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Best trip of 2009

Friday, December 4, 2009 by Marianne Elliott

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I'm arriving a bit late to the party but I want to join the fabulous Gwen Bell's plan to blog about the best of 2009 this December. I've had such an amazing year and I think this is a great way to acknowledge and celebrate that.
First up is the best trip of 2009.

As I write this I'm on a train. It's the leisurely (12 hours), scenic and earth-friendly way to get to Auckland. I could fly there in an hour but after all the international flying I've done this year (and in the past decade) I thought I'd balance out my carbon footprint a bit by choosing low carbon travel whenever I can.
Slow travel is my new favorite kind of travel. Trains, bicycles and feet are the means of transport that get me places at a pace that my brain and my body can keep up with.

My favorite trip this year was a hike in Yosemite. I was with my handsome devil and two of his best friends and we were on a short holiday in the Bay Area. I had wanted the holiday to be just the two of us, the ever sociable handsome devil wanted his friends along.

My compromise? Bring all the friends you want, just promise to take me to Yosemite.
I had been dreaming of the park ever since I saw photos of it as a child and I was a little worried that my expectations were too high, that I would be disappointed.
I couldn't have been more wrong.

The beauty and majesty of the park exceeded even my inflated imaginings. The vast granite cliffs towered over us, calling me to climb them. The giant sequoia trees whispered the secrets that only beings that have lived thousands of years can know, the secrets that everything changes and that everything remains the same.
The little chipmunks followed us playfully along the paths as we hiked higher and higher to Cloud's Rest, one of the highest peaks in the park. We glimpsed deer and coyote, though not bear.

I was as happy as I have ever been, reminded that the earth is bigger and much sturdier than I sometimes give her credit for. We may kill off ourselves and all our fellow creatures but the great granite cliffs of Yosemite will surely survive us all.


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3 Responses to "Best trip of 2009"

  1. Anne-Marie says:

    Yosemite does sound like an amazing place, and I’m glad it exceeded your expectations.
    I’ve taken that train ride to Auckland several times and, if you have the time, it’s absolutely the best way to go – especially on a fine day. Some of the North Island’s most beautiful scenery can be glimpsed from that train. Travel well, dear Marianne!

  2. cath says:

    i’ve not seen nearly enough of the states as i would like too… can’t wait to do it though.. one day…

  3. TheWordWire says:

    Yosemite is one of my favorite places to visit — you struck a good deal, negotiating a trip there in exchange for Handsome Devil getting to bring friends. Sounds like the best of both worlds!

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