October 25, 2004

Mother May I?

This beautiful bit o' nature is Lake May, in Yosemite. The day we went was absolutely gorgeous, just the right temperature (for me - I like it cool), and at a high enough elevation that the smoke didn't affect it. And because it was a weekday, there were very few people there, which is always great.

Though it's only 1.2 miles from the parking lot, it wasn't the easiest hike ever up there for me, although this overview makes it sound as though it should have been. Remember the aforementioned allergies? Well, they can result in allergy-induced asthma and this was one of those days. The fact that we were already at 8,800+ feet and climbing to 9,300+ feet just might have had something to do with it, but I had a helluva time catching my breath. I'm no athlete, but in the past that trail would have been a piece of cake. This time it was walk, walk, stop to catch breath, walk, walk, walk, stop to catch breath, repeat for another mile.

Leaving my inhaler in the car might not have been the brightest move, but I didn't push hard enough to get in distress and the inhaler can make me jittery (which isn't conducive to relaxing in nature, you know?), so in the end it wasn't a problem. I did feel a little silly when a group of septuagenarian ladies passed by me in one of my "catching my breath" moments and looked at me like they were afraid I was going to beat them to the great trail in the sky. (Actually, I think they were more afraid that if I did keel over, they might have to be the ones to cart me back down.)

But I made it up there, snail's pace and all, and it was so lovely that it was worth it. Surprisingly, very little was visible in terms of wildlife. The dense pines made it difficult to see the songbirds I could hear, and the one duck (I think) that I spotted on the water was on the other side of the lake from me. I could hear fish plopping back into the water after coming up to catch bugs, but I never got a good look at one -- they pretty much stick to the deeper waters, and by the time you turn your head in response to the "plop," they're gone. Apart from a chipmunk or two, that was it.

Tomorrow's episode, wrapping up this less-than-whirlwind tour: Not a Ghost of a Chance.