We awoke around 5am, still on east coast time. The bus ride to the Yosemite area was pretty uneventful though we did pass some beautiful vineyards that reminded me fondly of Spain. Apparently this area is also known for its olives, avacados and citrus fruit. Just outside of the park we met up with Sun Bear, an AT hiker Bear knows. Sun Bear has a typical Appalachian Trail story. He was an engineer, holed the AT and decided he didn’t want to live like that anymore. So he quit his job and now works six months out of the year doing trail maintenance and travels and volunteers for the other half of the year. Brian is the only thru hiker he knows who kept his job after returning. Meeting with Sun Bear was great because he spent the day showing us around and giving us lots of helpful information. He told us we are at the perfect time to see every type of wild flower on the trail. Water is plentiful which means we won’t have to carry as much with us. Trout fishing is also fantastic so we are glad we brought a fly rod. On the down side, bugs are really bad this time of year so hopefully we brought enough deet. We also learned more about just how smart and aggressive the bears are. Apparently mamma bears bring their babies with them when they go after bear canisters so the little ones learn. He said there are now about four generations of bears who can indeed get into bear canisters. We also learned that Yosemite national park is the deadliest park in the country. Five people have died just in the last month! He also told us what it was like getting the park ready last week when Presudent Obama and his family came. They put in extra cell phone towers and did all kinds of things to beef up security. He got to help the secret service secure the area. He was pretty excited about it. We also talked about how for the last four years, there hasn’t been a ton of snow in the sierras. So now people are unprepared for this year’s harsher temperatures. Brian shared with us an article about how there is an increasing problem with people tracking into the woods with nothing more than an app to guide them. More and more people are needing to be rescued because they lack map/compass skills and they’re not evening carrying them! I’ve taken some map and compass classes so bows my chance to put those skills to use. I got to see sequoia trees! We didn’t go to sequoia national park outside of Fresno but Sun Bear knows of a small sequoia forest near Yoaimite. The trees are 3-4000 years old and they’re absolutely enormous. We took a nice one mile hike to see them. Yosemite is beautiful. We saw Half Dome from afar (which we do not have permits to climb) and some waterfalls. Traffics in Yosimite is insane. It took us hours to get to get to Half Dome Village through the valley. Now I know why you need a permit to hike and why they’re so difficult to get. As Brian was standing in line to register at Half Dome Village, I waited outside. In perfect timing, Stephen and Rachel showed up on the next bus! Hey were tired when they arrived but in good spirits. We were happy to find out that of the 500 tents here, our two tents were right next door to each other! We all went out to dinner, ran a few errands at the local stores and went to bed early. I’m going to try to stay on east coast time so we can hike early in the morning.
Unfortunately my friends, I am not able to post pictures for some reason. I’m afraid I may not be able to share with you all these amazing views until I return. 🙁