Day 11: 2nd June 2011. Up at 5:55am. Into the wilderness we go in the footsteps of Ansell Adams.
Walter the bus driver makes us feel like American pensioners with his laconic homely wit at the microphone. He explains that the 14 hours includes one hour at burger stops, 9 on the road, and only 3 hours actually in Yosemite! He meditates aloud, untiringly on water, culture, geology, stories and history. We pass mile-long freight trains, firemen at a burned out truck, a 440 mile aqua-duct routing water to L.A. and learn that Yosemite is an Indian word meaning “Killer of men” (grizzly bear). Things get stressful when Steve spills Mary’s coffee on his seat, and we’re subjected to American commercial radio, but don’t worry, we’re fine. The Sierra Nevada includes a 20 million year old uplift, still rising, and remodelled by glaciers over past millennia. We approach over wide straw-coloured grass plains. There is no disappointment in the valley. The mountains appear to rise up suddenly around us; we can literally and truly use expressions like ‘unique beauty’. We patiently sit out the bus-hours home. It was worth it.