Down in the Valley

Looking Across the Yosemite Valley at Half Dome, From Above Columbia Rock

Looking Across the Yosemite Valley at Half Dome, From Above Columbia Rock

Down in the valley, the valley so low
Hang your head over, hear the wind blow
Hear the wind blow, dear, hear the wind blow;
Hang your head over, hear the wind blow.

It was particularly windy last night, but today was just one of those blah kind of days. Work was an obstacle course. Every time I managed to work myself around one obstacle another one would rear up and sit there implacably in my path. At four of four I gave up for the day.

There was some excitement earlier in the day, courtesy of the National Weather Service (NWS). A winter storm watch was issued for Thursday, what the Weather Channel calls “Q”. This winter the Weather Channel has come up with a sequence of cutely named winter storms, similar in concept to the NWS named tropical storms. Needless to say, the NWS is not amused. Q is a perfect example of the cuteness involved with these storm names. As any James Bond aficionado could tell you, Q, played by Dame Judi Dench is his boss. The cuteness comes in when the Weather Channel claims that they are not referring to a copyrighted character, but to the letter of the alphabet.

Our initial forecast for Q was for 12″ of snow. All my office co-workers were in a twitter anticipating the prospect of a snow day. Later the initial forecast was downgraded to only 6″ and then finally only sleet. What can you do with sleet? It makes for terrible sledding. It always reminds me of the artificial ‘snow’ that ‘Mount’ Brighton use to feature, at the end of my downhill skiing career, many years ago. At this rate, Q will dwindle to only rain and Saint Louis will find itself only being drenched by Dench.

To make matters worse, I realized today, I missed Karen’s birthday yesterday. Happy [belated] Birthday, Karen!

So today since I’m feeling a little down in the valley, let me reach back to last summer, to our Yosemite visit. On our last day in the park, we, Anne, Dan, Dave and I hiked up to a point between the upper and lower Yosemite falls. Trolling through my photo archives, I came upon this unpublished view across the valley floor to Half Dome. To go with this new picture, I’ll dredge up the following story of this hike. 

I felt old and creaky the day after our hike up the mountain. My feet hurt from all of the rough terrain that we traveled. When we set off, the boys took off up the mountain. We only saw them again when we reached our summit. When I say our summit, I don’t mean the summit. We only made it as far as Columbia Rock and then the lower fall’s overlook, but that is all we had time for. The full trail runs three miles and climbs 2000 feet. We only did half that, but it was enough for me. Near our summit, a crew was working on the trail. I wise-cracked, “You’ve got one heck of a commute.” To which one of them responded, “Yeah, but when I go on vacation, I can spend forty hours in a cube.” My only reply was, “Touché!”

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