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First…. a quick shout-out of love and support for my reader and writer friends in Germany, Belgium and The Netherlands! The images on the news are simply horrific. Also, I ache for my friends in South Africa, who are witnessing a devastation of another kind. I send prayers for your safety and the strength it takes to rebuild.

I usually frown on day trips to Yosemite. There’s so much to see in the Park and never enough time, but I learned something new this past Sunday. Neither of those issues apply when your destination is Tenaya Lake in Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite National Park’s high country. The lake made for the perfect escape and bon voyage picnic for our eldest two granddaughters who are headed back east to visit family.

Our first stop—the big meadow just past the Tuolumne Grove Trailhead—might be a familiar one to those of you who have been following my travels over the years. Paul and I stopped there a few weeks ago on our way to Convict Lake. Because of the elevation, our favorite meadow offered a new floral display for my “flower friends.”

A few miles ahead, we had to drive through an active fire on both sides of Highway 120 for a couple of miles. Sorry for the crummy pic. We had to leave the windows up because of the smoke.

We spotted lots of active snags and smoldering logs both coming and going. The firefighter presence was reassuring, and the consensus in the car was this sort of controlled burn would leave the forest stronger and less vulnerable to future lightning strikes.

Once we cleared the fire zone, we headed straight to Tenaya Lake, which is just a few miles west of Tuolumne meadows. Although I’ve passed by this beautiful lake many times, this was my first time spending the entire day at the lake and my first time to explore its western shore.

You truly couldn’t ask for a more spectacular vista.

Here’s our crew: JP and me, Paul mesmerized by the lake, and Sarah, Malte and Rya.

The high 70s/low 80s temperature at 8,150’ was refreshing after a solid week of 100+. It left us all a bit giddy. 😉 After unpacking our blankets and camp chairs, we stretched out to do as little as possible…except for Sarah (my future daughter-in-law). She felt inspired to swim across the lake. Length ways. A solid mile in an alpine lake.

In the photo above, she’s just starting her swim. Interestingly, the lake has a shallow shelf around most of the edge, before dropping off to a maximum depth of 114’.

JP, Malte and I decided to follow her progress—and make sure she was okay—by walking around the perimeter. Happily, there’s a lovely walking path that offered outstanding views of the lake and surrounding peaks: Mt. Hoffman, Mt. Tenaya, Polly Dome and Unicorn Peak. 

JP was inspired to jump in for the final push so Malte and I greeted the chilly swimmers on the eastern shore.

Way to go, Sarah!!!

The afternoon flew by as we ate our picnic and watched the monsoon clouds roll in from the south. All agreed the day was beyond perfection.

Last week's Q&A was: Does it get over 100-degrees (37.8 C) where you live?

Oh, my, yes!!! Nearly all who answered said they’d experienced 100+ temps—even if that was a combination of heat and humidity. Something I remember well from growing up in South Dakota.

I have to admit I’m worried about what this holds for the future.

My two randomly selected winners this week are:

Elizabeth Jackson

DVC Eeyore

(Elizabeth and DVC congrats. Please email me your pick of either a $5 Starbucks or a $5 Amazon gift card.)


This week’s Q&A: Have you ever seen a live bear? (We saw one on our drive home. It took my breath away!)

(Two winners will be chosen by random drawing to receive either a $5 Starbucks gift card or a $5 Amazon gift card. Please reply the usual ways:
email or on my DebraSalonenAuthor Facebook page.

Beach reads…even if you’re not at the beach.

As promised, I’ve been reading some very fun books this summer, which is a good thing because I’m going to the beach next weekend. Still figuring out which book I’m taking with me. I’ll let you know next week. 😉

Here are a few of my recent and current reads (Yes, I’m one of those people who reads more than one book at a time. One’s in print, one’s on my phone and one’s on my Kindle Paperwhite.)

The Tourist Attraction – set in Alaska. I had several laugh out loud moments and a ton of snickers with this story. Bright and charming and just so much fun. I’ll be looking for the next book in the series very soon. If I ever get to Alaska, I want to try a Growly Beer. A reindeer dog…? Not so much.

The Seven Day Switch – can you imagine changing bodies with your worst enemy? Me, neither, but the clever premise made me pick up this book; the smart writing and interesting characters kept me reading. I will say I had a few cringe moments for things that were so personal I couldn’t imagine giving a stranger access to them: like weaning my baby. Umm, no. And at times I found myself wishing the women in the story could just be nicer to each other for no other reason than we’re all women, all doing the best we can.

Butterface by Avery Quinn – I generally would not pick a book where the heroine has low self-esteem from being teased and picked on growing up (when her braces came off and her body filled out, the boys still teased: “Yeah, her bod’s not bad but…her…face is a different story,”) but I was intrigued by the spunky heroine’s career choice—a wedding planner, and her first kiss with the by-the-book cop hero was just too darling not to keep reading. But I will say: they sure think about sex a lot. LOL.

I’m a big fan of Elizabeth Hunters’ slightly paranormal Glimmer Lake and Moonstone Cove series. Fate Interrupted wrapped things up nicely for the latter, plus taught me stuff about wine grapes and telekinesis. I guess I’d be okay with suddenly having some kind of paranormal powers—especially if my besties were equally afflicted. Fun stories with mostly middle-aged heroines and wonderfully hunky heroes.

Recipe for Persuasion is the second Sonali Dev book I’ve read. Her writing is smart, the characters unique, and it’s fun to see how the author works in the Austen angle.

I should mention that I discovered several of these books from BookBub recommendations by authors and readers that I follow. BookBub lets you know when a recommended book goes on sale. It’s a great way to stock your E-reader while staying on budget. Here’s the link if you’d like to follow me: BookBub.

Stay well, my friends, and happy reading,


Upcoming: By the beach, by the beach, by the actual beach!



Copyright © 2021 Debra Salonen