take a chance and call her Dad in hospice. He answered with a clear voice right away. She was so relieved she asked him, "how are you Dad?" "I have some problems" he said (the understatement of the year). It was all she could do to not burst out laughing.
 The money shot everyone has to get. On the way into the valley. (Lisa had had enough)
Chris, Lisa, Mary, and Naama (visiting from Isreal)
  Lisa's Father waited for her to finish her trip and do her laundry. She got word that he died this morning. I'm glad she got a little time to laugh and be with friends before she heads back for the more intense part of the process.

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