In fact, given that the population of El Portal is....wait for it...635, I was wondering, why not rename Crane Creek as Karen Creek? :)
I had met Karen when Uma , a fellow NTP member, introduced me to her when we went birding in Nandi Hills
Here's more info about them .
On Saturday May 30th, yathin decided that we would see as much of Yosemite as we could before coming back to roost for the night, so by the time I reached the Amstutz home, it was past 10.30pm! Things were not helped by our mistaking another house for that of the Amstutzes and having that homeowner (Karen says he is quite grouchy...trust us to pick the only grouchy neighbour, possibly, in El Portal!) tell us he didn't know where the Amstutzes lived (they lived some houses away!)....so I just went in and crashed, and decided to have all the interaction in the morning...but even in my tired state, the beauty of the guest room (they have enclosed a patio to make this) was stunning:
I woke up in the morning and it was just incredible to hear the rushing of the waters of the Merced river , and look at the beautiful view of it from my bed:
I could go out on to the sun deck, festooned with Nepali prayer flags:
The Amstutz girls...Eliza, Sylvie, and Lupin...soon woke up and we exchanged enthusiastic greetings. No formal handshakes for us...when I say that the Amstutz girls were all over me, I *mean* they were all over me!
I was so impressed by the home Paul and Karen have created in this beautiful spot....here are the Amstutz women, Karen, and her daughters, in their living room:
The Amstutzes cannot own their home; they can only live in it as long as they live and work in Yosemite. Given this, it was amazing to see the effort and love they have lavished on their home...here's the sweet Amstutz kitchen, where I actually got a lovely little steel tumbler of filter coffee, made by the hospitable Karen!
The living room contains a wonderful music corner; Lupin learns the piano from her dad, and there are the drums, and some saxophone practice was also done that morning....
The dining area was, again, a patio area that the Amstutzes have covered, and put a breakfast nook in:
It was a lovely sunny place to overlook the garden (with the nest of the Acorn Woodpecker!) and hear the waters of the river as I bit into lovely muffins and ate some fruit.
Karen later took me up to the loft-under-construction (how on EARTH they find time for everything, I really don't know!)...
Their garden is also a wonderful place, and Karen pointed out to me a lot of the wildflowers (and the wildlife, including the scorpion she had found in their bathtub!)...
The Amstutzes don't count anything as "pests"...even the web of the Black Widow spider just outside the front door is kept intact, with the children just being warned to keep their distance!
Karen went to a pottery barn nearby to get potsherds to creat the stepping stones in her garden; the results are SO beautiful that I am posting pictures of EACH of them...
You'll agree, that's a very beautiful home, in tune with the surroundings of El Portal! I also enjoyed myself hugely, watching Lupin riding a horse...
Eliza is so responsible, that Karen left the other two in her care and came away to spend Sunday with us; and the little neighbourhood is so known and safe, that the children could wander around for the day! Can one imagine such a quality of life in larger towns in any country?
I loved your home, and the warmth of your family, Karen...thank you for making a memorable visit to Yosemite possible!
I'm off to a guided tour of Forest Park this evening..pity it's on a day when the temperature is 36 deg C!...but I don't want to miss the opportunity!