Friday, September 9, 2016

Mountains, Valleys, and Deserts (Day 22)

Today we enjoyed the wonders of Yosemite without the crowds, driving the Tioga Road some 60 miles across the national park (stopping all along the way to take a closer look at the wonder of it all) to Tioga Pass (9000 feet elevation) and then southward on Route 395 through “Owens Valley” and on to Barstow, California, by late afternoon.  The scenery all along the way was magnificent.  We traveled a new route—a road never traveled before—and that always gives my gypsy spirit a lift!

We passed by Mt. Whitney (the highest point in California) as we traveled southward and saw a road sign indicating Death Valley National Park was only 104 miles to the East.  Mt. Whitney has an elevation of 14,500 feet—Death Valley is below sea-level—and just 104 miles separates the two!  We also saw huge fields and mounds of lava that eons ago spilled out of bubbling volcanoes which eventually turned into what we know today as the Sierra Nevada range. 

This morning we had to turn on the heat in Odysseus to fight off the chill of the mountain air (5000 feet elevation) and this afternoon we had to turn on the air-conditioning to fight off the intense heat of the Mojave. Tomorrow we will drive toward Las Vegas and into Utah, eventually dropping south to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon (a bucket list item several times curtailed).  

Two years ago I lost my mother at age 94 (one month shy of 95).  Over the last several days I have naturally thought of her and even felt that she accompanied me along the way!  We never travel alone!

He leads us on by paths we did not know.  
Upward He leads us, tho’ our steps be slow;
Tho’ oft we faint and falter on the way,
Tho’ storms and darkness oft obscure the day,
Yet, when the clouds are gone,
We know He leads us on.

He leads us on tho’ all the’ un-quiet years;
Past all our dream-land hopes, and doubts and fears
He guides our steps; thro’ all the tangled maze
Of losses, sorrow, and o’er-clouded days
We know His will is done,

And still He leads us on. (Hiram O. Wiley)

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