Yosemite National Park

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Flag of United States  , California
Sunday, August 29, 2010

So we left Lake Tahoe and drove to Yosemite National Park. Again the views were great and obviously got a bit more woody and mountainy as we went along. There were many houses dotted around in plains and in the middle of the woods etc. We found the campsite and parked up in our spot and got out the tent we had bought in Lake Tahoe. We set up camp pretty easily and then went to get some food, beer, fire wood etc from the camp shop. We got a good few beers, some hot dogs, baps and chicken or something and some firewood. That's how you camp! We had a chill at the campsite making sure all food was put in the bear proof metal box. Was a little unnerving to think a bear might just come down and savage us although highly unlikely. We stayed up relatively late getting quite pissed and cooking hotdogs on our skewer things. They weren't bad to be fair if a little dodgy. But we had a good chuckle about various. It culminated in a log we were sitting on getting put onto the fire to stoke it up for a few more hours but us not realising it was pretty and it went up like a bloody beacon! We thought we would have a forest fire on our hands if we weren't careful or at least have the ranger on our case shortly for a fairly hefty safety hazard! Pretty paranoid we stayed up for a bit to make sure it died out to a satisfactory level but at the same time got paranoid about the bears again. Plays with your mind does the darkness in the woods. Too much Blair Witch crap going on in your head.

Anyway next day after a decent nights sleep we went off to Bridalveil Falls after we went to the shop to get some drinks etc to rehydrate. We stopped off at a lookout over Half Dome and then drove up and parked there and walked up to the falls. They were really great but it took a little bit of scrambling to get right up to the top. It had like 2-3 layers with a falls then further up a plunge pool type thing with falls on top of that so it was really nice. We spent a bit of time chilling at the top and taking photos etc and then scrambled back down, rather precariously I might add, to get back to the car. We decided after the to go to the Inspiration Point Walk which was mentioned in the book.

Now this is where it got more interesting and quite scary. We parked up and took some photos from the car park across the valley with the massive rocks in the background with forest below. We tried a couple of places to try and find the walk we were supposed to go on and eventually found that it was across the road in the little carpark and nothing more than a small zig zagged dirt track into the woods. It didn't look like any kind of official walkway at all and took us away from the main crowd and there wasn't anybody else coming our way either. So we trudged, zig zagged and traversed our way up into the woods in the heat and were getting more and more paranoid as we got higher above the road and with each snap of a twig we heard. There be bears in this thar country and we were starting to know it. We saw some droppings on the path which were full of berry's which, although we never spoke about it, I thought could possibly have come from a bear that was somewhere near. Regardless we carried on. It took about 45minutes of walking to get somewhere near the top. We had walked past another path which was more official and crossed our path going down towards the road further down. The old rusty sign on that said straight up so we went. Then we kind of came to a semi clearing and the signs seemed to disappear. At this point I think we were both a little concerned. I could hear a noise that I thought was a bear growling. I asked Blaise to listen and he said he heard it too. It wasn't just one of those trick of the wind jobs, it was definitely something. So after all that effort, sweat and time we decided it best to go back as we had no idea which way Inspiration Point was, maybe this was the point we needed the inspiration, some sort of self fulfilling prophecy etc but we both didn't want to get any further into the woods as something bad could have happend.

So we both walked back down and were always having a look around and then again even more concerned by any break in the branches. Blaise was bloody knackered too while I was doing a passable power walking impression so Blaise kept asking me to wait for hi. Plenty of fags and lack of exercise don't do much for hill walking. As we were walking back down we were just talking away and I was kind of waiting for Blaise then I looked up and saw this full blown bear munching in the this tree about 30 metres away or so. Now apparently you're suppose to make some noise to try and scare bears away and jump about and shout and all that business. You definitely don't run from them. But I didn't want to draw any attention to us at all and hoped he wouldn't really see us so I just said the immortal line of 'Fuck! That's a bear!' turned round and me and Blaise walked back up the hill as quickly as possible. To say that I was shitting myself is an understatement. I don't think I've ever been that scared in my life. I've been scared of stuff before but this was a real possibility we could have been in life threatening danger, with no one around really and if the bear did fancy it we would have no chance. We walked back up and tried to think of what to do. Seeing as there was now definitely a bear below us and potentially at least one bear above us we walked back up to the other path we had crossed earlier and decided to walk down this to try and get back onto the road. The sign said 2 miles so we knew we had to walk a fair bit to get out. This was another of the worst hours of my life. I was crapping myself every step just trying to take my mind off things as we walked even further into nowhere and above the road and into paths which didn't look like they had been walked down for many a year. There were fallen trees across the path at various intersections and I was just waiting for a moment when we would encounter another bear on the path and it would definitely see us! Luckily we managed to walk all the way down this steadily declining path until we reached the road. I've never been so happy to feel tarmac under my feet. But then as we were walking along the road back up to the carpark we saw a bear in the woods below us too. Eventually we got back to the carpark and got back in the car and vowed not to venture off the beaten track again!

After this we still had some sights to see so we ventured up to Glacier Point to get some photos of Half Dome the big rock mountain for sunset and went back to the campsite to enjoy a well earned beer. Unfortunately we got back too late for the shop to be open so we had some crisps and about 2 beers and went to bed. Blaise left the tent open so we bloody froze all night aswell. What a day!

Next day we ventured off to Lake Isabella.....
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