So day 2 began with a bang (or a bleurgh technically) and the boys decided they would carry all of my bags so I could stumble feebly along with only my own body weight to slow me down. There were tears. There was more puking. And there was a lot of grumpusing. In fact I’m not sure how they put up with me but they did, and we had been hiking a steady uphill climb for several hours when it dawned on us that we hadn’t seen another human being since Lord of the Flies kid. Was this normal? Were we on the wrong path? Had WWIII happened and we missed it???
Well as it turns out, the path we took down the hill with the fallen trees had been closed earlier that day due to the obvious danger and inconvenience. Except when we went to pick up our bear canisters from the main cabin and told the rangers about our route THEY SAID NOTHING. And of course when we later asked why they figured we would see the downed trees and realize it was a no go zone and turn back. They clearly underestimated our bravery/stupidty.
We may not have seen any bears (or people), but that didn’t stop us constantly jumping at strange shaped rocks and rustling in the trees. Day 2 brought a lot of unwelcome wildlife. The mosquitos were feasting on a few members of the group (my veins run pure chocolate and I don’t think mosquitos are partial to chocolate so I was spared) and we had several run ins with rattlesnakes. The first one I almost stepped on. It was only when I heard the hiss and saw it rear back it’s head that I realized I was about to be feasted on by something worse than a mosquito. I ran forward, bowling the others over, and then immediately started going through the scenarios in my head. What if it had bit me…..there’s no civilization for many (uphill) miles……there was no phone signal…..I would be toast!! We clung together a little closer after that, and it wasn’t long until we had our second encounter. We were about to cross a bridge when we noticed the mother of all rattlesnakes was chillin at the other end…..daring us to cross its path. Seemed like a good time to take a break!! None of us were up for the challenge, especially in a poorly chosen arena such as a rickety bridge, so we waited. And waited. Eventually it slithered off and we were free to cross. With caution of course.
After many arguments about where to camp that night (mainly me whining about not going any further) we settled in a great place by the river and I’m happy to say I managed to keep all of my dinner down that night.
Day 3 brought several deer sightings and finally, some people! We were nearing a campsite that was populated with visitors and so people were taking day hikes from there towards where we were. By this time, it felt like we had been in the wilderness for months, not days. We were desperate for real food and a shower. How do people do those cross country hikes where they do this for months?!! I was so ready to be sat on the couch with a cuppa watching some TV.
We were climbing a rocky hill when ahead of us we saw a man leading some mules. However, one of the mules had decided he didn’t want to go any further (I felt his pain) and the man was struggling to control his steed. He requested that I throw a small stone at the mules bum to get it moving. Not something I ever imagined would be requested of me but I suppose these weren’t your average circumstances. I didn’t have much choice since they were blocking our path, so after a few crappy mis-throws (I’m athletically challenged OK?!) I finally got him on the back leg and this was enough to spur him on up the rest of the hill.
When we got to the populated camp-site, we realized that I had in fact just helped the man and his mules deliver food to the little shop there. More importantly, to deliver MARS BARS. Double victory. I felt I deserved a free one for my stone throwing skills. Nobody else agreed. Regardless, we were happy to have some real food and a proper camp site to spend our final night in and the place (Glen Aulin) was beautiful.
The final day and our trek back to the car should have been easy. It was fairly flat and a straight shot but the map didn’t show that a lot of that ‘easy’ trek was through sand and it also failed to mention that the signs in the park are LIARS. We passed a sign that said ‘2 Miles to The Stables’ which was our final destination, however we must have walked 4 or 5 miles before we got to the car. When we did eventually get to the car, victorious, we looked like the kid we had passed at the beginning of our trip. Dirty, exhausted, pissed off at the lying signs, ready for some home comfort and a good night’s sleep.
I have written about 4000 words about this trip and have neglected to mention so far the one thing that made all of the puke, sweat and tears worth it. The scenery. The incredible beauty that is Yosemite National Park with its waterfalls, mountains, valleys and peaks, I saw some of the most amazing sights I will ever see in my life. I was spurred on every morning by the promise of what views that day would bring and I was never disappointed. They say childbirth is the easiest pain to forget, I feel the same way about hiking. It hurts and I complain most of the time but by the end of it, I’m ready to go again because a lot of the time, the only way to see these awesome sights is to scramble, claw and push your way towards it.
Massive thanks to my fellow Goonies (Daniel, Gavin, Jackie and Becca) for the adventure of a lifetime. Who’s ready to go back???? I promise I will train and carry my own bags…..
Here’s a short video my brother made documenting the trip (Warning: Strong Language) and some pictures.