Saturday, June 23, 2012

Vacation Recap: Day 2 & 3

After tandem biking and filling up with Bouchon macaroons, we headed to Yosemite National Park for two days. The drive there was pretty stunning. We passed dozens of fruit stands, almond tree fields, and beautiful fields of burnt, yellow grasses....

To reach the campsite in Yosemite Valley, we had to take the winding way in - a two lane highway cut into the side of hills and mountains, Positano Coast style.... 

And then we entered a few small, Old-West-style towns... 

And then finally, we arrived....

After a few more miles of driving, we arrived in Curry Village, our cute and pretty luxurious camp site

The village itself was pretty over the top in terms of camping. They had a main information and check in building, a lounge, a seperate hall for dinner and breakfast, a pizza patio with accompanying bar, a grill, a massive general store/gift shop and even a "mountain shop", which essentially was an excuse to sell over-priced Mountain Hardware and Patagonia stuff. 

Our tents, however, were absolutely perfect... 

Isn't it the most romantic tent you've ever seen?! 

I thought so at least.

After settling into our surroundings, we eyed up a raft rental spot and decided a little river R&R was exactly what the day needed. So late in the afternoon, we grabbed a kayak-raft-thing, a couple of paddles and headed down river. Sadly, because of the likelihood of throwing it into the water if we brought it, we left the camera and our phones behind, leaving us with little pictures. But let me just give you a mental image of Bill and I stopping at a sandy beach and soaking in the sun in our rafty-thing. Pretty sweet living. 


But Yosemite wasn't all sweet living, as Day 3 would prove. We decided to do an all-day hike, which sounded absolutely fine to me at the time. 

We chose the Upper Yosemite Falls hike, which went to the top of one of the water falls, in 3.5 miles and back the same way. I should probably have looked at the falls before we climbed them, and taken in the fact that they were the tallest falls in North America. But no, I looked like this instead... 

We started in and pretty steadily gained a lot of elevation. 

In fact, pretty quickly our view became a panorama of the valley floor and a nice view of Half Dome - the tallest peak. 

The hike is mostly a bunch of switch-backs and as we took switch-back after switch-back we rose out of the trees and into the sunny rocks above - sunny rocks which carried my least favorite worldly creature: the lizard. For those who don't know, I have an irrational phobia (like any phobia I suppose) of lizards. No other reptile, just lizards. The first one I saw scared me, but I calmed myself as I've learned how to do over the years. However, the next 30 we encountered were slightly overwhelming and might have sent me to tears. 

I almost turned back completely, thinking I could not climb to the top while hyperventilating and crying, but large groups of hikers started passing us on the trails and with them a miraculous thing happened: the lizards scattered and hid. Following the crowds, the way back up was much easier, though certainly no less annoying for Bill who had to hear me question behind him every 5 seconds, "Do you see one? Do you see one? How about now? Now? What about now?" 

Somehow he didn't strangle me or push me off the edge. 

In fact, we made it up to the first look-out point, a mile and a half in, still pretty happy. 

We got closer to the falls, and at one point stood next to them, feeling the water spraying onto our faces. At this point I was pretty tired, but worse was my right knee which was going from an uncomfortable stiffness to  an aching pain pretty quickly. Soon I started favoring my left leg, which by the time we got to the top, was in pain as well. 

There were several points I thought I'd let Bill continue alone, but I persevered, knowing I'd probably regret it on the way back down. 

Bill's favorite part of this story, which I'm loathed to tell, is that he was hopeful that when we got to the top, I'd realize it was all worth it while overlooking the valley floor. Sadly, my response looking down was, "That wasn't worth it." Yes, I sound like a terrible person, and I surely am for ruining my love's adventure, but to my defense I was in a lot of pain and the view wasn't as majestic as it was from other parts of the hike. Even Bill agreed that looking down was not nearly as wondrous as looking up.  

On the way down, I was possibly even more of a mess, trying to move my crippled knees over the sliding rock trail and fighting off an emerging migraine. Extremely grateful to see the valley floor again, we sluggishly went back to our camp site where I crashed for several hours before even showering myself off. 

Bill however, finally got to enjoy a little Yosemite without a crippled, lizard-freaked girl by his side and went to take some pretty glorious pictures of Half Dome in the setting sun. 


Stay tuned for Days 4, 5, and 6 coming up shortly! Don't worry, there won't be more hiking and Megan doesn't ruin anything more! 

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