11 July 2006 Tuesday

We had no bear problems last night, so we may use this site again tonight.  We won’t cook here, to keep it free from the smell of food.  Instead, we’ll go into the park and find a day use area for breakfast.   

I feel we were kept safe last night because of Tumbleweed.  Tumbleweed is our traveling buddy, a small stuffed bear hand puppet that I “rescued” in Alpine, TX.  We were behind a little internet cafe using their Wi-Fi connection.  It was springtime and the wind in the desert is incredible.  I stepped out of the truck and I saw this small brown thing tangled up in a tumbleweed, rolling across the parking lot and stopped next to a dumpster.  I pulled out this rumpled little bear, very dusty with tumbleweed seeds stuck in his fur.  I brushed out all the seeds, gave him a good bath and named him Tumbleweed.  Another traveling buddy we have with us is Teresa (I didn’t name her).  Teresa is a stuffed dog I sent to my grandmother, Momo, while she was recovering from a broken hip.  She used Teresa in her physical therapy.  When Momo died in the spring of 2005, Teresa found her way back to me, just before we began our trip.  So Teresa and Tumbleweed keep us company while we are on the road.

We went into to northwestern part of Yosemite called Hetch Hetchy.  This area has a dam across the Tuolumne River creating a huge reservoir, supplying San Francisco with water.  We were planning to take a hike to Rancheria Falls, passing three waterfalls along the way.  However, when we got to the trailhead, we found out that the 6.7 mile distance we read on the hike description was one-way, not round trip.  So, rather than a 13 mile hike (ouch!), we went out to Wapama Falls, only a 5 mile round trip.  The falls were beautiful and powerful.  The trail went right to the base of the falls and several bridges went across thru the mist.  On the way back, we stopped at a trickle of a stream that formed a shallow swimming hole.  We stopped to chat with a guy there with his son.  Andrew slid down the sliding rock with the kid and soaked for a few minutes.  The guy is from Riverside, CA and he told us of a couple of free camping areas near Nappa.  We may have to check this out when we are there.  After our hike, we stopped at a day use area near a nice stream for a bath and dinner.  We bathed in the chilly water of the stream and then made dinner on the tailgate.  We noticed a sign stating that the day use area closed at 7pm, just about 10 minutes from now.  Usually, these places are closed at dark.  When a truck pulled in right about 7 o’clock, I said, repeat after me, Andrew, “I’m sorry, we didn’t see the sign, we’ll leave right away”.  The attendant was nice enough, but he did ask us to leave.   “I’m sorry, we didn’t see the sign, we’ll leave right away”.  Andrew chatted with the guy while I quickly washed the dishes and we were out of there.  We went back to our spot in Stanislaus National Forest.  The mosquitoes were pretty bad until dark, then we all went to sleep.

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