Spent our Yosemite departure day taking in the sights, including a cemetery not far from the lodge.
Also visited the ritzy Ahwahnee Hotel where huge, Xanadu-like, walk-in fireplaces warm the mountain air.
The Ahwahnee was built in the 1920s and designed to cater to the "affluent and influential traveler" according to a Yosemite history.*
That is, not us. Room rates start at around $500 a night.
The Ahwahnee Dining Room has a dress code: "Proper attire is kindly requested for dinner. Gentlemen are asked to wear collared shirts and long pants. Ladies are asked to wear dresses, skirts, or long pants and blouses. Children over the age of four are asked to dress accordingly."
We didn't stay for dinner.
Like many thoughts not held by the religious, there is no certainty as to the meaning of the word Ahwahnee. Some think it is a native word that means mouth, which fits the supposed grizzly roots of Yosemite.
Later, we took a shuttle bus to the Visitors Center where the emphasis is on the park's geology and the people who lived here for thousands of years before Europeans arrived.
A nearby theater screened a Ken Burns' film. It was an excellent overview of the park but full of completely inappropriate references to "spirit" and "god."
Yosemite's splendor couldn't be more natural.
Fond farewellAt 4:00 p.m. we boarded the bus out.
Ribbony cascades created by the steady rain fell from the walls.
Clouds swept over the tops and sides of the Mesa-like surroundings and made me think of the Smokey Mountains.
We began a long descent to the city of Merced.