It’s hard to get totally off the grid, but certainly hanging out in places where cell service is random (4G in the bathroom, but only at 2 PM on a Thursday for 14 seconds) and wifi is nonexistent helps. We got back from our whirlwind trip yesterday, completely exhausted. We only did about 26 miles in 4 days of hiking, with two days more strenuous than the others, but elevation whomped us a bit as well, plus unexpected heat. 75 degrees F at 4000 feet is hotter than it is at 400 feet above sea level. That’s my excuse anyway. Plus not enough sleep, ever. Camping plus camp noises (I listened to a tree branch groan for at least an hour one night) plus AirBnb noises (that peacock chorus one night…). I wouldn’t trade the experiences out, but it does lead to general exhaustion…a different kind of tired than what school does to me, but tired. I am still tired. I could have slept in this morning, but I mis-set my alarm too early and then my to-do list entered my brain and that was the end of it. So I was up. Not fully functional, but up.
So last Tuesday night found us in a hotel room in Fresno with a massive Jacuzzi tub that I could have used every night AFTER that (my dream is a Jacuzzi, but it will probably never coalesce into reality), and as always seems to happen, one of the Jurassic Park movies was on, so we watched and I drew.
To bed earlyish…driving is exhausting, isn’t it? Then the next morning, up and out for the Yosemite experience.
I grew up in the Sacramento area, and my parents must have driven around rolling hills with oak trees a lot, because it’s a landscape my brain really responds to, so we stopped on the way up for one photo…
The flowers were starting to pop and everything was that bright spring green that doesn’t last in California.
The first view of Yosemite National Park…it never fails to bring tears to my eyes, when we get the first view of WHY this is a national park and not just some local thing.
I guess it’s why we keep going to all of them, eh?
Definitely worth it. I haven’t been here since high school, I think, when they brought us all in and sent us off in groups. My group hiked/backpacked a short distance (?) up into freezing coldness. Susie Cranston and I zipped our sleeping bags together and invited some dog (an actual dog, y’all) into the bag for warmth.
So it’s been a while…
It’s the crowds of people that keep us away. This was Spring Break, but it wasn’t too bad. A lot wasn’t open yet (like the showers and the pizza place, until our last day), so that probably helped. Plus we asked which hikes had fewer people, and when to do the more popular ones. It helped. So did camping…the first two nights were nice and quiet, once the rampaging gangs of children stopped screaming. We were on the outer edge of one of the loops…a good choice.
The last night, we were surrounded by groups of 20-somethings with copious amounts of alcohol. They were remarkably quiet, considering.
We got set up relatively early on Wednesday, and went for our first walk, but got sent back by a bear on the trail.
Hmmm. That was the only bear we ever saw, luckily? Or not.
Back to camp, cooked dinner, settled down to draw by the fire.
I cooked. Someone else has to do dishes. A tree, my view. Those damn ravens.
They’ll steal as soon as you walk away.
The next day was a our big hike day. We started with Vernal Falls…weren’t sure how high we’d go. It was definitely a climb.
We made it a ways up. Not all the way…
There was a lot more of that, and it was getting more and more slippery.
This was a good view though. After lunch and a bit of a rest, we set out to do the hike from the day before…no bear today, just deer…
Almost didn’t see them resting there.
We hiked up past Mirror Lake, doing the whole loop.
It was warm but otherwise mostly quiet.
Tired legs at that point…
Somewhere between 10 3/4-12 1/2 miles that day, between the two hikes. Our multiple apps wouldn’t agree on mileage.
Tired seemed legit. I finished this Sue Spargo Homegrown block between the driving and the camping…
Then made dinner and drew again by the campfire.
It was a good night.
The reward for lots of hiking is sleeping through the tree and people noises.
The last day, we headed out to Yosemite Falls…there were tons of people, which explains the man’s face.
He was reaching his limit. We considered trying to get to Upper Yosemite Falls, but it was hot and we were officially tired. So we checked out the Ansel Adams Gallery, got our National Park passports stamped, and got our official Yosemite T-shirts.
We scoped out a dinner option that didn’t make us cook, rejoiced that we weren’t in Curry Village (soon to be Half Dome Village), and rested a bit.
We actually got a pizza to go and brought it back to the campsite to avoid people. Yes, we hiked a mile for pizza. It was worth it.
There are other things we’d explore in Yosemite, but it would have to be later in the season. Too much was still snowed in.
I did draw that night too, but there’s no picture of that. We spent (well, mostly the man spent) about 2 hours trying to get a fire started on the third night. The young folks on either side had roaring fires (they both had fire starters of some sort), but ours was lackluster until we ignored it, and then it finally caught.
Some serious fire-building science and Girl Scout knowledge failed us on this one.
The morning had us packing up, with the ravens waiting for our leavings…
We were out early and headed south for our next park, Sequoia. On the way out, we stopped to look at some burn damage.
It’s hard to look at, even when you know some of it is necessary to the forest. Not as much as we’ve had lately, though. Lots of damage around from a big windstorm in January too, which toppled trees throughout the park.
I’ll write more about the rest of the trip tomorrow. Now I need a shower, groceries, and about a million other things to get crossed off the list. Wish me luck.