Monday, May 19, 2014

24 Hours: Michael Jackson, Yosemite and the Edge of Death

My comments: BLACK
Kent's Comments: RED

Pepperdine Bible Lectures, a yearly pilgrimage to the stunning Pepperdine campus in Malibu, California with hopes of seeing movie stars, gorging yourself on seafood, soaking up some sun, connecting with old friends...oh yeah, and attending great classes by a variety of gifted Church of Christ presenters, ended with just enough time for Kent Rogers (a.k.a Gigantor) (don't fail to mention your a.k.a., Tiny!) and I to take a mach 3 trip to Yosemite! Oh, we did!

And when I say Mach 3, I'm not kidding (this video is in real time). You know the saying, "Believe nothing what you hear, and only half of what you see"?  Two words: Editing trickery! By the way, Mary Beth, I'm not the one driving! I'm in fervent prayer, clutching the sole handrail and on the verge of blowing dollar hotdogs all over Kent's rental. True statement. Are people supposed to be that pale?

I told myself a year ago, "If you have a chance to see...GO! Go see, experience, explore...even if it is only for a few hours. You never know when you will die." I said that to myself, perhaps aloud. That's just weird.  Five hours to Yosemite and so 24-hours is all I would need. Well, there was one more thing... a certain someone willing to make this crazy dash with me! I knew the guy, JKR.

He agreed under one condition, that we make a stop at Neverland Ranch! Yes, the home of Michael Jackson, not simply a gate to his former residence but a mecca for children of the 80's! Instead of a moment of silence, we performed a few spontaneous moves in his honor (Spontaneous, yet well rehearsed for many adolescent years in front of bedroom mirrors). You have no proof.  Ow!

On the light post next to our heads we added our initials to the hundreds of other MJ fans from Europe to Brazil, proof we were there, somehow linking our moonwalk attempts (Attempts? Come on, we were smooth criminals) with countless others.

We rolled into the southern part of Yosemite around 6:30 the last camping site available in the whole park, one I had reserved two months ago. Some might say I lucked out. I call it divine intervention! Our campsite was perfect...this river lulled us to sleep in a perfect 50 degree night!  It was indeed an amazing spot.  Mind you, separate and apart from, sleeping arrangements! "Lulled us to sleep" sounded a little iffy.

Our tent was perfect...well, at least it was perfect for me. Like I've told Kent 100 times, "It sucks to be tall!"  3-man tent?!? Lie!  3-Hobbit tent maybe!  Which makes sense that this is CT's favorite camping coverage, and also conveniently explains his a.k.a (see above).

Our dinner was perfect...well, okay it wasn't bad for $1.00 hotdogs. Actually 8 for $1, BBQ chips, Peanut Butter, Jelly, hotdog buns, (oh, the peanut butter & jelly hotdogs were delicious...really) vanilla wafers, can-o-chili (of course, half of it fell into the fire & ash...but still edible), fresh California Cherries (and strawberries) purchased on the side of the highway, and a goody bag from Kent's cousin.


Oh yeah! And we had 4 chicken nuggets Kent purchased in order to procure plastic ware: Fried-grilled Chicken McNuggets. Mmmm-mmm, tasty!

The next morning we took a 45-minute drive ending with a 1/4-mile pass through a tunnel. As we exited the tunnel...we saw this! My head exploded! "Hello, Yosemite Valley!" #breathtaking
#spectacular #toomuchtotakein #hashtag

We had about 6 hours (Lie. I have no idea how he calculates time...oh yeah, Mach 3 time) until we needed to head back to Los Angeles, so while Kent was preoccupied purchasing a cup of coffee...Yes, there is a coffee shop on the valley floor along with any other luxury you might want, and yes, Kent had to get his cup of coffee. I think he was a little bummed they didn't have a Caramel Macchiato. Hey, I was roughin' it with an actual styrofoam cup. I almost asked him if he wanted to make a pedicure appointment too.  If I would've known we were gonna do a 20-mile hike in 3 hours I would've gotten the appointment! Hey, don't judge. Anyway, while he was busy pampering himself, I asked a park employee, "Okay, I have one day. I don't care how long or how hard the hike is (obviously oblivious to the concerns of any other person in this adventure), what will allow me to see most of the park?" I never planned to tell Kent exactly what I asked.
Finally a bit of truth.

She told me, "Take a 4-mile hike (Lie. 4.6 mi) up to Glacier Point and then take the 8-mile Panorama Trail (Lie. 8.5 mi) back down!" Sounds perfect! So we began the hike on the valley floor...

And worked our way up seeing lots of..."boom!" my torso exploded because I'd already lost my head...awe-inspiring scenes!

Until we found our lunch spot: Glacier Point. We requested a table with a view. Yeah, truly amazing. You don't see that every day.

And ate the best PBJ Hotdogs I've ever eaten! Seriously, we were so hungry even peanut-butter on a hotdog bun was likened unto a gourmet entre!

And made a new friend who joined us for lunch! Is that legal? (rabies!)

And then 5 minutes later saw this!  Thought so.

 Then we began to make our way back down a trail that would lead us past three different sections of a massive waterfall. Ah, new backgrounds for my worship songs on Sunday.

Once we made it back to the valley floor we somehow managed to be on the opposite side of the valley...and our car.  Somehow? Really? Somehow?!? We could have waited for a Yosemite shuttle to get us back to our starting location but I figured I could make better time on foot. Of course you did. Wrong! I took off on a run, asked for directions, was sent the long route, ran through the souvenir shop, past the coffee bar (maybe you should've gotten a pedicure!), across a bridge...and a 5k later arrived back at the car.  Seriously? A 5k after the 24-mile hike?!? Once I got in the car I realized personal cars weren't allowed where Kent was waiting. So, I had to park the car a 1/2-mile from Kent and go find him. Needless to say, he was tired of waiting...from all that sitting while God knows what you were doing. But this last journey was worth it...while running through the valley floor I came across a black bear crossing the street only 40 feet in front of me. Cherry on top!

We had one last stop before we left Yosemite National Park...The Giant Sequoias. It is believed that Grizzly, the tree on the right, is 1800 years old. It's older than the final form of your Bible. It is said to have endured more than 150 forest fires! And in that single moment, God's creation swallowed me up in its grandeur!

Yosemite is one of the most spectacular places I have ever seen. These pictures fail to do justice to the majesty and the awe-inspiring beauty of God's artwork. It was even better to have shared such an experience with a great friend! No lie. We won't soon forget the majestic views and great adventure. Ditto to the "shared experience" remark. #friendsarefriendsforever #:)

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