Sunday, December 28, 2008

Must be cattle nearby....

Or not. Sometimes if something looks a little out of place you may just want to stop right where you are before what you smell becomes what you wear. There are OPSEC indicators all around and you don't need to be military to pick up on them. I went mountain biking today on a new trail with a new friend. Mountain biking is a term used very loosely here since there are no mountains nearby. We went to the Harwoods Mill Reservoir park in Newport News.

Since the temperatures jumped into the 70s here today and the sun was out it seemed like an ideal plan. Both of us were a bit impaired having been at different parties the night before so we had an excuse. The trail system there is actually a lot of fun and fairly easy. The problem was that we were trying to follow the signs from one trail to another. We stopped to talk for a moment and try to figure out where we needed to go. I tend to meet ALL of my problems head on. This has gotten me into trouble more than a couple of times.

It was obvious that horses frequented the area. OPSEC indicator number 1...piles of manure. It looked like a lot of horses frequented the area. OPSEC indicator number 2...lots of piles of manure. In fact, the smell was almost overwhelming. OPSEC indicator number 3....the obvious smell of a large quantity of farm animals without any being actually present. Since neither one of us were exactly sound in the digestive department from the night before, we hastened to get past the smell. The path before us looked a little like dried mud and so we proceeded. I noticed that it appeared someone had been throwing manure at the signs and trees. I found this very odd, but I was little more concerned about getting past the smell. OPSEC indicator number 4...people or animals almost never throw manure anywhere.

It was about then that Chris made the connection I did not want to. We were riding through a very thick swath of manure. Our nobby mountain biking tires were sinking into this crap, molding to it, clinging to the tires until it couldn't anymore and came flinging up on our legs. Knee deep in horse shit. Not just the trail, someone somehow managed to coat the trees. My best guess is a manure spreader of some kind...but I would almost swear it looked like it had come from the sky. I could see this kind of thing out in a field...but a service road? We made it through and had a much more enjoyable ride once the manure had all finally flung off the tires. Makes for kind of a shitty end to the year though. :-)

I suppose it could have been worse. I could have led us through poison ivy or poison oak and ended up like Rachel.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


A little odd...maybe even is part of the name for my blog. You cannot say you did not have some warning.

When faced with the prospect of being without my son for a few hours, or days, or weeks I get a bit of mania. I feel driven. I am up late (like 2am), up early (6am), and try to fill each moment. That happened the last two days. Even at 9pm when my eyes were dried out, I did not feel like I could stay awake another moment, something catches my attention, and I am off again. I cannot really concentrate, so I just move from thing to thing not really getting anything done. Seems like there is so much to do. I know it cannot all be done. I prioritize, but that gets re-arranged constantly.

A catnap for 10-15mins just restarts me. At midnight I'm trying to read Brave New World and the words just swim around the page, my eyes burn, but for some reason I am driven. I woke up at 5am and just start again. I have to clean my house and get several things done today. Tomorrow I am going to head to Richmond to spend some time with my friends there. Friday is snowboarding and maybe more time in Richmond. Saturday is bike riding, and Saturday night is a friend's birthday party....rockstar style. Sunday may be bike riding and rock climbing.

In the back of my mind is work. Security metrics. Problem sets. Processes that need to be fixed, or created (Sheesh, there are lots of both). The endless procurement circus. That list only grows from there.

Next week is more of the same. Two days of work, snowboarding, New Years, business trip to Maryland on Friday, snowboarding Saturday maybe, back Sunday for my son to come home.

In a word...Mania.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas.... :-)

Brandon and I celebrated Christmas Saturday morning. He leaves Sunday to go to his mom's for two weeks. He's been complaining for a while that his computer is slow. He wanted a laptop. That is not going to happen. However, Santa had a brilliant idea and I agreed. Santa brought him all the PARTS he needed to build a new computer (in his old case). Santa also brought him a Lego Mindstorm NXT robot and some books and a few other things.

I wasn't sure how well the project would go. Brandon has been saying for a while he wanted to learn more about computers...

The project went amazingly well. He was brilliant. He never complained and stuck with it until the end. He didn't even complain about my 20 minute introduction to computers whiteboard session:
We went through a lot.

Then we got started with the project. He had to first disconnect the existing system and open the case. Then he had to remove the existing PCI cards, power connectors, and pull out the hard drive and DVD drive. Then he removed the motherboard and the power supply.

He turned every screw and performed every action. I just gave him verbal guidance and took pictures. We re-iterated what the component's functions were along the way. Once the case was cleaned out, we blew it out with the air compressor. We were ready for phase two.

He put in the new power supply first. I had him read through parts of the motherboard manual and tell me what all the component on the motherboard were and where they were. Then he put in the supports for the new motherboard and installed the motherboard. Next he installed the new memory. Then we put in the new processor, explaining about thermal paste, heat sinks, and heat transfer surface area as we went. He connected the motherboard power leads and then put in the hard drive and DVD drive. He also connected the front panel leads too. I had him refer back to the manual for as much as possible.

It took between two and three hours, but the moment had come. It was time to turn it on. I explained that we usually miss something along the way and so it may not work the the first time we turn it on. However, it did work the first time. It has blue LEDs in the power supply. :-)

We got started installing Vista (64 bit since he knows a little about the difference between 8, 16, 32, and 64 bit now). His friends came over and wanted to play so I finished the OS and other software installs. Had to go buy a Netgear WN311B Wireless adapter since it has 64bit drivers and the Linksys does not. It took forever to get all the Vista updates too.

I had to get a tackle / tool box for the Mindstorm. At least with that he won't lose all the pieces at once....

See what I mean?

I hope your Christmas / Holiday goes as well as ours did!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I crossed a huge milestone today...

I got the 50th state quarter for our quarter map! I'm not even kidding. Hawaii. The search is over!! Now Brandon wants to frame the map. I agree...I don't want him trying to spend the quarters. He tried that once. He also pulled them out, mixed them up, and then put them in backwards too. I don't even begin to know why.

So, what's different. Hmmm. Nothing really. It wasn't a bad day today. Thank you all for the happy My God you're getting ancient Birthday Wishes. I really do appreciate that!

What has been happening is that I'm making a concentrated effort to eat a bit better. I recently collected a number of vegetarian and Asian cookbooks. I'm not moving towards vegetarianism, but I do like the food. My son loves Asian as much as I do. I'm looking to cook things like casseroles and stuff that I can throw in a crock pot too. I don't want to spend two hours in the kitchen every night.

Like I said yesterday, I got on a coed indoor soccer team...that will keep my Sunday mornings busy until at least March. :-)

My Christmas shopping for my son is done. :-)

I have a round trip plane ticket to go anywhere (that costs less than $400) . I have to use it before March. Salt Lake City for snowboarding is my logical choice at this time. We'll see. Marla says the snow is better in New Mexico though. I am dreaming snowboarding in Chile, New Zealand, or Australia one summer too. Also going to Alaska.

I got a few very unexpected and very special gifts today for which I am very thankful. :-)

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

A realization struck me today...

I got a phone call about playing indoor coed soccer! Woo hoo! We'll be playing at the Jewish Community Center here. I am very excited. The team organizer said that we have a good mix, but not everyone can make it to a lot of the games. They need more women too. He then went on to say that he was in his late thirties and described the mix of the other players.

That was when the realization struck. I am only in my late thirties for the next few hours. At midnight I am in my early forties. super hero power is procrastination! I would work on a way to put off my early forties, but I can do that later.


Sunday, December 07, 2008

All I really want for Christmas....

Since I've been reading through XKCD...I'm through 200 of them. This is #201.

I have the GPS...Just need to find the woman that thinks like this...

And if you are into math, language, science, and should seriously think about spending some time at Each one will either have you laughing hysterically or put you into thoughtful contemplation.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

I really have a lot to say...

But I don't feel like writing it all out right now. :-(

Instead, I've been reading through all of I'm at 140. It takes a while. I am paralyzed with paroxysms of laughter at each one.

Here are two I read that is a poignant reminder of what it is to become very close to someone and see them go.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Feeling old?

My son had to do a genealogy project in October. After writing out the family tree he had to pick five people and do a paragraph on each. While he fought over this, he had a lot of fun when he finally decided to do it.

Of particular note was my father. I told him that he got a Bachelor's Degree from NC State in Aeronautical Engineering....before calculators had been invented.

While not ENTIRELY accurate it really cracked him and the class up. :-)

I grew up in a school system that discouraged the use of calculators though.

Will my son recall that I grew up in a era before MP3's and DRM were invented? Before the Internet was a common household term? Before Wikipedia and Google?

...(completely random thoughts follow, no direction or meaning whatsoever)...
My neighbor was commenting on library hours recently. Are libraries becoming obsolete? Are more kids doing research through the Internet than in local libraries? While businesses are certainly working on profitable models of using electronic books, what are the libraries doing other than putting Internet terminals out for public use? What direction are they taking in the digital age? People are opposing Google scanning and searching the libraries...but has anyone other than Google really put serious thought into how the book and shelf model grows when you have to keep old and new books alike? Libraries make decisions about what books to keep, and then sell others so even now you can't go to a library and find all the information you need, just what someone else deemed worthy of occupying shelf space. Some of it may have just disappeared.

Ok, going to go mountain biking. It's pouring rain. Things you do for friends....

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Have a....


Yosemite Part 4:

September 6th, 2002

We woke early again, a little after sunrise. It was cold. It was wet. The grass and vegetation were rather soaked in water and anxious to hang on to it until we stepped near them. Something left a present in the middle of the night. I do not examine scat. We retrieved the packs and food canister, ate breakfast, and began our hike.

It was a gray drizzly foggy day. Each step in the valley just soaked our feet, socks, and legs a little more. We crossed and immediately started switchbacks up the other side from there. To be honest, the day was pretty much a blur. With the occasional sprinkles and clouds it was a little too wet to really even take pictures, so I only have one from my brothers video camera. We were either begrudgingly going up or down a hill/mountain the whole day. I know I saw some really amazing scenery, but my mind was pretty much shutdown.

Towards the end I found a surprising fount of inspiration. FOOD. Rocquel and I were talking about what we wanted to eat. I finally suggested a Chinese Buffet!!!! Really, any buffet would have done, but there was something about a Chinese buffet that really captured my imagination, and stomach (er, well really my tongue).

Along the way we ran into some Park Rangers. We told them about our Bear encounter. They asked if we had seen any sign of another group on the trail. They were supposed to be back but hadn't made it. We said no. Likely, they misjudged their distance too.

At one point I had slipped on some exposed rock and skinned my knee a little. No big deal. Footing was some what treacherous at times due to the mist that came and went.

Rocquel and Brian moved on ahead and encountered our last bear. They got this shot:
Rocquel asked Brian if they should let me know since I was behind them. He said no, I would be fine. As it was I made it past the bear with no problem, even bleeding. Brian went on ahead and I caught up with Rocquel. We were hoping Brian would have gone up to get the car and meet us on the Dam. He didn't, so we had to hike up one final hill. GRRRRR.

Sitting down in the car was pure bliss...until...the stench.

Something reeked. The problem was that we couldn't open the windows too much because it was pretty cold outside. My assumption, and I'm pretty sure I'm right, was that it was Brian's feet. His feet have always been famously raunchily odiferous. Being in a rather cantankerous mood, I was complaining pretty much non-stop only interspersing the foul stream with dreamy thoughts of the nearest Chinese Buffet. Rocquel has an uncanny knack of shutting me down whenever I get like that. She said that it might not be Brian's feet that smelled. I asked her what she meant. Big mistake. Subject was promptly dropped and no more complaining ensued.

We didn't exactly hit the nearest buffet. Instead, we needed to get to Santa Cruz, so we didn't eat until we got there. We showered, THANK GOD, then went to eat Chinese.

Ever spent a Friday night in Santa Cruz? Wow.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Yosemite: Part 3

September 5, 2002....Day 3

The real journey begins here.

We woke up early in the morning. We were fairly excited about the hike, but it didn't take long to change that.

Here is what the view looked like first thing:

And here is what we looked like while we were still happy to be there:

It wasn't too long before the switchbacks started. Remember I talked about learning to read topographical maps. You seriously need to know how much up and down you are doing along with the horizontal distance. The switchbacks were fine at first, but quickly started to take their toll. Somewhere near the middle, it looked like this:
Not a bad morning hike...If you were in shape for it...If you had the right equipment. I was neither. I was getting voraciously hungry. At the top it looked like this:

Soon after we decided to stop for a snack. :-) I was really hungry. The trail mix was in serious trouble:
Now...a couple of things about this picture. It was the last time of the trip that I was actually allowed to hold the bag. You see. I was going to eat it all. Rocquel was very alarmed at how much I was eating and told my brother that if he didn't stop me there wouldn't be any left. I was shortly relieved of the mix, and it was closely guarded thereafter. It was not that it was any good, it was SOMETHING, and my body was in dire need of any something at that point. The next thing about this picture is that the woman I was dating at the time used it for her desktop. Something in the way she added it there made it pop up every time she shutdown her computer. It continued to do so for two years after we broke up. I had absolutely nothing to with that.

The wonders in Yosemite are astounding. It seems every time you cross a ridge you are in an entirely different surrounding. That is what kept me going when I seriously wanted to quit. Already my shoulders and back were aching terribly. I didn't want to see or put on the pack, and it was still morning. Bears were almost entirely pushed out of my mind by the agony of carrying the pack. One camera would have been enough. I'm sure I could have shed weight in other ways too.

Another area we stopped at was here:
And here we got to read some sign posts....

If my memory is correct, and likely it isn't, we had come 7.2 miles to this point, had 3.4 miles to get to the lake we were going to, and 10.0 miles to get to where we figured was about halfway. It was at this point that I realized our mistakes. We had not really read the map all that well. We miscalculated the horizontal distance, we miscalculated the vertical distance, and therefore we had miscalculated our time. We really had to pick up our pace if we were going to be even close to halfway by sunset.

While we continued to trudge along I managed to get these shots:

And just when it seemed that the landscape could not change any more, we landed on the moon. At least that is what I thought it looked like. We were our of the forest and glades and onto solid granite.

Brian and Rocquel having a moment:

Shortly after getting to this barren area we found the lake. It was around 2pm.

We shed our packs. I found a grassy area and crashed. Like a lizard I just soaked up the sun. After a bit I did go for a swim. Brian cooked up some noodles and filtered water for us. I think they gave me a little trail mix. I would have eaten bugs at this point.

This is the spot I napped in. There is my pitiful pack. My dreadful and despised instrument of self-inflicted torture:

I was adamant that we were staying here and going NO FURTHER. I was DONE. I had eaten, I was warm, and I wanted to sleep until the next day. Brian, like always, convinced me that I needed to get up and keep going. By my calculations, I think we still had close to 7 miles to go before we could sleep. Onward we trudged.

More switchbacks going up and over the mountain next to the lake. Then more meadows, more trees, more switchbacks leading down into Tillman Valley. Grrr. Yes, I was irritated. My tripod had broken. My bungee cords holding my sleeping bag were loosening and stretching. They took the trail mix from me. My whole body ached, but especially my shoulders and back. Onward. Onward. Onward. Up. Down. Up. Down. Up. Up. Down.

On the last switchbacks before getting into the valley I was sitting on one of the bends waiting for my brother and his wife. I heard a big crash on the next switchback below. I watched a very large brown bear run really fast down the path and crash into the other side. Then it was silent again. I just sat there. My mind replayed what I saw. The only thing that registered was that I should not say anything until my brother got close. No need to further alert the bear to our presence. I was too tired to do anything. I was too tired to be scared. I just wanted to sleep.

We finally made it to spot we needed to camp. Just before sunset. As I was walking to the spot, a sign caught my eye and I made a bee line for it. I wanted to see how far I had to walk the next day. Rocquel kept telling me that the camp site was the other way. Again. Again. Again. I was too tired to reply. I just wanted a look, then I wanted to collapse. She called again. I responded, "Pitch the F******* tent! I will be there in a minute!" We may have been on the right path, and fournd the right place, but I had lost my temper. :-)

We had about 17 miles to go to get back the next day. Maybe a bear would eat me and I would not have to worry about it.

Here is a picture of the Valley at sunset:

We ate. The wind was picking up and it felt like it was going to rain. We put the food canister, our packs, and anything that smelled like food in the valley, 50 yards from our tents. It was getting cold. Sometime in the middle of the night the wind really picked up and it rained. I am still amazed my tent did not collapse or have the dew cover ripped off. I got up at one point and put rocks on the packs. I was afraid anything not weighted down would blow away. While doing this my brother had to get up and urinate. He did not know I was up. I walked up behind him as he was getting out of the tent. I did not mean to scare him, it just didn't register to me that with the wind he could not hear me. I scared the piss out of him, nearly literally. I told him I had just weighted the packs down. Then I went back to sleep. I was very glad I had bought the new sleeping bag.

Part 4 coming soon....

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Yosemite: Part 2

It had been a long day and I was tired. I went to sleep easily and was quite comfortable.

All was not well in Yosemite though. At least as far as one particular Ranger was concerned.

Sometime late in the night my brother is trying to wake me up. I rarely wake up like that in a good mood. While my brain is reluctantly trying to re-engage I hear my brother muttering things over my own epitaphs. I also hear someone else walking away from the tent.

"We have to move our tents," he says.

"The F*** we do," I respond loudly and obnoxiously.

He went on to explain, I went on to curse. We were told that we hadn't quite made it to the backpacker campground. We were between. A hallowed place where one could walk, but obviously not stay for any prolonged period. There was no reason other than it was not a defined here, and it was not defined there.

A blindingly brilliant and happy idea entered my head just then. If I have to wake up, everyone else in the valley should too. In fact, I'm going to make that night one the Ranger would never, ever forget. It was simple and inspired. Chris Farley gave me the idea in the movie Tommy Boy. I was about to start shouting "The BEES. The BEES, of for the LOVE OF GOD RUN FOR YOUR LIVES. It's HORRENDOUS. TERRIBLE. The BEES ARE EVERYWHERE. SOMEBODY SAVE US. The BEEEEEEEEEES..."

*click* Brain finally engages. Getting kicked out of Yosemite permanently is certainly not in my best interest. Not that spending the week in Santa Cruz and Monterey wouldn't have been worth it. So, instead I shelve my inspired idea for another time and start to pack. And Pack. And Pack. And Pack. I had managed to fit quite a bit in that little pack. It was also past midnight and I didn't have a light. However, if cursing could produce a light of its own I would have had 6 Million Candle Power at my disposal. It took a while to BLINDLY identify, and stow everything. My brother and his wife waited, but they were frustrated at how long I was taking. Rocquel would occassionally ask my brother what I was doing and of course he had no idea either. So after an eternity, for all of us, I was ready.

I picked up my three person tent by the top and plodded behind my brother and his wife. I was still mad and kept alternately talking and cursing in my OUTDOOR voice.

We got settled back down and went back to sleep.

We woke up early and went to get our breakfast back at the bins by the car. SURPRISE. A bear broke into our car. We did not have food. We did not have backpacks. We had followed the rules. I did have my suitcase in the back seat and our guess is that the bear thought it might be a backpack. It shattered the rear passenger side window, probably stuck it's head in to smell, didn't find anything, and moved on.

However, we now had a problem. After discussion, we reasoned that we really needed to get the window repaired. We also had to pick a trail and log a trip.

We poured over various trail maps of Yosemite. If you ever consider this, I urge you to take a few minutes and really LEARN how to read a topographical map. Elevation schmelevation right? WRONG. Think of it like having to climb UP and down the steps to the top of the SEARS tower, 10 times in one day. Carrying a heavy pack. With BEARS. And that is just the up and down part. You also have to cover a certain amount of horizontal distance too. Don't just guestimate that too...There is a huge quality of life factor between a 10mile hike and a 17 mile one. More on that little difference later.

The Valley in the Morning:

So we get to the Ranger Station, we log our bear incident, and we are still deliberating over the trail. We then packed up and headed to Fresno to get the window repaired. We sat outside the repair place in the sun and went over the trail maps. We finally decided on a trail in the Hetch Hetchy area. This is a resevoir that feeds the San Franciso area.

When the car was finally done, we barely made it to the Hetch Hetchy area in time to get in and log a trip.

The Ranger was very nice and informative. She explained the rules etc. I'm pretty sure she didn't say we were insane for attempting our little trip in just two days. Maybe we looked seasoned. We were certainly dirty and probably smelled since it was Wednesday late afternoon and we hadn't showered since early Tuesday morning.

She gave us an introduction to bears. She showed us which areas of our trip we were likely to encounter them. She explained how one area in particular had a bear that would come into camp and maybe try to get your food. The rangers had provided us with Bear Proof containers to put our food in. These were small black containers with indented slotted turnable thumb screws that unlocked the top. She explained that we needed to put the container, our backpacks, and anything that smelled like food 50 yards from our tents.

The Ranger went on to explain that when walking through the woods we should act dominant towards any bears we encounter. This didn't really sink in until later so I didn't get to ask how you do that. I still don't know. I just hoped I wouldn't have to figure it out.

The Ranger also said, with a bright cheery smile, that "bears are not normally a problem unless it has been a bad berry year, {pause} and it has been a bad berry year." Hmmm.

I still think she must have not heard us when we said we were going to start out Thursday and be back Friday.

Maybe she was hoping to create some excitement by having to go rescue half eaten crazed hikers. Dunno.

Still blissfully excited, we set camp in the backpacker camp site there and went down to the resevoir. Here is what greeted us:

And then that night:

We ate. We slept well.

Of course, I had no idea what the next day was really going to bring. There is something to the whole ignorance thing. If you knew all the challenges ahead of time, you might not want to make the journey.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Yosemite: Part 1

It started with a simple hike in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. It was June 2002.

First this view:

Then this view of Summit Lake in the Hoover Wilderness:

Looking at my maps I saw this bordered Yosemite National Park's eastern border. I was awestruck. I decided that I MUST hike through Yosemite some day. I obviously had no idea what a daunting task that is for someone that doesn't do any backpacking at all.

My brother called me two weeks later to tell me he had a skim contest in Southern California labor day weekend and another the week after in Santa Cruz. He and his wife were going to spend the week in Yosemite and asked if I wanted join them. After much thoughtless and careless consideration I quickly answered yes. I bought a plane ticket for LA the day after labor day. My son was going to stay with my parents for the week.

I started looking at my gear. It didn't take long, I didn't have any. I had a backpack. Not a backpacking pack, just a simple school type backpack (no frame, no support) with mount points on the top and bottom that I could strap a tent and sleeping bag to.
Here it is:

This backpack has been through a lot. We go lots of places together. In 1994 I broke a strap on it snowboarding in Norway. I still don't know how the T-bar hooked me after I let go, seeing as how it was in front of me, but it did. It jerked me off my feet backwards, like when a cartoon character has stretched the rubber band to it's limit. While I was in the air my only thought was "What the hell???" Then I hit the snow, was pulled up and over an ice wall and was being slung around for an undesired trip down the slope at the mercy of the t-bar. Just as I was about to unhook the backpack, the strap buckle broke. I tied it back together and tried really hard to pretend like that didn't just happen. I broke another strap when I was nearly impaled by a tree limb snowboarding in Vermot a year later.

I bought a sleeping bag. I bought a Camelback. I bought a raincoat. I think that was it. My brother said he had everything else. I did bring a change of clothes, socks, and a fleece as well. I also brought two 35mm cameras, an Advantix camera for panarama shots, and a tripod. They said my job was to take pictures, and that I did. My brother brought his video camera, and thank God he only got the more tame parts of trip.

I left Norfolk very early in the morning. I got to LA around 10 or 11am I think. My brother and his wife picked me up at LAX in their rental car and we headed for Yosemite.

We stopped in Fresno to get food and stuff. Trail mix.

We got to Yosemite late in the day. We had checked the web site and the hours and we had time. Well, something you should know about Yosemite, their hours change after Labor Day and that may or may not be readily apparent in their literature or their website.

We got to the Valley just a little too late. Everything was closing up and we would need to stay in the backpacker's campground and log a trip in the morning. I was just happy to be there, and blissfully ignorant about all that was about to transpire.

We got lectured about bears. Signs about bears everywhere. Don't leave food in your car. Put food and backpacks in the bear-proof containers. Really? In the main valley?

Here are the bear proof containers:

The blissfully ignorant explorers...well, at least I was, if the other two knew then they didn't do a good job explaining it to me:

And the view of half dome in the sunset:
(I know, Ansel Adams did a much better job, bear with me though, literally BEAR)

So we found a parking spot. We grabbed a bit to eat. We found the back packer campground, one of many mistakes along the way. Then we saw our first bear. It was twilight amidst the coniferous trees and the bear was walking about like it had just gotten home and was greeting all the new guests. Several people looked like they were either trying to get pictures or trying to shoo it away. Hmmm. This was the VALLEY. I surmised, the most visited area of the park. What else was in store for us. I felt very cavemanish as the only weapon I had was my voice and whatever armory of rocks was laying about. This was not to be our only encounter with the bears of Yosemite, nor would it be our closest.

After that excitement we went to bed.

Part two in a day or so. The next day started early. Way early. And it went way long. Surprisingly, most of it was not spent in Yosemite. Come back soon for the shattering next installment...