I made a vague promise to continue the story from where I left off in Vegas in my last post – dammit, that was a bad idea, because Vegas already seems like a distant memory.
It’s officially been two weeks since I touched USA soil and so far, so great! I’ve met a lot of cool people, but what I’ve most enjoyed is catching up with the two great people I met over a year ago at Byron Bay Bluesfest, Katelijne and Taylor and meeting Katelijne’s boyfriend, Yves.
We made the itinerary for our first month in the US months ago, and after Vegas our next stop on the map was Yosemite National Park. We were all a little apprehensive about going to Yosemite because of a virus that has killed several visitors to the park in the last five months or so, but we were all pretty keen to see Yosemite and figured that as long as we took the appropriate precautions we would be alright – considering how many people visit the park annually, the percentage of deaths is well below 1%.
After a pretty late breakfast at the hotel and one more walk through a gambler’s paradise, we jumped in the car and headed down another highway toward Yosemite. The landscape changed gradually and was, for the most part, beautiful. It went from the tacky lights of Vegas, to desert, shrubs, rocky outcrops and eventually sequoia forest. We stopped for one night in a little town called Bishop which had ridiculously good food for such a tiny place. Seriously, this place (Upper Crust) has some of the best pizza I have had in my life! I gave them extra points for their willingness to use different ingredients, such as broccoli. There was also a really nice bakery in the town called Schat’s Bakery that can only be described as delicious. The whole place was covered wall to wall and aisle to aisle in biscuits, breads, gelato, Halloween inspired treats, gourmet cheeses and sweet things. While we were there someone actually collapsed and an ambulance was called, I’m not surprised – it was a pretty overwhelming experience, luckily she was okay and talking within about five-ten minutes.
After our night in Bishop we arrived at Yosemite at a decent hour and scored one of the final camping sites available. It was a beautiful warm night and we cooked a campfire dinner that would definitely pass as a decent home cooked meal. We met a few of the other campers and planned out our following day, which promised to deliver some pretty intense muscle cramps and funky body odour.
We woke up kind of early (around 6.45 ish from memory), ate bread and cheese for breakfast and then set off. Whilst the rest of the group chose to do the Panorama trail, I really wanted to feel a bit of a burn in my legs and decided to do the Upper Falls trail, which promised some pretty intense switchbacks (zig-zaggy pathways), steep climbs and a ridiculous amount of sun exposure. I set off before the sun was really intense and began a climb that lasted a decent 2.5 hours. The whole way up I was completely paranoid that a bear would come ambling along my path and attack me, so I basically didn’t stop the whole way up and gulped my lunch down with my back to the cliff face (VERY PARANOID). I think I was a little too paranoid, because I made it to the top way in advance of the average time the park suggested and even had the thought “can’t stop, bear’s gonna eat me” running through my head for at least two hours of the climb. After about two hours of complete solitude I found myself addressing squirrels as they crossed my path, and, well it basically served as a good example of why I should never live alone…or own more than one cat…
So once I made it to the top I lolled around in the sun for a decent hour, jumped in the stagnant water a bit and took a few photos. I was worried that the rest of the group would return back to camp before me and stress that I hadn’t made it back so I basically ran back down to camp only to discover that they weren’t there. I saw another camper who I vaguely recognised from the previous night and went over to talk with him, after talking for a few minutes and mentioning that I had found the Upper Falls trail only moderate he suddenly became intensely interested in me, and invited me out for a drink. He was a nice guy but pretty much a fitness addict and we spent about two hours talking about rock climbing, carbohydrates in alcohol and food allergies. After we went out for a drink we returned to the campsite and the others arrived shortly after, bearing gifts of ingredients for dinner. We made another rocking curry and kicked back around the campfire for a few hours talking American politics, the health system and everything in between.
A few other campers were hanging around and one particularly quirky guy, who was eating cold chunky beef soup straight from the can, hung around too and talked to us for most of the night.
This one blog entry is becoming ridiculously long, so I might stop for now! Right now I’m in San Francisco at Taylor’s place and we just spent a few days at Tay’s parents where I tried Buffalo wings for the first time and met her lovely and hilarious Granny who told us at one point that she had friends in Brooklyn, paused for a second and then said, ‘oh no, they’re all dead’. I’ll write another post soon about Sacramento, eating delicious food at Tay’s, having a knife pulled on us in Old Sacramento and everything in between.