In the next tent over, a group of teenagers chat and giggle into the night. Sleep-deprived and shivering under my blankets, I contemplate going over to give them a lesson on camping etiquette. But that would involve having to leave my own tent and venture into the cold. The thought quickly dissipates.
In a heated tent in Yosemite, I lay sleepless into the night. With each sound outside, I ponder the chance of a bear attack. Did I lock our foodbin safely? Did I leave a energy bar wrapper in the car? I can hear the guys breathing nearby, they are already fast asleep.
Yosemite reaches below freezing at night in October. By the time we visited in November, there was snow on the trails and a few of shallow lakes were empty. Trading colder temperatures in favour of empty trails, I spent the first weekend of November in the park. Our first day was spent entirely on the valley floor while the second day was up north in Tuolumne.
We hiked a few moderate trails that rewarded us with beautiful views. From the top of Lembert Dome, Tuolumne laid at our feet.
Lines and circles drawn in the white sand form what is known as a Japanese rock garden. The dry landscape is composed of a careful arrangement of rocks, pruned trees, and sand raked to resemble ripples in water.
As I listen to our guide explain the garden arrangements, it amazes me the level of thought and detail that goes into every part of the Japan garden. Just like the depth of detail and meaning that frames a traditional tea ceremony. Just like everything else about Japan.