I continued back through Fresno up to Yosemite, once again arriving in the evening just before sunset. Doing a quick google search of what to see in Yosemite with just a day, I decided the drive to Glacier Point would be the best use of the my evening as it overlooks Half Dome and the valley. I started up the road for Glacier point and the amount of snow on either side of me began increasing.
As it got darker I began taking night shots and a gentleman asked me if I was interested in a free bottle of wine. I said "Is there really an answer besides yes?" and that struck up a great conversation (in the dark) between myself and Steve. Steve is from Boston and had a week between jobs in Vegas so he rented a van to check out the Yosemite area. Someone had left a bottle of wine in his car and since he doesn't drink he decided to give it away. And I was the lucky winner! Turns out Steve spent years touring in a band and we discussed music quite a bit. He also is in a similar part of his personal life's journey so we commiserated and had a refreshing chat (probably the best first conversation with a stranger I can recall). He said to let him know If I was ever in Boston and needed a place to crash and we have emailed a couple times since!
After taking a fair amount of photos I headed back to my car. I put on the jacket I had packed for the first time and was grateful for the extra insulation (although I had been annoyed at it taking up space on the trip so far). As I was putting things away, a car pulled up and a guy named Tim with his Canon 5D and tripod hurried out towards the Glacier Point lookout. I asked what he was there for and he said that Jupiter was out tonight. I quickly grabbed my gear again and spent the rest of the night more or less beside him chatting and taking photos.
We saw Jupiter first. Next to us, a couple named Jack and Anna had their telescope setup. It's app controlled and navigates to the coordinates you enter from your phone. We looked at Jupiter and saw one of its moons. Then we turned to the horizon as the moon began to crest and Saturn was visible on its right. The moon was as bright as the sun while I tried to take photos since the night before was a full moon. Looking at Saturn though the telescope was even cooler, as I could see the rings!
I came away with amazing photos, new friends, and a bit of a chill. I ended up staying up there in the glacier point parking lot though I pulled out all 3 blankets and left my jacket on. It was a bit of a cold night and I woke up a few times, but the next morning I got up early (as I heard this park got quite congested with the construction) and made my way down from Glacier Point.
As I left the park I recognized its beauty was unique in it's own right and something to be experienced just like the other parks of my journey. As I left the area I was thankful for a good Samaritan at a gas station who notified me I had left coffee creamer atop my car as I was about to drive off.
I made my way to Bakersfield in the late afternoon as I had a 5 hour drive to my next location and noticed I had lost an earring!! (First time since getting my ears pieced a few months back). As it was a Sunday, not many places I thought that would carry earrings were open. I ended up at a Walmart where the only black ear studs were apart of the last package of costume jewelry that was missing 1/3 the studs (30 sets total). I ended up getting a discount on the product and doubt I'll use most of the other earrings.
I arrived at one of the main destinations of this trip, the Remington Hot springs, around 9pm after about an hour's drive east of Bakersfield into the canyons. I was ready to relax in the natural spring though fate had some other plans in mind...Stay tuned ;).
When the moon rose I felt like I was in a movie showing a huge disc in the sky. I wish I had the filters to have photographed it but it was quite a bright sight. As I took photos I realized how much fun I was having with my camera, some of the most fun since shooting my short film in NYC. This was the first night I really embraced my passion for night photography...and I loved it. I plan on focusing my techniques and practice towards this goal going forward. Continuing to make connections has fueled my passion for this trip more times than I can count! I am loving the social aspect of solo travels and ironically have rarely felt alone.