Back to Reality

9 10 2007

We have returned from vacation. A great time was had by both parties involved. We went to Death Valley NP, Sequoia & Kings Canyon NP, Yosemite NP and Mojave National Monument. I really enjoyed being close to nature. Several things I pledge to remember for future holidays:

  • Don’t make assumptions about the climate. My husband now owns a very fancy jacket with a Sequoia Tree. It was 32 F in Sequoia & Kings Canyon.
  • Backpacks serve hikers well.
  • Hotels have swimming pools and saunas. In order to use them, a swimsuit is necessary and should be included during the packing ritual.
  • If you own binoculars you may want to use them when travelling to scenic areas.
  • Rent a 4 wheel drive vehicle in order to ensure that you can see the really cool stuff.

I purchased a small guidebook about Death Valley. As we drove through the park I was pointing out the flora and fauna to my husband. It struck me as extremely amusing that we were enjoying spotting native plants and animals. Am I a nerd or just an adult? I am often taken aback by “grown up” activities – like that I read the paper every day, that I have pets to care for, that I don’t have summer break any more.

We hiked up sand dunes in both Death Valley and Mojave. The sand dunes in Mojave are the 3rd largest in N America. They are “booming” sand dunes. If you run or slide down them they produce a loud booming noise.

In Yosemite we stayed at a famous hotel called the Wawona. Built in the late 1800s, it is designated a historical landmark. We stayed in Moore Cottage. It was quaint and the whole building had to share a water closet and shower. There were only nine rooms and we didn’t have to wait. The hotel tried to keep the ambiance true to the time period during which it was constructed. There was a pianist in the lobby area of the hotel. He played music from the early 1900s and there were sing alongs (which we did not participate in). The restaurant in Wawona was delicious. I had a pot roast that was absolutely wonderful. If this restaurant was in this area, I would definitely return.

We saw two bears in Yosemite! One of them was ambling around eating for quite a while. We also got very close to some mule deer in Sequoia, which reinforced my stance on hunting. We fed acorns to some ducks as we hiked around meadow in Sequoia. It was very serene. By the way, a m

The first day in Yosemite, we hiked to the top of Sentinel Dome, which provided an amazing 360 degree view including Half Dome. It was an absolutely amazing sight. We were fairly disappointed in the Yosemite Valley which is supposed to be the gem of the park. It was very crowded and touristy, but the let down came in the fact that the area is experiencing a drought. The famed Mirror Lake was dry. We walked into the middle of it. I had looked forward to seeing that area as many famous photos of Yosemite are taken there. This is not to say that I did not thoroughly enjoy Yosemite NP. I would advise friends to travel there in the spring. As the snow melts there are many waterfalls to see. The one we saw was a mere trickle. There was a lot more of the park to see and we really connected with nature on our hike to serene May lake under a mountain.

Sequoia NP is home to the world’s largest living thing – the General Grant Giant Sequoia Tree. The Giant Sequoias weight over a million pounds each! They have been growing for thousands of years. Only 1 in a million seeds germinate. The oddest thing is that the root system are approximately 5-6 feet deep. I can’t fathom how they don’t topple. The other part of the park – King’s Canyon was truly a hidden gem. It was very uncrowded and there were lots of great trails to hike on.

We went on a tour of Crystal Cave at Sequoia National Park. The tour guide mentioned that he was formerly an actor. Someone asked where we would know him from. He said that he was on Fraser for 4 years as David Hyde Pierce’s body double. I wonder how much that pays??!!

We returned to find that our cat has gotten both better and worse. She is no longer limping and has gotten back up to her welterweight of 6.0 lbs. BUT, she has a huge ulcer on her hind leg. I took her to the vet today and she has to wear a cone on her neck until next Wednesday when she will have another visit to the vet (did I ever mention how fun it is to take Irving to the vet? One must wear oven mitts to put her in the cage, because as soon as she sees it she goes nuts. And then she provides music during the car ride – like the screams of a small child.) It is likely a skin lesion irritated by constant licking, but could be cancerous – all caused by the vaccine. If it is not improved, the ulcer will be biopsied and surgically removed. Irving will be exempted from all future vaccines.

Irving looks so pathetic in her cone. It is made from paper (like a doctor’s scrubs) not from the hard plastic. She is trying to get it off. They gave her the smallest one and it still drags on the ground when she walks. She is very small – a perpetual kitten she has been called.

When she initially went to the vet, Irving had two vaccines – rabies and distemper. The vet is unsure as to which one caused the reaction. He has contacted both companies to ask for reimbursement. One of them sent me a packet in the mail to sign, stating they will send me a check once I agree to not sue them. The vet suggested that I wait to sign it. There will be more medical costs associated with the ulcer. We are quickly approaching the $800 mark.

I love my pets. I often wonder what I would have done if I couldn’t afford it. My cat would have just died from this vaccine reaction. Think good thoughts for my kitty please.

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