(Ben and Rosie reached "the other Kennedy Meadows" on Saturday, July 12th. This "Kennedy Meadows" is north of Yosemite, but still in the Sierras. This is the latest pocketmail that we received from them a few days ago).
... On the note of mosquitoes, I recall the misery of the other day. I went off
the trail to take a poo-poo. This is normally a very calming and restful
experience. After compressing your belly all day as your knees take high stewps
over big rocks, I have to say it is a release to be able to take the pressure
off the belly, especially as it is pressed upon by the backpack hipbelt. But
the other day, no sooner had I flipped the kilt up and was aiming for the cat
hole in the dirt than a swarm of mosqitoes flew right up my butt! I don't mean
to be obscene but I couldn't even wipe without running away! I'm glad no one
was coing around the corner because they would've seen a half-kilted man
frantically running about with toilet paper dangling this way and that just
trying to find a few seconds to wipe and throw on his backpack before he got his
inners eaten by voracious mosquitoes!
So, all that to say, Yosemite is spectacular. There are waterfalls and huge
cliffs with rounded smooth rock. There are ferns and tall cedars and pines. The
climbs offer great views, though it has certainly become more green and forested
compared to the pure stark, open jagged rock of Mt. Whitney and its subseqent
passes. But for all the ups of Yosemite, it can just be hard to walk because of
the darned bugs! Today we walked almost 8 or 10 miles just running away from
the mosquitoes. To even stop to tie the shoe or take a sip of water was almost
unthinkable. As soon as I'd pause for a couple of seconds the relentless horde
would envelope me and I'd have to run away as if I'd just walked into a angry
beehive. This made it hard because not only were Rose and I constantly swatting
mosquitoes off our moving bodies (even while we were covered in 100% DEET) but
we couldn't stop. We tried to take a break and we ended up getting eaten alive.
Usually we stop and take our packs!
off for a couple of minutes just to rest our shoulders from carrying the load
and to give our calves a rest from the steep ups. Today we couldn't even do
that. We just had to slog on, through some pretty muddy, miserable sections of
the trail just so we could keep ahead of the cloud of mosquitoes eager to stick
their little probes into our skin!
So, these last few days have had some frustrating moments! But, we figure that
even the toughest, most grueling day on the trail is better than the best day
back in the "real world". The days may have their challenges - tough climbs,
hot weather, swarms of annoying bugs, etc. - but all those things fade into
oblivion when we see a field of flowers dancing in the wind or a sunset over a
lake, or the sweeping view of a granite mountain peak looming just above our
heads. God's glory is evident here and we get to hear Him and see Him in ways
that most people never will. He has so many secrets hidden in these beautiful
woods and we are the ones who get to find them tucked away from the streets and
the cars. We get to discover what so few have, but what so many dream about.
And all the mosquitoes in the world can't take that away! We are so thankful to
be here and as the card said that my mom sent me, "Romans 8:18 - 'I consider
that our present sufferings are not worth com!
paring with the glory that will be revealed in us!'" This hike is making Rose
and I closer, not just to each other, but to God. And because we are here we
get to see His glory manifested in so many new and unique ways! We love this