"I'm going to speak my mind because I have nothing to lose."--S.I. Hayakawa

Monday, July 2, 2012

The Yosemite Journals, Chapter Six

I started with carne asada on a Wednesday evening in Walnut Creek, California, and finished up with honey walnut chicken the following Wednesday evening, back in Walnut Creek. 

In between?  Oh, my goodness.  (Pun intended.)

I was visiting Yosemite National Park for the first time, but my friends go every year, and have since childhood.  This was car-camping—no need to worry about weight.  If it fits in the car, bring it.

Katy on KP

Folding chairs, self-standing two-burner stoves, tents high enough to stand in, two tent trailers, a sun shade/rain canopy, folding tables, porta-potties to avoid dark-of-the-night encounters with black bears that prowl the quiet campgrounds.

No, this inflatable couch was not ours.  It's in the next site.

Jammed safely into steel bear-proof boxes are the goodies for our seven days in the park.   Right off the bat, we learn the “easy light” charcoal briquettes aren’t so easy to light.  Eventually Norman coaxes fire and the first night we dine on teriyaki pineapple chicken sausage meatball kebobs, Spanish rice, and homemade blueberry pie.

Norman grilling over reluctant-to-light charcoal.

Coffee cake starts us off the next morning  Breakfasts to follow include potatoes/onions/scrambled eggs, cold cereal with blueberries, yogurt pancakes with sausage, and—for the last morning when we must break camp—Greek yogurt with granola and more fresh blueberries.

Picnic at Glacier Point.

Norman accessorizing a burrito. 

The cantaloupe was over-ripe, but it made a delicious salad with bacon and mint!

This pasta doesn't look like much, but it was delicious with sausage, scallions, cauliflower, and Parmesan cheese.

Ice cream bars around the campfire.

Burgers.  Big ones.  Delicious.

You probably didn’t notice that I listed only five breakfasts for six mornings.  That’s because on Sunday the 17th, Father’s Day, we went to the historic Ahwahnee Hotel for its famous brunch.

The Ahwahnee Lodge.

The Ahwahnee, built in 1927, the rustic Indian-themed lodge incorporates 5,000 tons of rock.  The huge dining room has floor-to ceiling windows and log rafters.  Indian rugs from the original days are displayed in glass-fronted frames attached to walls.  The great room has fireplaces large enough to set up housekeeping in.

But back to the buffet.  It has everything you would expect—from New Zealand green-lipped mussels to artfully crafted desserts.  In between are an egg station, a carving board with rare prime rib and a whole country ham, shrimp, fruits, hash browns, eggs Benedict, sausage and bacon, and on and on.

Rare prime rib, fruit, sausage, bacon, shrimp, eggs Benedict, and hash browns in the center.  And that wonderful strawberry.  Did I show restraint, or what?

I plucked a chocolate-covered strawberry from a tray as I exited the buffet line.  Later on, I peeled the chocolate off and savored every sweet morsel of that wonderful strawberry. The best I have ever eaten.

My dessert plate: a lime tart, chocolate covered strawberry, and creme brulee.

Inside the Ahwahnee.

A corner of the mural room.

A simple cement stairway is made gorgeous with stonework.

My pals waiting in the great room of the Ahwahnee for our reservation time.

The dining room in the Ahwahnee.

The dining room from the other end.

Walking a mile or so back to camp after brunch at the Ahwanee Hotel.


  1. ONE QUESTION: why oh WHY did you pick the chocolate off'n the strawberry? The obviously DARK chocolate!?

  2. The strawberry was superb....and dark chocolate isn't a favorite.

  3. The Awahnee is fabulous, inside and out. These grand old park lodges are really something.

    Your "roughing it" (ha) camp meals sound (and look) great. I would love to have been hanging out around the fire with you and your buddies after dinner with an ice cream bar. Life is sweet, clearly.