This morning we left the cabin in the woods, a bit southwest of South Lake Tahoe, and began our drive to Yosemite, where we planned on meeting my brother Mike for a day or two of camping and hiking.
We crossed the California state line back into Nevada on the way, and a bit later we stopped at a small casino at Lake Topaz on the border back into California for an all-you-can-eat spaghetti lunch ($3.99 per person!). We also stopped briefly at Mono Lake for some spectacular views…and a bathroom break. We couldn’t linger long, as our goal was to get to Yosemite as quickly as possible to find a campsite, which we knew would be extremely difficult on a Friday afternoon in the summer. Mike would be looking for a site as he entered from the western side, and we would be looking for a site from the eastern side. Unfortunately, all the campgrounds outside the eastern entrance of the park were full, so we headed into the park only to find out from the ranger at the entrance station that all campgrounds inside the park were completely full. To make matters worse, we had no cell reception, so we couldn’t reach Mike to tell him the bad news. Amazingly, after about 30 minutes of driving westward in the park I got a text from Mike, at a moment when we had a single bar of cell reception, saying that he secured the very last campsite available in the park, at Crane Flat on the western side, as someone had just cancelled a reservation. We were elated! The 40-mile drive to the campsite took us more than an hour, as we navigated the windy roads and also stopped for some photo ops.
We made it to the campsite at around 6:30pm to find Mike sitting at the picnic table, his tent already assembled. After several minutes of hugging, kissing (no tongue) and joyful crying, we took out our gear and set up our tent. Mike and I headed off to the campground store for some firewood and beer, and we returned to the campsite to the aroma of Toby’s famous bean chili. Dinner was followed by roasted marshmallows (a perfect golden brown, of course). Yummy. We then hit the sack, and since we opted not to put on the tent fly, we could see the stars directly above us. It was pretty cool.