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  • Our first day in Yosemite, my twenty-something daughter and I set out on our first hike. Destination, Bridal Veil Falls. Skipping the park shuttle, we instead, hiked from camp--a five mile hike--not to shabby. We had come to hike, and hike we would! The return trip would be via the park shuttle.

    We set forth, with a lightness to our steps, taking in the unimaginable beauty of Yosemite; Back-dropped by clear blue skies, El Cap and Half Dome were stunning, and we wondered at the cliffclimbers that appeared as small dots on the cliff faces. Great Redwoods towered over our heads, their dappled shade protecting us from the heat of the day. Or pace was leisurely, as we clambered on top of boulders and fallen trees for photo-ops, and rested with snack breaks of granola bars and fruit, while entertained by the trail-wise chipmunks that boldly ate from our hands.

    I watched as my daughter climbed about the boulders at the base of Bridal Veil Falls; in September the falls are but a trickle compared to their spring and summer volume. We hiked the half-mile back to the trail head, only to discover we had missed the last shuttle. The day had turned hot; our mouths were dry, the water bottles empty and our moods were dour. In hopes of intersecting another shuttle we abandoned the trail to follow alongside the main road. Motorcycles, cars, SUV's, trailer homes, and trucks swooshed past as we navigated the uneven ground; our custom-fit-at-REI hiking boots had created custom-fit-blisters as our earlier energy waned into a dispirited shuffle.

    I mean, our feet really hurt! And we were so thirsty.

    I struck out my thumb.

    No one stopped.

    Much, much later, after restorative hot showers, a good meal in our tummies, and our blistered feet bandaged from our now totaled 9 mile journey, we sat, relaxed by the campfire.

    "Does it get any better than this?" I said softly, transfixed by the crackle of flame lit logs.

    My daughter replied in a hushed tone, as she too gazed into the licking flames, "This was definitely an awesome, shitty day.”
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