Open Roads

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My brother Ted is retired, and he and his wife have invited us to housesit several times. It’s a tough job, because they live about forty miles from one of the main entrances to Yosemite National Park.

The first time my husband and I made the trip there, we were all wide-eyed and open-mouthed at the pure wonder of driving down into Yosemite Valley for the very first time. We’d seen plenty of beautiful mountains before, including the majestic Zugspitze in Germany, but this was something else. I took somewhere in the range of 400 photos that first day, and returned the next day for more. But we were disappointed to learn that Tioga Road, which takes visitors up to an elevation of 9,943 feet, was closed until further notice, thanks to a heavy snowfall.

I’d hoped to capture the backside of Yosemite Valley from up above, and see Tuolumne Meadow, which I’d ogled in other photographer’s images. But it wasn’t meant to be.

On our second visit to housesit, we experienced a different kind of closure. We awoke in the wee hours of our second night there to two feet of freshly fallen snow, plus several downed trees on the property. One of the pines at the end of my brother’s long driveway had crashed across the driveway, its treetop reaching all the way across the road out front. The pure beauty of the snow was breathtaking, but for the next couple of days we waited for a road crew to clear the mess, and for the power company’s crew to restore electricity.

But, whaddayaknow…our third housesitting adventure hit the mark. Tioga Road was open, and we had an entire day to explore the gorgeous sites high above Yosemite Valley, where sheer granite cliffs brush alpine lakes and meadows. The road opened for just a small window of time before snowfall closed it again. We were at the right place at the right time–finally!

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Nothing is worth more than this day.” -Goethe

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