Despite magnificent weather, gorgeous scenery and the company of three of my four favorite people (our daughter wasn’t there), I still struggled over “unplugging” from the Internet in order to enjoy our family’s trip to Yosemite last weekend.
I knew from past trips that cellular coverage was spotty at best, and wifi would likely be available only in our motel’s common areas. No problem – I had worked furiously on Internet-related projects before leaving town, so I figured things would be fine.
But I didn’t consider how pulling out my iPhone to check messages, get a weather report, or do a quick Google search has become a habit – something I do to fill a spare moment without even realizing it. I knew from observing the 2011 National Day of Unplugging that I might have some “issues” – but this weekend brought me face to face with them, again.
When the front desk receptionist informed me that Yosemite Lodge now provides free wifi in the rooms, I thought, “How great — our national parks are joining the digital age.” Then she added, “It’s been kind of touch and go lately. What can I say? I.T. is working on it.”
Sure enough, we got to our rooms and found that, while our sons were able to get random, weak wifi, my husband and I found ourselves sitting side by side, staring at blank browser screens and watching our “loading” wheels spin. Also, our TV was tiny — you needed birding binoculars to check the Giants’ score unless you sat right next to it. Which was kind of a problem, since there was only one chair in the room, and it was more of a desk chair, not a TV chair. But what was I expecting, the Four Seasons? That wasn’t the point, I reminded myself — we were here to enjoy Yosemite’s grandeur.
The next day was sunny and warm, not too hot. Blue cloudless sky. In other words, perfect. We chose to hike up past Mirror Lake, a ideal route because, since a rock slide had closed off the trail higher up, few people bothered to go past the Mirror Lake destination. But at the same time as I was enjoying our journey, I knew the Prince of Smooth was playing Lord Valdemort in the French Open semi’s, and my iPhone wouldn’t even give me a score update, due to the lack of cellular data coverage.