This summer started with the Santa Cruz Mountains burning in 4 different places. It seemed like an ominous beginning to my first summer without specific plans since before I started high school.
This summer I have chosen not to work nor to vacation internationally, mainly because of the dominating costs and my want to spend more time with Meghan, my friends and my family. I realize that it is a luxury, as a teacher to have this much time to play around with, but I think and hope that it will increase my happiness quotient. (random fact: The country of Bhutan actually measures its GNH Gross National Happiness)
I did begin working on the farm that works with the Santa Cruz Homeless Garden Project, but I will write more about after I spend more time there. Along with this vacationing, I hope to get involved with my community
The first week was surprisingly difficult as I discovered that Newtons first law (an object in motion remains in motion unless acted upon by an equal and opposite force) applies to teachers and summer break. I had no idea what to do with all of my time. I wanted to relax but found myself unable to. So, I got together with my old high school buddy, Dominick and decided that we should go backpacking in Yosemite.
And being the privileged vacation-prone people that we are we did it. We spent 3 days in and around Yosemite's Tuolumne meadows. Over 3 days we hiked about 25 miles from an elevation of 8,000 ft to an elevation of 11,000 feet. The trails we hiked on were just thawing from their winter hibernation... meaning that they were muddy, snow covered and extremely mosquito-ridden in some places.
We saw Marmots, Prairie dogs, White tail deer, bear scat, wild rivers and streams, frozen lakes, alpine tundra, and boy scouts. It was a wonderful experience and it left both of us wanting to stay longer.
I am sure it wont be my only backpacking trip this summer, but it sure was an amazing one to start with. Dom had to be back to continue his job search, and i had to return for my next adventure: The Kate Wolf Music Festival and my bike ride down the California coast. But more of that to come. Until then here are some backpacking pictures and a link to where you can see more.