With the end of our trip gradually nearing, and the departure from urban areas continuously progressing, we resumed our ascent into “nature” (i.e. Julie’s definition of any location encompassed by “outsideness”), arriving into one of the most famous, and overly-populated National Parks in America – Yosemite. With an average of 18,000 daily visitors during the month of July, our arrival to Yosemite during peak season seemed less like an adventure into nature, and more like a trip to the largest open-aired theme park in America. Thankfully at this theme park, the majority of “rides” involve an incline hike of 1 mile or greater, leaving approximately 90% of “parking lot tourists” gasping for breath behind (and thus opening up the other 99% of the park to relative isolation and serenity). I leave you with the highlights of our 2-night, 3-day journey:
Preparedly Unprepared – With a 45 minute Target shopping spree providing all the last-minute necessities required for our camping adventure (food, water, stolen ketchup packets from the food court), we were quite confident in the overall preparedness of our expedition. However, upon arrival, we soon learned that our notion of “camping preparation” is quite different than that of the countless RV-driving tourists of America:
Thus, while Satellite TV’s and other extravagances were enjoyed by all those around us, we took pleasure in one of the few fire-based meals, with our burgers & steaks putting to shame any of the buckets of Walmart potato salad seen throughout the campground.
Mist Trail Hike (Going Up) – As one of the most famous, as well as notoriously difficult hikes within the park, the 10 mile round-trip journey to the top of Nevada Falls marked Julie’s preliminary introduction into the world of hiking. Now, while we have experienced numerous “nature walks” within the confines of Austin, none encompassed a 1,900 foot gain in elevation, a staircase literally cut into the side of the mountain, as well as multiple jaw-dropping waterfalls (the water fountain at Taco Deli comes just shy of this categorization). Nonetheless, sporting her newly broken-in hiking shoes, a brand new Camelbak (complete with straight-from-the-factory-plastic-flavored water) and a pair of slightly-worn yoga pants (need a little more work on the hiking attire), Julie was ready to partake on the “strenuous-not-to-be-completed-by-beginners” hike to the top. Utilizing the Swahili notion of “pole, pole” (slow, slow), we maintained a gradual and consistent pace all the way up to the 5,900FT summit, leaving other non-Africa-style-hikers in our dust (well, whatever dust can be generated walking at 1.5 MPH). Total journey time = 2 hours, 45 minutes.
Mist Trail Hike (Coming Down) – With a small tree root sending a then, not-as-nimble Julie, flailing to the ground only months prior, I was a bit worried about how she would fare on the 5 mile hike down – Inclusive of countless steps, boulders and skrees (look it up, I’m technical). Yet, all my hesitation was put aside, as I witnessed possibly the most unexpected sight I could have ever imagined: Julie running down the mountain (for those of you who know her, please take a moment to compose yourselves). Apparently concealing an internal mountain goat over the years, I was almost in shock as I watched her hop & trot down the fairly steep and treacherous slope with the utmost of ease. To say the least, I was quite proud. Total journey time = 1 hour, 15 minutes. Next stop: Everest.
Other Highlights –
Onto the pics: