The world holds many extraordinary places to marvel at and, owing to our many travels, we have had the good fortune to dwell in various interesting surroundings.
One such trip took us for the second time to San Francisco in June of 2015 where we rented a car to drive East towards Yosemite National Park with the purpose of spending 3-4 days hiking, running and altogether enjoying the mountains.
Revealing a gem
Having no real clue about this place (other than it being worth the proverbial – and understated – extra mile), I half expected to drive into a beautiful wildlife nature reserve, only larger and more impressive.
Little did I know I was about to be stunned…
As we entered the grounds under a leaden sky, I did not expect to feel overcome with emotion and utter awe.
It wasn’t so much the view, especially as the weather wasn’t particularly welcoming and all I could glimpse were endless rows of trees, but there was something ever so magical and which inspired the utmost respect.
I was left speechless as my eyes filled with tears of gratitude at being granted this gift, the meanders of which would leave us longing for more…
A lynx, bambi, hundreds of chickarees and…
Day one had us hike around Tenaya Creek, a mountain lion habitat.
Exactly… and the signpost requesting visitors to behave accordingly prompted me to grab the first large stick I found!
Day 2 was sheer delight, for the most part.
It was a warm and beautiful day, the sun dancing high in the sky and promising to beam down on us without restraint.
With runoff peaking round about that time of year, we were spot on time to enjoy the unequalled beauty of Yosemite waterfalls which go completely dry by August.
We started our ascent from Swinging Bridge up towards Glacier Point, alternating running and walking at a brisk pace, both of us eager to reach the top.
Not only were we curious as to the scenery, but we were also excited at the prospect of shaking the legs out on our way back down.
Feast your eyes
Vast and spectacular, wild, fierce, harsh, and yet so close to home, radiating light and boundless energy, Glacier Point swept us off our feet.
We hung around for while, taking it all in (Half Dome, Liberty Cap, Nevada Fall…), before hitting Panorama trail, which would take us downhill.
… a twist
The delightful run was extremely short-lived as only minutes had gone by when Oli collapsed a few metres ahead of me.
Not exactly sure what had happened, and with the injury crippling my husband’s foot, we made our way back up to Glacier Point and all the way down again to the valley.
The numbness and shock no doubt contributed to making the almost 10km descent possible and little short of miraculous.
I have to say I felt completely helpless – and hopeless – and those sensations were not about to subside.
After a quick stop at the Medical Clinic, leaving us none the wiser due to insurance regulations, Oli managed to drive the car back to our lodging some 70 kilometres off the outskirts of the park.
In the course of the drive, he insisted on taking me to the giant sequoia trees in Mariposa Grove on the next day. Under the circumstances, this extraordinary and selfless proposition, added to my general stupor and, needless to say, would have to wait…
In a bit of a pickle
As we pondered over our predicament – further enhanced by my inability to drive – we connected to the Ginger Runner‘s Patreon Crew Live Show. For once, we were in the right time zone and were able to reach him for advice.
He forwarded our ‘cry for help’ through Twitter which put us in touch with several very sympathetic people (Tim Tollefson, Ally McLemore, …) offering both practical information and uplifting words.
We were dumbfounded by the support, tips and offers to help we received from people one would normally refer to as ‘strangers’. Many thanks!
The following day was a complete and total mess!
We spent endless hours at the closest community care centre, exchanged numerous messages, made countless telephone calls, explained the muddle we were in time and over again only to find ourselves in other absurd situations.
By the end of the day, being thrown into Hilton Garden Inn was an unexpected treat and helped soothe our frayed nerves, sinking us into temporary oblivion… 😉
May we meet again
Far from disheartening us, these events teach, touch and tantalize us.
Should we visit again, if only to make our peace and finish what we started, we would expect nothing less than to have our arses kicked again 😉
With its cougars, bears, lynxes, coyotes, racoons, fawns, snakes, bats… set in the wilds of the mountains, forests, lakes, groves… and basking in absolute communion with the Universe, Yosemite National Park is indisputably a pearl in the oyster we call planet Earth.