Saturday, 15 April 2006

Top Of The World ...

9 April - Well, it appear that my theory about a comfortable sleeping arrangement within the veeheecle was not so accurate. . I'd pulled the back seats down and hopedto stretch out through the boot. Unfortunately with the esky in the way and the floor of the boot being as hard as rock and the fact that it was below freezing outside (my australian purchased sleeping bag is not for four seasons) made for a not so well rested sax in the morning. At least when I woke up at 2am busting to relieve myself the shock of going outside was not so bad because it was already freezing inside the car. Blasted the heat on the air conditioning and Neil Young on the stereo and ate some oranges and granola bars to get my strength up before heading down into the core of the park to find something to see. The visitors centre suggested that the toughest hike that was open (unfortunatetly Half dome is closed for the winter and the sequoia trail was also apparntly closed because of snow) was up to Nevada Falls. My go to guide warned me that Yosemite is always crowded and it wasn't wrong - obviously mainly american but lots of Mexicans and a scattering of other nations - but the sheer number of people was pretty overwhelming. Managed to park the car near Curry Village then took a shuttle to the beginning of the trail and it wasn’t long before I was powering up the trail towards the peak. The scenery was pretty awe inspiring - i've certainly seen big mountains before and done long hikes before but there are the gigantic sheer granite cliff faces are pretty mind boggling. I was quite grateful for the fact that it was one of the more strenuous climbs because it soon winnowed out the weaker walkers and I found myself alone for long stretches. I know i'm in one of the most famous parks in the world and I was prresented with some of the most spectacular views i've ever seen but really, for me, when it comes down to it, it's all about the walking. I love walking up mountains, it doesn't have to have a great view at the top (although it certainly helps), but there's nothing better than a good uphill trek. Nearing the top the trail became completely swamped with snow and it was pretty difficult to know which direction to go but still I eventually fund my way to the top (you just keep on climbing up until a trail appears) where I was buffeted by wind and snow and I started to freeze (you kind of forget how cold it is when you're climbing up). Was joined by an american couple who also made it up there and we tried to find the trail that continued down and we followed a set of tracks in the snow for about half an hour before they disappeard completely. By this stage the snow was up to three feet deep in places so we decided to head back the way we came. Eventually got back to Yosemite village and I was cold and wet and there was no way in hell that I was going to sleep in the car again that night so I got in touch with the yosemite Bug hostel and drove out there (it took ages to actually exit the park because a wolf was blocking the road, he kept on running from one side of the road to thje other and every car was stopped in order to get a picture of him- I could tell because there were constant camerca flashes and after wei eventually pased him it turned out there was no other road obstruction besides the pesky canine). The hostel was about 25m west of the park and upon arrival I had a much needed shower, shave and meal (the first steak i've eaten in ages and it was actually pretty good although it would have been nicer if i'd had my mum th'ere to cut it for me). As luck would have it dennis, the seattelite who i'd met in san francisco was there for a course he was doing (we'd had a vague discusion about me giving him a lift to yosemite but i'd left the previous day and all was forgiven luckily - he's very nice, 20, so he couldn’t shar a beer with me but he keeps on telling me how horrible charley will smell now that he's gotten a bit wet, how bad he will itch in a few weeksm how atrophied my previously bulging right gun will be when he comes off - are you trying to make conversation or are you just bitter about your old war wound??) and I also met a couple of old hippie ladies who suggested I take a mime course in maine if make it there, when I explained that mime wasn't really my thing she told me about some friends of hers who did pupppet shows, maybe that was more my thing. Yes, maybe.

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