Tuesday, June 25th – Wednesday, June 26th, 2013
After unloading everything from the bear locker back into the van, we took Route 120 down to Yosemite Valley. We drove in a tunnel in which everyone honked their car horns through, so we joined in on the fun. Listening to the horns echo throughout the tunnel was just one of those tiny, insignificant joys in life you experience that brings a smile to your face. Everyone was excited to be in Yosemite National Park. There was congested chaos as tourists gathered for photo ops at every scenic overlook. Our excitement built when we saw El Capitan and Bridalveil Falls in the distance, which we’d get a closer look at later in the day.
Once we found a place to park, we walked around the village, and got to see Yosemite Falls and Half Dome for the first time before heading to the visitor’s center.
We caught their national park film before asking a ranger for suggestions on places nearby to hike. Out of the suggestions, we decided to go with the 6-mile roundtrip hike to and from Nevada Falls. Before starting our journey, we got our fill of calories in the van and ditched some layers since the valley was much warmer than the campground we were just at. The shuttle dropped us off at the trailhead and we were excited to enjoy the views.
It was a challenging hike with very slippery uneven steps at the end closer to the falls. The scenery was amazing!
After returning to the valley, we checked out lower Yosemite Falls which was incredibly crowded. Since we missed the shuttle to El Capitan and the next one wasn’t for another 30 minutes, we decided just to drive there ourselves before returning to White Wolf Campground.
The next morning, we made a few stops at some overlooks, one of them having a good view of Half Dome.
An older man who worked for the Yosemite Conservancy showed us all the hikers climbing Half Dome through a telescope. Next time we come to Yosemite, we need to be sure to get our permits to hike Half Dome, it looks like a lot of fun. Our next stop was Lembert Dome Trailhead. When we reached the top, we were rewarded with an incredible 360-degree view!
It was time to go, so we took US-395, briefly getting off track on the not-so-scenic loop near Mammoth Lake. We eventually arrived in Bishop, CA and checked out the outdoor shops once we parked in town. A lady in a power chair told us that she liked us as we waited by a traffic light to cross the street. We were both a little confused since this was our first time meeting and the conversation never continued from there, but it brightened our day regardless.
We got directions to the Buttermilks since we were thinking about giving bouldering a try, then grabbed something to eat at “Raymond’s Deli”. We headed to the Buttermilks after filling up on food, but our van was starting to overheat in a bad way. We decided to skip out on bouldering and searched for a place to stay the night. The van was struggling with the desert heat and in order to keep the engine cool, we had to crank up the heat inside the van which felt like an inferno even with the windows down.
We eventually found a place to sleep called Pleasant Valley Campground, and found a nice sight next to the stream. As we took a stroll around camp, we saw a family of quail run in front of us. The mosquitoes and ants were really awful near our site, so we decided to move the van further away from the water. Our new site was a little less buggy and although the heat was bad overnight, the stars were shining bright.
Jump Ahead to Part 58: Joshua Trees, Dead Fish & Space Ships
Start Over at Part 01: The Blue Bubble, Freebies & A Rude Awakening