On July 4th weekend I knocked an item off of my bucket list: visit Yosemite.
The park is huge and magnificent with spectacular views.
I met up with a couple of friends on Friday morning and headed out from Los Angeles to NorCal. We swung by an REI store in Fresno to pick up some camping gear, spent the night at a motel, and drove up to Yosemite the following morning.
We were greeted with the thick smell of trees (which was somewhat dusty) upon entering the park grounds.
Our plan was to backpack and camp out after hiking Upper Yosemite Falls. Prior to the trip, Ann (who suggested we go that weekend) and I agreed to run every day leading up to the excursion.
But none of our efforts mattered.
Upper Yosemite Falls is a 3.2-mile hike (one way) with a gain of about 3,000 feet. We weren’t too concerned with the gain and paid more attention to “3.2 miles.”
The hike was intense, and with or without our physical preparation, we plunged into a pool of ice cold water when we trekked that trail.
With backpacks containing clothes, tents, water, food, and all our camping gear on our shoulders (and of course I have to note that the heavier items were in the guys’ bags), it took us more than three hours to get to the top. Virtually the entire trail was on incline and there were a seemingly endless number of switchbacks.
Toward the end we were all huffing and puffing, wet with sweat, and taking breaks every five to 10 minutes.
By the time we reached the end of the trail the sun had already begun setting.
With lights strapped across our foreheads, we went out in search for fire pits. (Park regulations prohibit visitors from creating their own fire pits. We had to camp where ones were already made.) My friends Kevin and Sean found one, and we began setting up there.
As the sun made its way below the horizon, temperatures dipped so we all slipped into jackets and sweaters. There was nobody else in the area except the five of us, which was actually kind of nice.
In setting up, Kevin and Sean started the fire, Ann and I assembled the tents, and Shikynah got spaghetti started for dinner. Kevin also created a perimeter around trees surrounding the campsite in case any bears or animals approached while we slept.
As we prepared for dinner and sleep, some lost hikers found us. There was a guy and a girl. The girl was wearing a tank top and shorts, and since it was already dark she was cold. We gave them water, some spaghetti, and cookies, and they huddled up near the fire for a bit. Ann helped them find where two of his friends were settled (closer to Yosemite Point). Then we had some dinner, s’mores, spent some time chatting about how exhausted we were, and called it a night.
To be continued next Tuesday 🙂