YOSEMITE: PART II : TUOLUMNE MEADOWS

The other day I just needed a mental break - a chance to look at something relaxing, and calming and awesome.  So I decided I would start working on some photos from my second Yosemite trip with Mike which I had failed to pay attention to for so long.  I made tea, put some bluegrass on pandora, and away I went.  As a soundtrack to this blog post, I highly recommend you click on this link here, before scrolling down.  Click on the link, let the song start playing, and then start reading this post.  Trust me on this one.

So to begin, this Yosemite trip was far more successful than our first one.  It might not be quite as eventful and intensely seared into our brains as the last one was, but this trip was a different kind of amazing.  We decided to head north of Yosemite Valley to Tuolumne Meadows (don't ask me how you are supposed to pronounce this).

 
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Gorgeous open spaces, mountains, and trees.  We both think about these types of places often when we are feeling trapped indoors... these places with so much undiscovered.  Places with nothing and everything at the same time.

 
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Since we have only had weekends - so far - to explore this amazing wilderness, we have had to do short loops.  We were hiking to Young Lakes via Dog Lake Trail.

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Mike snapped this picture, and I think he was getting impatient by how long I was stopping to stare at this view.  I think this was one of my favorite points on the loop.  We had just finished a long gradual climb and to be rewarded with something this incredible was perfect.
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Towards dusk we reached Young Lake where we camped for the night - at the proper, respectable, distance from the water I might add.  We ate dinner and watched as the sun sank lower and lower in the sky, slowly illuminating the trees on the other side of the lake.  It was amazing, and almost surprising how much the light changed the look of the landscape at this time of day.
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We kind of like each other.

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I don't usually experiment with longer exposures without a tripod - but now I think I should try it more often.  And I have to admit, I LOVE the neon pink I am able to get by doing this.  Normally I am not a pink-kind-of-gal, so I guess it just has to be a pink mountain to get me interested.  We haven't been backpacking with tripods, so I always feel like I am not a "real" photographer somehow.  I mean Ansel Adams dragged ridiculous set ups all over the Sierras, and I don't feel like carrying one measly tripod?  But ultimately, due to that very lack of stabilizing gear, I have found myself getting more creative when dusk comes around and I am not ready to put my camera down.  I love these images.

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There is nothing quite like reading Joseph Campbell discuss ancient mythology when you are curled up in a tent, with the wind whipping around you, and darkness approaching, and the closest place resembling modern civilization is a day's walk away.

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The first glimpse of daylight was incredible.
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I am doing a quick jump back in time so you can see the difference between the light in late afternoon:

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And the light in the morning:

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Yup, I could eat breakfast here everyday.
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I would have loved to spend more time at the lake during the day, but we had to get back on the trail... and it was mostly downhill for the second half of the loop :)

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Nice dirty toes at the end of the hike.  Ok, I guess I like pink mountains and pink nail polish.

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We drove by Tenaya Lake on the way out of Yosemite.  We stopped to have a snack and take a couple shots... it's too stunning not to.

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And of course we HAD to stop and get burgers at the Iron Door Saloon.  It is our kind of place, and it is the oldest alcohol-selling establishment in the state of California.

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Until next time,

With love,

Turtle & Moose.