Yosemite - Friday, June 11, 1999

Well this is going to be an adventure; I've lost my reading glasses. I think I left them in the shower room. When I leave the park tomorrow, I'll check back. Otherwise, I'll have to buy some new ones at the Yosemite Store.

That aside, what a great day. This was a rest day from riding. I slept in my tent for the first time on the soft pine needle floor of Yosemite Valley. Slept 11 hours straight. When I got up, it was really too late to begin a climb to Half Dome. I opted for theYosemite Falls hike. I stowed my bike in my tent and walked all the way across the Valley, about 3 miles, to the trailhead. The hike itself was about 7 miles and took til early evening. (see pics below) All the falls in the park are spectacular right now. They've had a wet spring and that's what's pouring over the edges. Yosemite Falls is the pride and joy of the park. There are two parts to it, Upper and Lower. The walk to the base of the Lower Falls is a little "tourist" walk. The hike to the top of the Upper Falls is more serious (see pictures below). I keep saying pictures don't do this place justice, and then I keep taking pictures.
Upper Falls is 2485 ft. above the floor of the Valley. The climb to it is spectacular in itself, much of it along a sheer granite face. It takes no special equipment, just some good fortitude and the ability to get past the games your mind wants to play ("Quit this NOW!") At the top of the falls, you can lie down on the rocks next to the river just before it shoots out into the Valley 2500 ft. below. You can hear the roar, but you can also feel the entire mountain vibrate. You think all kinds of thoughts as you watch that water sweep over the edge, mostly along the lines of "What a way to go." (the latent bodysurfer in me.)
I was filthy dirty and really tired by the time I got down. Took the shuttle bus back to my campground, then bike over to Curry Village (as far as I can tell, Yupster Heaven) for a shower and a pizza. I knew this was the case, but I'm saying it again; when you live closer to the elements it's absolutely amazing what being clean and having a full stomach can do to your outlook on life. Now think of the millions of children, let alone adults, around this world who go to bed dirty and hungry every single night.
I'm now writing at my picnic table next to my tent. It's pitch black (and I mean PITCH black out). The air is cool and crisp. I'm in the backpackers' section of the campground; most people are in their tents already.
Bear threat is very real here. Every campsite has a "bear box" and it is your responsibility to put any and all of your food in the box each night.The box has an intricate latch that is kept shut with a clip device that needs an opposable thumb; that rules out all bears except Yogi (and hes just looking for a little pick-a-nick anyway). Every trash can in the park is kept shut with a caribiner, and they post bear reports on all the bulletin boards, letting you know of the latest sightings.
I haven't run into a single other bicycle tourer yet on the trip. I thought I'd see a few here. Road kill yesterday: 2 (they must clean up on the way to the park).
No real miles to speak of today, just around the park a little.
I will leave the park tomorrow without having climbed Half Dome. In light of the time and the energy it would have taken, I must postpone it for another time. I have new respect for what my Dad did. Sisters, correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Dad make that climb wearing old wingtips? There was no such thing as Nike or Adidas back then. I got a small blister just hiking the falls today, wearing a good pair of Adidas.

Lower and Upper Falls
Lower and Upper Yosemite Falls, the pride of Yosemite National Park

Half Dome
Half Dome from a viewpoint about 1/3 of the way to the top.

Upper Falls View
Looking over the top of Upper Falls. Wow!!!

Leap of Faith
Christians have to take what is called a "leap of faith". I think this picture physically embodies it. Would you walk out around that railing? (I did...)

Worth It
And it was worth it. This is looking pretty much straight down the Upper Falls. You can see where the stream trails away to go over the edge to become the Lower Falls.

Upper Falls and Half Dome
From the Upper Falls trail, a view of the falls and Half Dome at the other end of the valley.

A rocky trail
Two years ago I had double reconstructive ankle surgery. I took a 7-hr. hike today over this trail with no ankle supports or medication. Thank you, Drs. Santangelo and Felske. Janine, this picture is for you.

A beautiful hike
Another shot of a beautiful hike.

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