it's taken me five years of living in san francisco, but i finally made it to yosemite; and for a pretty magical weekend. it was far more beautiful than i imagined, and in this way that makes a person feel really small and expansive at the same time. maybe you know what i mean.

these first pictures are of the tiny waterfall oasis ronny and matt found before we all arrived at the camp.

babble babble...


where's waldo. except it's matt.

ronny being cute.

back at camp, the rest of the gang started to filter in around 5 o'clock. it's a hell of a drive from the city through some very interesting little towns. for example, i passed a cactus shop in manteca that i'm sure was called "pooty's cactus". oh, little california cities. so cute. so strange. the longest part of the drive doesn't begin until until you hit yosemite national park itself. it's exciting to actually get there, but then it's miles and hours of switchbacks and altitude adjustment before you're anywhere near a stopping point. pretty treacherous, but i'm a very courageous driver. ;)

friend love.

the boys found (fake) weapons in the woods. here they are hunting (real) bears...

andrew... sort of like peter and the wolf.

taylor's an authentic idahoan.

much fun was had in the evening, and the last of our crew arrived at around 2 AM after we'd crashed. i'm sure i thought they were bears when i heard them moving around outside, but i didn't dare open my tent. the next day all of us were there and we hiked to elizabeth lake. yosemite is huge. so huge. so we had to drive a few miles to the trailhead to start the long walk up to the water. there was a grade increase of 800 feet over the course of two miles. someone did the math, but regardless of the percentage, that was a steep climb. the endup was worth it though. the lake was beautiful and the trail itself was all sun and shadow and dancing trees.

five o'clock shadow.

see? dancing trees.

i swear this chipmunk was posing for me.

sweet sugar pines.

when we arrived at the lake, i think we were all a little awestruck. the sun was still just peeking from behind the mountain that rose out of the water. everything was clear and bright and so, so quiet. so silent that when i bit into an apple at the bank, the sound of breaking skin echoed all over.

the majesty was broken when josh decided that the giant boulder off-center in the water was reachable...

the pictures get even funnier.

they made it to the rock...
but then had to somehow get back...

which was slippery...


and pretty hilarious.

the next day was warm and golden; possibly warm and golden enough to cause heatstroke. we packed up camp and set out to find half dome. i got a good shot of it from the road, but we ended up sitting around a little brook under some other dome. or maybe it was half dome. no idea. it was all pretty beautiful though.

this is half dome from the road. take that, ansel adams.

is that you half dome?

i think so.

i'm not so sure...

is sepia more convincing?

my best look of wonder.

more sepia.

trying to take a picture of myself and the pebble rocks and failing a little.

matt can juggle! who knew?


this guy was hanging out with a doe and two little baby deer.

she kept moving between me and her fawns as though she knew i was trying
to get a picture of her kids. at least she didn't get all bjork on me about it.

the sun was gone shortly after that, and we started the long drive home. that was an adventure in itself, complete with highway closures and el pollo loco.

goodnight, yosemite.

incidentally, there's no such thing as bear repellent, and the "spray" the guy at sports basement talked me out of was just bear-sized mace. eh.

also, if you want to hike half dome, you've got to sign up six months in advance and obtain a waiver. in addition, you'll need to put aside two days. i'm telling you because no one told me, and i rolled into there thinking hiking that thing was an option. next summer for sure.



secluded river.

this labor day weekend was a love-filled adventure, but i can't tell you where i was. after all, i didn't hike three miles barefoot, high along jagged shale cliffs in nothing but a bikini so everyone and their friends could find our secret spot. the trek along the river was beautiful but brutal. there were parts that seemed inaccessible, where i cut and burned my naked feet on the dry rocks, and slipped all over the submerged ones where we crossed the rapids. we braved water snakes and bear poop and hiked for what seemed like hours before the spot unfolded before us just as the elements had us dripping with sweat and sunbaked. it's deep into the river bends, with one bank high and bald from routine wildfires and the other lush and green with sugar pines and oaks all green in the summery california light. there are huge slate rocks paired with deep, blue water; perfect for cannonballs, and clear all the way down to the pebbled bottom. we'll go back, i'm sure. but it's never like the first time again, is it? here are some pictures i took on the way there, but shhh.

slate and shale.


ariana and i taking in the sun.

olive after a day of mountain-goating and swimming.

a few of my favorite people (halfway there!)