SIERRA NEVADA ADVENTURE

Simon with Half-Dome behind him.

Simon with Half-Dome behind him.

 

Day Four Afternoon

Previously: Simon, his 88-year-old brother, Thayer, and two children, Chris and Robin, drive into the northern Sierra Nevada Mountains to hike. After Thayer has a bout of dehydration, they instead drive into Yosemite.

12:30 We hit the Yosemite National Park. Wow!

2:50 In the village, we make another potty break.

1:15 We take our final pictures of Half Dome and El Capitan. Such majesty is virtually impossible to document in its pristine beauty. The experience will live on in our memories. 2:00 We start our final leg: taking Thayer back to his apartment in Berkeley, California. 4:00 We stop near Escalon, in California’s central valley at one of the many roadside fresh fruit stands and buy some ripe fruit for Thayer. (It is so much better than what he can get in the local Berkeley markets.)

Before we can get back on the road … Bong, bong, bong! I forgot to put on my seat belt again!

We drive past a long line of wind turbines that now grace the tops of the golden California hills. On some, the turbines are clumped together like gangs of white giants, tilting in the wind. 5:00 Traffic on California Highway 580 comes to a slow walk! What’s that up ahead? Is that smoke? Now what? Is there a forest fire on the other side of the hills? Grass fire? What?

Two hills later, one of my questions is answered: it is a grass fire. Several fire trucks are off on our side of the highway, with a regiment of firefighters pulling hoses and putting out the burning grass.

Staying as far to the left as possible, we pass the trucks and see the cause of the fire. A totally burned-out car sets on the ground, tires gone.

Simon Stargazer (Nov. 15) says, “Those poor folks… they must have lost everything they had with them!”

Grass fire scene

Grass fire scene

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