Woke up in the 5 am hour, made coffee, packed and practiced making video narrations of my journey. It’s harder than you think. I was trying to get everything right in one take, and, well, didn’t succeed too well. After about an hour of practicing, Mr. Tummy decided he wanted a breakfast burrito at Tehachapi. I left the Executive Inn at 8 am.

Tehachapi is on the other side of the Tehachapi Pass. This pass is the southernmost paved one of the Sierra Nevada mountains, though this pass reaches only 4000′, and others like the Tioga reach almost 10,000′. Tehachapi sits just west of the pass, and is remarkably cooler than Mojave because of its elevation.

There are many windmills between Mojave and Tehachapi. The windmills are capturing the wind created by the temperature differential between the hotter (and browner) east side of the Sierras and the cooler (and greener) east side. The Sierras are a tremendous divide of temperature, rainfall, greenery and more.

But Mr. Tummy just wanted his burrito. So I headed to the historic downtown, and saw that it was as corporatized as Starbucks. I was looking forward to a less renovated area with patina that, surely, would have on old-looking building serving one of the greatest inventions of all mankind. Nope. So I ate some of my chorizo from my food bin to kill the hangriness.

A little over on hour down the road I was at Bakersfield. It’s not the handsomest city on earth. Neither was the McDonald’s I stopped at for a sausage, egg and cheese biscuit. Neither was the man inside that McDonald’s who was dressed like a woman, and was giving me the eye. I know someone as demented as that I should pray for, but still, the circumstances were beyond repulsive, so I ignored him, and left.

Continued on. There was terrible smog all throughout this portion of the Central Valley. You could barely see the Sierras to the east of CH 99. I thought of John Muir, and how he tended sheep for an Irishman around here in 1869.

Got to Fresno. Tried to think how many times I’ve passed through this town… 3? 4?

Got on 41 to Oakhurst, which is where I stayed when I first visited Yosemite in 2019. Though this part of California is pretty – they call it the “foothills” (of the Sierras) – because of the golden hill studded with oaks and pines, the roads here are windy. I hate windy roads. 49 to Mariposa wasn’t any better. 140 to my campsite wasn’t either. But, got to my campsite at Indian Flat at 3, and set up camp, and decided to go into the park.

My oh my. The clouds were creating beautiful contrast on the Yosemite Valley from the Tunnel View. Got like 50 photos there and shared one on Facebook.

Went into the Valley to scope out where to park for my intended hike along 4-mile trail in the morning. Found the spots.

Got some close up shots of Bridal Vail falls.

Walked on the Merced River – the river that is at the bottom of the Yosemite Valley that all the enormous waterfalls flow into. It’s enchanting scenery. Any season here would be beautiful. Winterscapes would be as happy as summerscapes – and I’d rather live there in winter when it’s not chock full of people and traffic.

What most struck me were the enormity of the trees. Lots of old growth trees hundreds (and some are certainly thousands) still live in the Valley for the lack of logging. Ponderosas, firs and cedars hundreds of years old were everywhere… no sequoias in the Valley though.

Beheld the Yosemite Falls from the Swinging Bridge. They fall over 2,000′. They are the 5th tallest waterfalls on earth.

I called my mother. Told her where I was. Told her I still plan to visit here in the Empire State in this summer.

It was now 7 pm. Headed back to camp. Fell asleep by 9. Good day.