Automne Californien

Les décorations et costumes d’Halloween sont apparus depuis que la rentrée scolaire est faite – mi-aout pour la plupart des contés a travers la Californie – mais personnellement l’envie de l’automne et des ses célébrations n’arrive qu’avec des températures en dessous de 30 degrés Celsius.

Après quelques jours de canicule, synonymes de la version californienne de l’été indien, un début d’automne s’annonce timidement. Pour célébrer ce changement précurseur – nous l’espérons tous ici – de la saison des pluies, je me suis offert une randonnée en montagne.

Après Labor Day week-end – le premier week-end de septembre – Yosemite National Park retrouve la paix et le silence qui le rendent si extraordinaire. Le parc est divisé en deux pour ceux et celles qui aiment l’explorer : la vallée, la majorité des visiteurs s’y rendent pour admirer les cascades qui font la réputation de Yosemite, et le « back country » ou « high country » pour les amoureux des sentiers moins battus.

Mis à part Vernal et Nevada, les cascades de Yosemite sont saisonnières et après l’hiver très sec que nous avons eu l’an dernier, elles sont taries. Pour les remplacer, restent les lacs qui ne sont pas saisonniers.
Ostrander Lake est l’un d’entre eux. Ses trois avantages restent sa proximité de l’entrée sud du parc – qui est la plus proche de chez moi – son niveau de difficulté relativement facile et sa distance très modérée par rapport à la majorité des randonnées dans Yosemite.
Le sentier qui mène au lac est de 6 miles soit presque 10 kilomètres. Mais les 20 kilomètres aller-retour traversent un terrain varié ce qui est rend l’escalade intéressante. Les premiers quatre kilomètres se font à travers un paysage forestier que j’imagine superbe après la saison des pluies et la fonte des neiges. La flore dans Yosemite est spectaculaire au printemps. Le terrain devient plus escarpé vers la fin de la randonnée, mais cela reste une randonnée accessible à n’importe quel marcheur décent. On monte doucement en altitude et c’est nettement plus agréable que le début de Half Dome, par exemple.
Et puis, le lac se découvre soudainement, alors que rien ne l’annonce et c’est indiscutablement un moment de réel bonheur.
Des mots clichés viennent à l’esprit : lové dans un écrin de pierres et de sapins. Mais c’est exactement comme cela que le lac apparaît.
L’hiver, l’accès se fait en ski de fond et un refuge permet, avec réservation, de passer la nuit.
Cela fait rêver mais depuis mon accident de ski d’il ya deux ans, je préfère le plancher des vaches.
Hier il n’y avait personne sur le chemin et seulement trois femmes qui déjeunaient les pieds dans l’eau.
C’est dans ces moments là que je réalise l’immensité des Etats Unis. Tout comme lors de mes voyages estivaux d’ouest en est et vice et versa, ce pays ne cesse de me donner le vertige.

From a New Website to an Outstanding Writer

Since I started blogging in 2009, I’ve never been away from my blog for more than two weeks. Now I realize, where did time go between my last post early September and today?

 My number One priority was the publication of Trapped in Paris, my novel for young adults. The book and its e-version are now out in the wild world. I have been busy working at spreading the word. Nobody told me it would be easy, so no surprises here. Promoting is as hard as writing.

Then, I transformed my website, as you can see if you are reading now. My posts about writing for children, about writing for adults with NPR, about my little life in general, as well as my posts written in French are now easily – I hope – accessible from my website.

Finally, I have enjoyed an awesome beginning of fall.
Temperatures in California are finally seasonal. Goodbye Indian summer!
I went on an outstanding hike in Yosemite National Park to celebrate the cool weather. Yes, the Hantavirus still makes the headlines around here, and in all honesty it worried me, but I figured that if I didn’t spend the night, lay on the ground, or got locked in a poor ventilated restroom I would be okay.
I hiked with my long time walking buddy – everyone else was too lazy to join us.
None of us had ever been to Ostrander Lake. The trailhead is accessible from Glacier Road, shortly after the entrance leading to Badger Pass, the cool small ski resort of Yosemite. The hike to the lake is 12 miles round, mostly moderate and pleasant with only two miles uphill. No switchbacks, so a much easier hike than any other uphill hikes in the backcountry.
The path is a mix of forest-like, rocky and sandy terrain. Some outstanding views of Half Dome, Clouds Rest, and Mt. Hoffman in the near distance, as well as the eerie remnants of a major wildfire from years ago rewarded us along the way.
And Ostrander Lake, which appears suddenly at the end of the trail, is pure beauty. There is even a hut for cross-country skiers in the winter season. A dream for any nature freak!
 
Last, but definitely at the top of my awesome beginning of October, I met one of my very favorite American writers.
I couldn’t believe that M.T. Anderson, yes, the one, would come to Woodward Library in Fresno, to talk about his writing and sign his books.
Anyone who read Feed knows what I’m talking about.
After Feed, I thought I would not even try to write dystopias, or anything for that matter, anymore.
I couldn’t find my beloved first edition of Feed when I bought it in 2002. My children were quite discreet about it when they saw me looking for it everywhere at home. I suspect that one of them stored it away. I can’t blame the thief: Feed is outstanding. The disappearance of my book gave me a reason to buy a new copy from Petunia’s Place, the only independent children’s bookstore in the valley,and to get M.T. Anderson sign my book.
The event was organized by the Arnie Nixon Center, one of the leading centers in North America for the Study of Children’s Literature, located in the Henry Madden Library at California State University, Fresno.
It was quite funny that M.T. Anderson came to speak on the night of Justin Bieber’s performance in town. The people who came to the library instead of attending the Bieber’s concert were in for a real treat. M.T. Anderson really spoke with us as we ate around a pretty nice buffet of hors d’œuvres and desserts.
No surprises his books are so successful, M.T. Anderson is passionate about his craft, easy going and smart. He is by far the most entertaining and approachable author I’ve got to meet over the last decade.
If you missed him, pay attention to his book tours. Go to a signing if he happens to cross your path. He is truly a terrific writer, a unique speaker, and I have the feeling, he is also a nice guy.
 
So, as you see, I got excuses for my online silence. But now that my website is up again, I will be back on a regular basis with more timely news on writing, reading, and just plain living.
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