I spent the summer of 2011 working for the U.S. National Park Service in Yosemite. It was one of the best jobs I’ve ever had. I was doing legal work—public land use and government contracts. My job was usually a 9-5 day during the week, but my schedule was flexible and the days were long, so I had plenty of time to explore the park. The Park Service set me up a two-bedroom house in the employee village below Yosemite Falls.
One of the most popular winter activities in Yosemite National Park is skiing or snowshoeing Glacier Point Road. The road is closed to cars in winter beyond the Badger Pass Ski Resort, but most of the road is groomed, making the 10.3 mile road a relatively easy ski route. The reward is a spectacular view of Yosemite Valley.
Yosemite Valley from Highway 49 We drove to Yosemite on a Saturday morning.
At the end of June during the summer of 2008, I left for Yosemite with a group of Stanford Outdoors leaders. Our goal was to watch the sun rise from the top Half Dome.
We left campus late on a Friday afternoon. The drive was relatively painless; there was no traffic, but we were hampered by thick smoke from the forest fires burning in hundreds of locations across the state and endless stories about pet hermit crabs.
I gunned the Highlander down Miner Road and smiled to myself as I noticed that the stoplight at the intersection with Camino Pablo was already green. A few minutes later I turned into the Orinda Safeway. As the three rucksacks in the back of the car testified, I was on my way to go backpacking with two of my best friends.
Kayleigh and Kelsey on the trail We strode boldly into the grocery store and began to select the food that would sustain us for the next few days.