Yosemite management: surprisingly, not buttholes

Marisa & I had booked, nearly two months ago, a campsite in Yosemite for this weekend. We’d been looking forward to it greatly.

And then this Hantavirus “outbreak” is announced, and gets worse over the weekend – more deaths, more confirmed cases, more suspect areas of the park – and, well shit.

After much consternation, we decided it would be best to just cancel our reservation. Without knowing more, it’s hard to make an informed decision, and it’s unlikely we’ll know substantially more by this weekend.

The gnat in the proverbial ointment was that these campsites are expensive ($111 a night), and their management states that they won’t refund your deposit (first night’s stay) if you cancel. Not if it’s cancelled less than seven days in advance, anyway. “No exceptions.”, they emphasise.

‘course, that riles me the wrong way. So when I rang to cancel, I was expecting a fight. I was thus very surprised when the guy on the phone stated simply that the deposit would be refunded. I didn’t even have to ask. I thanked him, and that was that. Aside from the ten minutes on hold (plus a disconnection by their retarded robot), the call took all of a minute.

So colour me surprised and pleased. Now we’re able to look forward to when all this is resolved, and we can make a new reservation. They’ve earnt some brownie points, by handling this situation respectfully and sensibly. It’s sad that we’re so cynical as to expect anything less; that simply being pleasant and rational is considered extraordinary, but, there it is. The reality of accomodation reservations, both bad and [occasionally] good.


Each year my department at Google runs a ski trip. Just for fun. Well, there’s a obligatory dinner with a raffle and the usual sort of stuff like that, but otherwise actual fun.

This year it’s at Squaw. I’ve been to Squaw once before, but only for dinner; never skiied, on the basis that it’s always been a relatively expensive resort tickets-wise, and insanely expensive accomodation-wise. The room in which I currently reside is ~$350 a night. Granted it’s in Squaw Village, and I can walk to a bunch of nearby chairlifts… but then Heavenly is also equivalently accessible (via the gondola) for a third the price.

Anyway, I rant. Getting here today meant being out of bed at 5 AM in order to catch a 5:30 bus. The ride up was uneventful but uncomfortable, given there was no way to sleep on the bus – I know I’ve done it before, but I don’t for the life of me know how – and that getting up that early in the morning just makes me feel like throwing up to begin with.

But we arrived and luckily my room was already available, so I could dump all my stuff, get changed, and hit the slopes. I guess I got in about five hours skiing, nearly. And I’m evidently very old because that feels like a lot. My feet in particular, surprisingly, are adament on that point.

The weather was nice – a little warm, but it cooled off by early afternoon – and the conditions were… okay. Some of the groomed runs were nicely consistent, packed snow… but there was ice scattered across others, and in particular the higher peaks were, well, crap. I took one chairlift up to such a peak, on a whim, only to find that there was no way down that wasn’t dominated by steep, icy moguls. Of the two options, one even involved a six foot ledge jump just to get started. No thanks.

All told it was a good day, though. Now I have to decide if I’m up for ice skating before dinner. I should go, but I feel so very lazy. Times like these I wonder about my aversion to caffeinated beverages.

Tomorrow is a 95%-full day of skiing capped with the bus ride back home. Not so keen on that last part.

One thing I dislike about Squaw is that it’s surprisingly hard to get around the mountain. It appears that the majority of it, in fact, is readily accessible only via gondola, which is inconvenient. So I was more or less relegated to a small handful of areas today.