This week Brett and I celebrated our anniversary; 14 years married, 35 years in love, minus ten years in the middle with no contact whatsoever. The math is a bit complicated, but the important thing is that we finally got it right and tied the knot. During the course of our marriage, we have surprised each other with vacations, dinners and small trips. We've been so busy with this house --and we've been so broke with this house, that we haven't gone anywhere or done anything except work on the property.
So, I made plans. I wanted to take Brett to Yosemite; specifically, to stay at the Ahwanhee Hotel in the park. Rooms book up there a year in advance but I lucked out and was able to snag one room, for one night, this week, when I started making plans a few months ago. The Ahwanhee was built in 1927 with tall open beam ceilings, huge fireplaces, a dining room with views of the valley and twinkling tall candles on the tables. Romance, grandeur and history ooze from its walls. We've been drooling over the hotel for years.
Brett was under the impression that we were going out to dinner, locally, on Wednesday since I had written "dinner" on the calendar and told him not to make other plans. It waited until the day before we left to tell him that he needed to top off the gas tank and pack an overnight bag. I made arrangements for Kersey to go to the neighbors and for Nickers Horsesitting to take care of the rest of the animals. Chris at Nickers gives us peace of mind when we are away from home. She checks all the animals thoroughly, will blanket, move them from barn to pasture and even groom if we want. And she sends me a text when she comes over, twice a day, to let me know how things are. When we got back to our room in the hotel, after dinner, there was a text from her informing us that one of the chickens had died. Phyllis was found, dead, in the chicken pen. We're not sure what happened. Chickens do that; die for no apparent reason. We seem to lose one a year to cold or heat or illness or old age.
But, I digress. This isn't a chicken post. Brett figured out pretty quickly that we were going to Yosemite. But he didn't expect the Ahwanhee. He was very surprised and very happy as we drove into the park, through the burned and scarred mountainside (we could see the Rim fire still smoldering off in the distance), and into the pristine valley. Our room had a view of Half Dome and a plate of chocolate covered strawberries.
This morning we hiked a trail that circles and crosses the valley floor. The entire trail is 13 miles long; we went about four miles -- pretty good for us. Then we packed our bags, dropped off our key, and headed back home. We managed to be in Yosemite during the window between wave 1 and wave 2 of a 3-punch series of storms coming through. It was raining when we got home and 50F in the house but worth every minute we spent shivering under throw blankets while we waited for the wood stove to warm us up.