Day 1 of 2 in Yosemite

I woke up around five feeling refreshed. With everyone else still sleeping, I was able to take a nice hot shower. After using over 40 different showers across Spain I have learned that there are only three things a shower needs – some privacy, hot water, and water pressure. Everything else is just frosting. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the showers in Half Dome Village have a lot of frosting. There were no bugs, which I was wholly expecting since we’re in the woods, there was a private changing area with hooks so I could actually hang my things, and the water pressure was better than average. I think before the Camino I would have been a bit disappointed with these showers but now, I am quite content. Most of the camp was still asleep by the time we were up and moving so Brian and I went for coffee.As we walked to the cafeteria in the quiet early morning, it was hard not to be moved by the beauty that surrounded us. To our left was Glacier Point which tops out around 10,00 feet. The sun was slowly creeping down its rocky ledge. Just behind us was the dawn wall of Half Dome, and in front of us was Yosemite Falls which is the largest waterfall in the county and fifth in the entire world.Since breakfast wasn’t available yet, we walked about a mile to Yosemite Valley. We walked through campgrounds, passed Merced River, and crossed beautiful green meadows.

After a nice hot breakfast at Dugnan’s cafe, sitting outside overlooking the waterfall, we passed the post office and strolled through the cemetery.

As we approached Lower Yosemite Fall we could hear the dull roar. We walked around the corner and there it was. Because we arrived so early in the morning there were only a few people around. According to Sun Bear, by noon, the hike here would be a line of people all the way back from camp. We took lots of cool pictures, lounged on the rocks and tried to stay of the insanely cute but plague filled squirrels.The more we walked the better our view was. We couldn’t get enough pictures.

We also took a tour of the museum and learned all about galciers, climate change and the type of animals that live at different altitudes. Of course it had the famous picture of John Muir standing with Teddy Rosevelt on Glacier Point. It was at this time that Muir convince Rosevelt that nature’s beauty needs to be protected. And so began what we know today as National parks. Pretty cool!

I also just learned that four people died a few years ago from the rat feces in my campsite. Hopefully it’s cleaner now!

We’ve been lucking out avoiding the crowds. We seem to be two steps ahead of everyone else. It pays to get up early here. I’ve never seen more people in one place than I saw when we arrive yesterday afternoon. Today though, we always seem to be in the right place at the right time.The highlight of our day was the four hour bus tour the four of us took together. It was hot by noon so we welcomed the air conditioned bus. Our bus driver was awesome! She’s been working in Yosemite for 25 years, knows everything about the park and has a killer personality. We learned so many fascinating facts about Yosemite. If you come to Yosemite, take the glacier point tour. Buy your tickets well in advance though because it books up days/weeks in advance.

…Oh my God the view. I have never in my life seen a view like Glacier Point’s. We could see multiple water falls, half dome, and even the John Muir Trail where we will be hiking on Tuesday. It was impossible to take it all in. I stood there for an hour in awe. You must see this. And for the first time since I started planning my trip almost a year ago, I felt immense gratitude for the opportunity to hike this trail. I realized that I am going to see parts of this world that the majority of people will never get to experience. What an honor. I’m SO sorry I can’t share my pictures with you.

If that wasn’t enough, on our long ride back down the mountain, the bus driver whipped off the road and pulled into the scenic stop, Tunnel View. We arrived just at the perfect time to see a giant rainbow glowing off Bridal Veil fall. It only happens for a few minutes each day and our timing was just right.

We also got to see the Ribbon Fall which is the tallest single fall in all of North America. It’s over 1,600 feet high.

We finished off the evening with a nice dinner at the Mountain restaurant and then listened to stories of the Buffalo Soldiers, the black enlisted men charged with protecting Yosemite. By the time we walked back to our tents in the dark, Brian and I had walked over ten miles.

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