Justin: I really was taken aback at the sheer majesty of Yosemite National Park straight away, there were so many vantage points along the twisty roads that lead into Yosemite, that persuades you to pull over and snap, snap, snap photos for ages; mouth agape in wonder and awe.
Bear warnings were everywhere so my anxiety was a little inflated, however I noted that the warnings were actually about protecting the bears not the humans and when a ranger told us there were no grizzlies I oozed relief. We ain’t seen no bears, but we saw plenty of obnoxious squirrels, some of them with no shame as they furtively dance around you when lunching awaiting to strike at will, and as I discovered a light rock to the head doesn’t deter them one bit too, persistent little beasts.We also saw some deer locking horns in the morning down at Yosemite village, again our mouths agape in wonder and snap, snap snapping the pics, however in this instance a ranger intervened and said we crept up too close, but that’s what happens sometimes at Yosemite, you lose yourself in the pristine depths of the ecosystems and connect with pure, pure earth in all its raw majesty.
Yosemite is exceptionally managed and really is a flag bearer for all national parks worldwide. Kat and I completed a challenging day hike up to the top of two waterfalls, I being my goofy self totally stacked it and fell off a trail and down a steep embankment walking the famous John Muir trail, fortunately was not hurt and iTouch was also able to absorb the hit without damage too – woo. First stack of the trip took nearly three weeks, I think I must be walking with a little more grace these days 🙂 Love to all Justin
Kat: Yes, the stack was the only worry we had in Yosemite. Apart from a bruised ego and an almost lost iPod, we really enjoyed the Mist Trail. The most common day walk in Yosemite is the Half Dome hike, 16 miles of gruelling uphill walk to get to a 45 degree via ferrata. One slip and you’re a goner, any chance of rain and you’re out too. Yet permits for the hike sell out months in advance. Thankfully we took the Mist Trail, the first half of the Half Dome hike, which was just as good and without the heartache and vertigo of the final climb. Walking up endless stairs was torture on my poor thighs, while Justin seemed to breeze up the hills like a mountain goat. I’ve always maintained I’m a champion downhill walker… which was evidenced in my need to go to the toilet on the way down. I almost ran the John Muir Trail!
But the views were spectacular and well worth the slog. Rainbows peeked out from the edge of waterfalls, as we got unimpeded views of the Half Dome. September is a great time for hiking. Not too hot, not too cold. After the walk we caught the bus back to the visitor centre and ate a well deserved ice cream while the squirrels looked on. I must say I love the squirrels – Justin was probably sick of my calls of “Squirrel!” every time I saw one. We went to Glacier Point to end the day, a spectacular view which can be reached by the four mile trail (four miles uphill) or the 16 mile car drive. We chose the latter.
I’ve never had a more peaceful sleep than after our hike in the tent. As Justin knows I am the definition of “hitting the sack”. Head on the pillow, sleep straight away. I’ve tried to get through Moby Dick while we travel but the words just turn to mush as I fall asleep!
The next day we drove out of Yosemite through the Tioga Pass. We couldn’t stop taking photos at vista points. Every corner revealed a more beautiful view, the pointy pines layering in the early morning light. Leaving the park involves driving around some pretty harrowing turns around 9000ft mountains with no barriers. It reminded me of James Bond movies, except we were driving a Chevy Aveo and not an Aston Martin (and certainly not at high speeds!). All I needed was a scarf and a convertible… ahh the good life!