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Caspar 25 September 2014

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Sienna & Michael do the Southwest

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Sienna and I have been dreaming for years about another canoe trip down the Green River through Stillwater Canyon in Canyonlands National Park, near Moab, Utah — her fourth, my second. One obstacle, apart from the many days it would take out of what passes for our "normal lives": three thousand plus miles of fascinating territory. Couldn't we take a few extra days and visit some (maybe most) of the National Parks that enrich that region. 

About two years ago, we decided to schedule the trip at a then-inconceivably distant future time, early Fall 2014. When 2014 rolled around, we realized we needed to get our plans in order ... and why not visit some National Parks on our way?

Why not, indeed! So, on September 25th, we launched ourselves southeastward, with California's favorite National Park, Yosemite, as our first stop.

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<p>Iconic "Tunnel View" of Yosemite Valley</p>

Iconic "Tunnel View" of Yosemite Valley

The less said about the trip from Caspar to Yosemite, the better. 

We arrived just as the light was failing at our reserved campsite – if you want to camp in the Valley, reserve at least 11.9 months ahead! – above the main Yosemite attractions at the start of the Tioga Pass road. It promised to be cold, and lived up to the promise, establishing that at least one of us (me) wasn't ready for autumnal camping. But we persevered, cooked the first of many delicious camp dinners, and set out the next day to see Yosemite Valle's sites.

After a quick ride through the Glacier Point-bound tunnel and back for the view, we headed to Happy Isles and the hike up beside the Merced River to Vernal Falls. The falls – all the falls – are thin or gone due to California's drought, but the hike is a worthy one. 

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<p>Vernal Falls; The last pitch to the top; the view down river from the top</p>

Vernal Falls; The last pitch to the top; the view down river from the top

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Back to our cold camp and another delicious dinner and shivery night, and then onward...

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