I had to start this post with one last picture from Lassen. We woke up early on our first wedding anniversary (and 11th year together) anticipating a long, hot drive from Lassen to Yosemite. We lingered longer than we should have in Lassen, enjoying the crowd-free early morning sights and cool, clear morning.
Hours (and many litres of water) later we got our first glimpse of Yosemite. Instantly recognizable and spectacularly photogenic, no amount of Ansel Adams-gazing prepared me for the scale of the mountains (especially as viewed from the valley floor) and the endless possibilities for exploration offered up. A longer (and more backcountry-oriented) visit is definitely in our future.
Not the prospect of our car catching on fire (it protested smokily but made it), the Hanta Virus pamphlets handed out at the park entrance, nor the fact that I locked the keys in the car at our campground could damped the uplifting power of standing in the midst of one of the most iconic landscapes in North America (the world?). America -- you really do have it all. Damn, this planet is beautiful.