Since we went to so many of the same locations at the same time of year as last year, I expected a lot of this year's photographs to be indistinguishable from last year's. But I've found them to be more different than I had expected.
The professor always reserves far fewer campsites than the number of students enrolled, because most of the young students like to squeeze half a dozen tents into the same campsite together. Susan and I were able to get a campsite to ourselves last year at Yosemite and again at Point Reyes last spring, but on this year's Yosemite trip we were at first forced to share a campsite with a brother ans sister from Bangladesh. They had bumper stickers on their car that said "Would you be following Jesus this close?" and "Going the wrong way? God allows U-turns." The sister wore a T-shirt with the words "Addicted to Jesus." We were slightly disturbed by all this. We ended up carpooling with them the whole trip though, and they were nice enough passengers. Best of all, the professor reserved additional campsites for the second day and night, and chose one that was far away from all the others because she knows we prefer the privacy of a site a little separated from the rest of the group. We moved our tent to the new campsite and had it all to ourselves, which pleased us very much.
Anyway, on to the guided tour! We started at Inspiration Point Overlook, just like last year. I posed in front of it.
Then we hiked to Sentinel Dome. Last year this hike wasn't until quite a bit later.
The hike was just as exhausting (and the air just as thin) as last year, but eventually we reached the top.
We had a great view of the Three Brothers and El Capitan.
And Half Dome.
And all the rest of the gorgeous rocks that Yosemite is famous for.
Here are some of our classmates enjoying the view.
There was a golden-mantled ground squirrel at the top.
Next we went to Glacier Point, which provided still more spectacular views.
Here is Half Dome from Glacier Point.
Susan and I each posed for the camera at Glacier Point, just like last year.
Then we went back down to Yosemite Valley to see the Merced River. This is the stop that turned out to be blocked off by road construction, so the professor substituted a different spot along the Merced River in the valley instead. This year's spot seemed to have finer sand and fewer pebbles than last year's spot.
But it was almost as directly below El Capitan as last year's spot.
That was our last stop Saturday. There was a class pot luck Saturday evening, which we (read: Susan, because she did all the cooking) contributed food to but didn't really eat dinner at, because Susan wasn't in the mood to be surrounded by college kids, and I'm never really in the mood to be surrounded by people of any sort. Susan made deviled eggs and rice pilaf, both of which were absolutely delicious.
On Sunday morning we hiked to the bridge below Vernal Falls. Here is the Merced River at the start of the hike.
And Susan sitting on a rock wall overlooking it.
We saw a lizard along the trail.
And here is Vernal Falls from the bridge.
Our classmates crowded around, both on top of the bridge and below it. We stayed here for quite a while.
Here I am under the bridge.
Eventually we returned down the trail to where we had begun. Here's the Merced River at the beginning of the trail again, looking a particularly stunning emerald green.
At the very, very end of the hike, we saw a bobcat. We didn't get very good pictures of it, but it's much rarer to see bobcats in Yosemite than to see bears.