This post right here will be the roughest, toughest, shootinest post this side of the Mississippi.
Anyways, yeah…gonna be a good one. And this one will be a little different as it’s gonna only focus on one day of the California trip. Actually, I think this one and the next will only be focusing on one day at a time.
But the reason for that is that we actually have some pretty good movies to watch for the next couple days. So if you’ve come here looking for a multi-day Californiatravaganza, I am sorry to disappoint.
Also, if you came here looking for strong writing skills and blog posts that don’t rely too heavily on memes and gifs to overcompensate for an inability to tell a cohesive story…
Right. On with the post. We only have so many days left before the trip…
Day 5 is our day at Yosemite, if you hadn’t gathered that from the title or the Yosemite Sam gif I used earlier.
So for our night, we went with a camp theme. Like, “camping under the stars” camp. Not like, Rocky Horror Picture Show camp. Though I was wearing fishnets the entire time.
As you can see from the image above, we don’t have a ton of camping stuff. I don’t fully understand the appeal of camping given hotels have been invented already. But we have been known to camp a few days out of the year.
Basically, to prove to ourselves we don’t really like it.
But we did make the most of it. For snacks during the movie I made Jiffy Pop, which is something I always associate with camping even though I have never actually made it during the act of of camping…
I also picked up some Caramel Trail Mix at the store. Because nothing gets you through those arduous hikes like a mouthful of caramel.
To drink, I made up some Kool-Aid for the kids while Nickie and I had a couple Coors Lights, which is finally something I actually associate with camping. Plus, with those koozies. I can’t even.
For our main meal, we ordered a couple pizzas from Nonni’s Pizza in Revere, MA. Good pies, for sure. But I know what you’re thinking. You are thinking, “what in the crud does pizza have to do with camping?”
This was more a nod to our plans in Yosemite, on account of we will be eating pizza there. More on that later. In the meantime, here is pizza.
And for dessert, we made s’mores.
Some more what?
No no. S’mores. As in chocolate, graham crackers, and marshmallow.
So you want some more chocolate, graham crackers, and marshmallow?
Gah, we made S’MORES. Idiot.
We used our indoor s’mores maker. Which is fire.
And I gotta say, this WAS a pretty awesomely made s’more. By me. The mallow was perfectly browned and the melt was perfection when smushed with the chocolate and graham.
Please don’t listen to anyone who tells you a marshmallow should be burnt in order to make a perfect s’more. Those people lack patience and vision.
For our movie we went with the 2018 documentary, Free Solo.
In case you haven’t heard of it, Free Solo tells the story of professional rock climber Alex Honnold and his journey to conquer the first free solo (translation: no ropes) climb of El Capitan at Yosemite National Park. Thing won an Academy Award. So.
It’s a beautifully shot film for sure. From the cinematography to the overall pacing of it, it all played out really well, ending with a final 20 minutes or so that had all four of us hooked in. The bigger the screen you can watch it on, the better.
But underneath the surface, there is a lot more here.
Of course, with a movie focused on something so cuckoo bananas, a large chunk of it is dedicated to trying to understand why. Why would someone want to do this? It has a lot of people talking to the camera (friends, Alex’s girlfriend, his mother, the filmmakers) trying to make sense of it or come to grips with the reality of it all. And as a viewer, you get some answers. One scene in particular has Alex getting a scan to see if his brain activity shows any differences compared to quote/unquote normal brains.
But honestly, you don’t need any sort of brain scan to see right away that Alex feels different from the rest of us. This movie makes a lot of sense to follow our viewing of Somm. For most of the movie, Alex is presented as somewhat of a – for lack of a better word – selfish character. He puts climbing above everything else in his life. Much like the characters in Somm, Alex’s individual pursuits take precedence over seemingly everything else. It shows drive, ambition, all that….
And as excellent as this film is, it left me thinking. I found myself walking away from this one with a question in my mind – what does it mean to be “great?” At one point in the film, Alex plainly states, “Nobody achieves anything great by being happy and cozy.” So his definition of being ‘great’ means doing something like this. Pushing himself to the extreme and accomplishing something no one has ever done before.
But is it? Is that great? I get the drive to push yourself. And like I said, what he accomplishes is impressive. But why should we consider it “great?” Has his climbing of El Capitan benefitted anyone all that much beyond Alex? Does his climbing of El Capitan, for example, benefit someone more than the interactions they might have with a loved one or a friend? With someone they are happy or cozy with? To many, making someone else happy seems the “greater” act.
I am not posing this as a question I have any sort of answer to. I don’t know what makes a “great” person. And maybe it isn’t just one thing over the other. Or maybe being truly great is being able to achieve such things while also being happy and serving others.
Regardless, I highly recommend Free Solo. It’s a well-told, well-shot story that does ask some deeper questions, for those listening.
#CaliFriendsYeah2019 –Day 5 – In which we visit Yosemite National Park
As mentioned in the last post, Day 5 has us waking up pretty early. The spreadsheet says 6:30AM but I envision it happening even earlier. We have a 4-5 hour drive ahead of us so the earlier we leave, the earlier we get to our destination – Yosemite National Park!
That exclamation point is meant to induce a feeling of surprise, but given that I have already mentioned we are going to Yosemite multiple times in this post, I guess it was all for naught. Still though.
So yeah, leaving early. Our first stop before heading out of the Napa Valley will be for breakfast at the Model Bakery, which is supposed to be hella-good. Like, these English Muffins? Oprah likes em. Oprah, guys.
But after we down all those nooks and crannies, it’s like 4-5 hours to Yosemite. So by the time we reach the place, it will most likely be between 11-12. Which means it’ll pretty much be lunchtime. Meal-to-meal, I love it. I think there are a few things to see along the way but nothing looks like it will compare to Yosemite itself so I assume we will just be motoring through and getting to the park as soon as is humanly possible.
We will be taking I-120 in so it looks like our first big taste of Yosemite will be Tunnel View.
I imagine we will most likely stop at Tunnel View/Inspiration Point to get our first look at the valley. And obvs take some pictures.
You know a place is awesome when you look at pictures of it and you can’t tell whether they are paintings or actual photos.
After Tunnel View, I think we should stop at The Bridalveil Fall Trail – which is only like .5 miles total (about 20 minutes) and the minimal effort looks like it will def pay off big time.
After Bridalveil Falls, I think the next order of business will be checking in to our cabin at Half Dome Village. Both us and the Nerneys each have a wooden cabin with bath booked in the valley.
Which at first glance doesn’t look like much but seemed the best option for us. And really, in Half Dome it seems you pay more for the location than the amenities. And this location? Pretty sweet. Stepping outside of our cabin, we have views of Half Dome, Glacier Point, and El Capitan.
Plus Half Dome Village has a guest lounge, heated pool, and other amenities for guests. And like I said, by this time we will most likely be ready for lunch. So the first order of business will be lunch. On account of…lunch.
The most likely option at this point will be Meadow Grill, which serves burgers, sandwiches, hot dogs…that sort of thing. Good, quick food to give us a little sustenance before exploring the park.
As mentioned before, the Goody family aren’t much in the way of campers. Hikers we are also not. The Nerneys are a little more outdoorsy than us though so we plan on leaning (literally) on them as we make our way through the park and have some more manageable hikes planned, such as:
- Cooks Meadow Loop – is a 1 mile walk that might help us gain our bearings a bit.
- Lower Yosemite Falls – which looks to be a low-effort-high-payoff type of hike to see an insanely large amount of water. 2,425 feet of water, to be exact. Plus the Cooks Meadow Loop actually takes pretty much us TO the trailhead so I mean…
- The Vernal Falls trailhead is very close to Half Dome Village so maybe we can squeeze a hike in at least to the footbridge (a little less than a mile out) as well.
That should cover a few hours, then it will be back to the cabin to rest and probably swim in the pool for a little bit.
Dinner that night will be at the Pizza Patio, which seems like a Half Dome tradition. And I can get behind it. On account of pizza and beer.
After dinner, the plan is to potentially grab a board game and hang out at the lounge for a little bit before figuring out our plan for sunset.
If the road is open, we may end up driving up to Glacier Point to catch the sunset.
But I just spoke with a ranger who said they may still not have the road open by July so we may have to either be content to enjoy the sunset from Half Dome Village or head back to Tunnel View to catch it.
A sunset in Yosemite seriously seems like the perfect way to end the day. But let’s be honest. I mean, we will probably have a few drinks back at the cabin or at the lounge afterwards with the Nerneys. THAT seems like the perfect to actually “end’ the day, no?