There’s a favorite in every family. In mine, it’s not me.
This isn’t breaking news, but as we all grow older it never ceases to amaze me how little care is taken to hide that fact from me. Great pains are taken to make excuses and offer implausible explanations for many of my brother’s ridiculous statements and actions while any and all helpful information from me is rejected out of hand. When he expresses a desire to do any hike or other activity in the park, an entire day’s plan is quickly rearranged to accommodate it. When I mention that I’d like to be at a certain overlook for sunset (and that, because I’ve done this before, I can fit it and everything else into the schedule), I’m told that I’m obnoxiously over-planning everything and that I need to compromise so that others can be happy.
Couple this with the fact that no one ever seems to be listening to anyone else and that everything needs to be explained on at least three different occasions, and the fact that we only have one car, and I’m already at my wit’s end, just a day and a half into this mission.
It all boiled over this afternoon. My brother, thinking himself in perfect physical condition and capable of anything (for the record, he has two severely ruptured discs that have already been surgically repaired and he smokes), insisted that he can do the 12-mile climb up Eagle Peak in Yosemite tomorrow, alone. I pointed out that that plan was completely insane – even if he could complete the hike, it would take longer than we have at Yosemite tomorrow, and hiking alone in that park – especially on a trail chosen specifically because it’s so lightly traveled – is, without much hyperbole, a suicide mission. If he wanted to do a long-range hike without seeing too many people, I said, he should just do the Appalachian Trail. This caused the Yosemite guide book to fly across the room towards me. The matriarch of the clan had no reaction. Upon alerting her to this fact, I was scolded.
That was the last straw.
I was done with these people. I wasn’t going to have dinner with them, I wasn’t going to speak to them. I had warned them that if this continued I would become extremely unpleasant to be around, so I felt no obligation to act remotely pleasant around them. In fact, I felt more than entitled to be furious with the way I’d been subjugated and shoved aside, and I said so.
Yet somehow I was dragged to the dinner BBQ, where the entertainment was lacking, food was more or less adequate, and company nauseating. Despite telling them that I wasn’t hungry before leaving, when asked why I wasn’t eating more I repeated that I wasn’t hungry (which was completely true. I ate 4 ribs for dinner). When asked why I wasn’t eating the watermelon brought for everyone, I had to explain for a third time that I did not want to eat anything. I’m not sure if it was a case of not listening, not caring, or (probably) both.
Even though that was certainly what I’ll remember from today, I did some other things too that probably warrant a mention, only because I have some good pictures of them to share. I got reacquainted with some rather large trees.
I climbed Moro Rock, which provided a slightly clearer view than my last visit did.
And I toured Crystal Cave.
After dark, I decided that if I would need to “compromise” just about everything I wanted to do or see in Yosemite, I needed to take advantage of the dark sky sites here to see the Milky Way. Although no one else in the party had ever seen it in person, all decided that 9:30 was too late to go out and try something like that (or maybe they decided that 9:30 was too late to do so with me).
So with an “If I’m not back by 11, call the front desk to look for me,” I was out the door. The plan was to head to either Moro or Beetle Rock, since both have a broad southwestern exposure. Well, that was the plan at least. As usual I found myself in a pitch black forest with the sounds of chirping, howling, and branches snapping all around me. There was no question: Something out there was watching, slowly encroaching, and would soon be eating me. Screw Beetle Rock, the parking lot was sounding just fine to me at this point. Still, to scare away all the bears lying in wait I took to loudly marching in place while the camera did its thing. But even that couldn’t keep the terror at bay. So I found a good composition with a group of sequoias reaching up towards the stars, repositioned the tripod between the open driver’s seat door and the car, and I proceeded to take a set of pictures while sitting in the car. At the slightest sign of glowing eyes in the distance, I could throw the tripod inside, slam the door, and peel out. Fortunately, I escaped with both my life and these pictures:
But when I got back to the lodge, I was immediately reminded who was traveling with me. Instead of waiting to see if I managed to get back, at just 10:50, all three were already fast asleep.