Sunday, August 25, 2013

And the rest of Yosemite

We decided to wake up extra early to catch the sunrise. Wrapped in sleeping bags we trekked over to another great viewpoint and watched the sunrise over half dome and the valley. Not the most glorious of colors but a pretty great way to spend a morning.

 Then back down towards the valley we went.

The steps going down started of pretty realistic but sure got steeper as we went along. 3.2 miles of stairs slash steep downhill all the way to the bottom.

Find Meghan...

Finally a bit of glorious shade

It was quite the descent. I found myself checking behind me more and more regularly. Meghan was trailing, apparently being 6 foot something doesn't always do great things for balance and she was taking it slow. And as the day crept toward 90 and the swarms of bugs (thankfully the nonbiting kind) became more unrelenting our progress exponentially slowed. I got a bit cranky as the trail started to head back up, what the heck trail? And more and more people started to appear, aka we must be near the trailhead. I was feeling pretty good after my one small temper tantrum (seriously unmarked junction not cool) and was cruising along, except for the many frequent stops to wait for Meghan to catch up. After being told multiple times to just go on I'll admit I took off. It's been awhile since I have been anything but a solo backpacker and I was not taking perfectly to the change.

Yosemite Falls, sans water...
 I made it to the bottom and watched the stream of people head up the trail. So many unprepared people, it was kind of fun watching the people head up and then shortly see some back realizing they were in far over their heads. That climb was no joke.
When Meghan finally got to the bottom she looked a little rough around the edges. I pushed on for us to get to Yosemite Village for a snack and a break, I was worried that once we stopped there would be no more moving son on we trudged for the last little bit into the depths of Yosemite Village.  A hot hot day for sure. Collapsing on a bench we eventually grabbed some food and started to get our plans straightened out. Clearly the plan of exloring the valley was a no go. Meghan said her feet were done so tourist watching and napping until the 5pm shuttle was on. Only when we checked with the visitors center we were told nope no free shuttle, we could hitch but otherwise its $20 and they should drop us off at the trailhed if we ask. Hey wait a sec? Where'd my free hiker shuttle disappear to? My cheapskate self wanted to hitch but I was voted down. I wandered a bit and enjoyed some frozen yogurt as we killed time. Reading my book and watching the millions of people on cells phones that surrounded me, nothing like a bit of culture shock.
Eventually the YARTS bus showed up and after being told nope they didn't stop at our trailhead I was feeling pretty beat down. The bus driver said maybe and we got on on crossing our fingers. A surprisingly speedy drive later the bus pulled in and happily let us off right where we wanted to be. A nice easy 2 miles and we were back at the car campground which was shockingly full. Tuesday nights are apparently more popular than Sundays, I sure was surprised. We had one last campfire and settled in for our last night under the stars.

And then our adventure was over, packed up and ready for the long drive back to the highway. The dirt road wasn't much shorter heading back but as we passed out of the park we sure did thank our luck for avoiding the insanely long line that was heading into the park.

nice scenic drive through the park

so many cars!
On the drive back we had plenty of time to chat about the trip. Meghan promised me I hadn't scared her out of backpacking but that maybe a few gear adjustments were in order. She swears she had a good time and I'm glad I got to explore a new corner of the park but think I'll stick to trips with a bit more water on my next adventure...

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