A lot of this trip has been about the gap between experience and perception as well, albeit in a different way. Mostly my itinerary has been worked out by looking at the map and saying, okay, there, then there, then there (this even goes for some of the bike rides I have been on; today's was about ten miles longer than I expected it to be). I had very little idea of what these places would be like, even if I had seen pictures of some of them. So there was the experience of driving through the terrain that is on the map, and also the experience of being a little more integrated into the landscape than you can be in a car, when I went riding or hiking. Even then I was thinking of the difference between visiting a landscape, inhabiting it temporarily, and becoming familiar with it, living with it - a number of times I found myself comparing places I saw with Tassajara, as that has been my defining experience of living both in the mountains and in the midst of wilderness. This didn't stop me from having any number of wonderful moments on the trip, but they came with the knowledge of their fleeting nature, and were also usually accompanied by the desire to take a photograph to show how beautiful it actually had been - it was interesting just to watch the sun set from the warm pool last night and tonight with no access to my camera; I just let it come and go.
This has probably all been an excuse for another batch of pictures...
|The snowy first day in Yosemite|
|Classic Yosemite Valley view from the Inspiration Point trail|
|King's Canyon, evening light|
|The start of Highway 190 into Death Valley|
|Sunset at the Mesquite Dunes|
|A bike ride before sunrise in Death Valley|
|Ditto, the next day|
|Artists' Drive, Death Valley|
|Wild Rose Canyon, Death Valley|
|View from near Wild Rose Peak, Death Valley|
|The road to an undeveloped hot springs in the woods near Bridgeport|
|The north end of the Sierras from Highway 395|