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Happy Isles

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    • Day 22

      Yosemite Valley

      September 22, 2017 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 10 °C

      Wir waren uns einig, dass wir die ganzen Höhenmeter nicht wieder hochlaufen wollten nach Tuolumne Meadows mit dem gesamten Gepäck und dem Schnee, sondern die nächsten Tage lieber ein wenig mit Tagesausflügen verbringen, um dann mit dem Bus hochzufahren. Somit gingen wir heute ins bekannte Yosemite Valley, wo jeder Tourist herumgurkt, aber trotzdem in punkto Sehenswürdigkeiten einiges zu bieten hat. Wir wollten nachfragen wann der Bus nach Tuolumne fährt. Es war eine schöne Wanderung mit vielen Sehenswürdigkeiten. Neben dem wunderschönen Panorama sind uns auch noch ein Koyote und ein Hirsch vor das Objektiv gelaufen.
      Unten angekommen dann die Hiobsbotschaft. Der Bus fährt nicht, da die Tiago Road wegen Schnee gesperrt ist. Verdammt!! Aber unser Auto ist doch da oben.
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    • Day 2

      Randonnée au Mariposa Grove, Yosemite

      September 16, 2018 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 21 °C

      Aujourd’hui lever tôt après une bonne nuit de sommeil. En plus, bonne nouvelle : j’ai réussi à obtenir des billets pour faire l’ascension du Half Dome lundi. Ils offrent ces billets via une loterie en ligne afin de limiter l’accès tellement la demande est grande. Yé 😃

      En consultant des cartes et un site web que notre hôte AirBnB nous a donné, on décide de faire une randonnée au Mariposa Grove, situé juste à l’entrée du parc Yosemite avant d’aller établir notre campement au camping Upper Pines au cœur de la Yosemite Valley.

      Sur la route on a pu constater des traces d’un des incendies de forêts qui ont faits rage cet été en Californie. Un d’eux s’est approché jusqu’à la route meant au parc. Heureusement pour nous le parc est réouvert maintenant.

      Mariposa Grove grove abrite des séquoias géants et une série de sentiers tous justes rénovés y donne accès. Impressionnant de marcher à côté de ces géants pouvant atteindre plus de 2000 ans. Après cette randonnée de 13 km on a repris la route vers Yosemite Valley.

      On est arrêté prendre quelques photos à Tunnel View qui donne une vue superbe de la vallée et du fameux Half Dome. Ça donne une perspective de ce qu’on devra faire comme ascension demain 😳.

      Notre site de camping est pas si pire, mais c’est assez cordé serré. Les sites se sont tellement envolé rapidement quand j’ai fait la réservation que j’ai finalement, je me suis dit « fuck it » et j’ai juste choisi le premier suggéré par le système de réservation. Chacun des sites a un « bear box » pour y entreposer tout ce qui pourrait attirer les ours 🐻.

      Après avoir monté la tente on est allé explorer ce que les 2 épiceries de la vallée avaient à offrir et on s’est ramassé des provisions pour notre souper ce soir et dîner demain. On a pas de glacière alors faut se débrouiller. Au menu pour souper : nachos au poulet et une bière locale 🍺.

      Après souper on est retourné au Tunnel View pour une prise de vue avec le coucher du soleil. On a jasé avec un gars d’Hawaï qui nous a donné des recommandations pour un prochain voyage. On a prit des notes !
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    • Day 3

      The Half Dome Trek

      September 17, 2018 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 21 °C

      Wow. What a hike. I will remember this trek for the rest of my life.

      We start the day by getting up around 5:30am. It's still dark out but the stars are starting to fade. We have breakfast and pack our stuff as we know we have a big day ahead of us. It is an estimated 24km hike. I hesitate about how much water to bring, it is suggested to bring at least three liters for our trek. I fill my Camelback all the way to the top and we head off.

      I also make sure that I bring my kit for blisters; my boots are fairly new and I am worried that my feet will be a mess by the end of the day. Thankfully they survived ;)

      The beginning of the trek is very steep but surprisingly it is all paved. We head up about 3km on this climb until we see the first set of falls called Vernal falls. We continue for another 2km to reach the Nevada falls. This is where a kid wanted to take a selfie and died from a fall trying to take his selfie with the top of the falls.

      After these falls we have quite a hike to bring us to the half dome. Lots of stairs made from the rocks and loose rocks to climb. Once near half dome the climb is mostly on mountain bedrock. I'm am so glad we wore boots and brought our walking polls; at first I was hesitant as not many others had polls and almost everyone is wearing shoes. With all the rocks everywhere it must be hard on the feet for anyone in sneakers. I must remember not to always follow what others are doing and go with my gut.

      We start to get hungry for lunch but we told ourselves we would wait to get to the top. Speaking of hungry, we are lucky to see a bobcat with his fresh caught squirrel in his mouth. I always find it interesting that these cat have such a small tail. Getting closer to the half dome we are quite surprised. In my mind I understood that we had a permit for cable cars. We have done these in the past where you get into a "basket" and pull yourself to the other side. I must have misunderstood as there are no cable cars. We see people climbing the dome with a very steep incline by using 2 cables. I start to worry about how we will make it up the dome.

      Once we arrive at the dome we see more clearly how this will work. First everyone is wearing gloves... Shit I did not know we needed gloves for this. The bedrock is at a 75 degree angle. It's like going up a ladder and having to use 2 cables instead of steps walking directly on the bedrock. I am a bit worried because if you make a mistake you're dead. We need to go up this thing for about 150m. Thankfully as we get closer to the cables we see that there are gloves for everyone to use. We pick a pair and start the climb. After 20m we see stuff falling from others people's bags. I look at the falling object and think "shit, this could be me if I am not careful". The other challenge going up this thing is that people are also coming back down... We have to dance around each other while not trying to die. I was stressed. We are about 50 to 100 people going up and down. If one of us makes a mistake and starts falling it could be a disaster. Plus some people are super scared and stop all the time. When someone stops it makes everyone else have to stop. Thankfully we find a way to pass some folks as I do not want to stay hanging on the cables any longer than needed.

      We obviously make it safely up as I am writing this post. Once at the top, we find a spot and enjoy our well deserved lunch. After lunch we take a couple photos. Mom do not look at the pictures on the top. Our next challenge is going back down using those cables. It is quite the adventure. I decided to go down looking face first. Some decide to go down backwards but for some odd reason I felt better face first. Again we must perform the dance with people going up. I am sooooo glad I don't have to do that again. You get quite the adrenaline rush but I was still very scared to end my adventure going up that dome. I will resist the urge to go lookup any stats on deaths at this spot.

      Once back down the dome we start the return trek. My feet are already hurting but I do not seem to have any blisters. The return is usually tough for me. I enjoy going up mountains but am less enthusiastic about heading down. At the 3/4 mark I notice that I do not recognize this bridge that we just crossed. We look at the map and realize that we took a wrong turn. The trail we are on does head back down but is a longer walk. I blame this error on Ben as I am pretty sure he was in the front at that time but I am no better as I noticed to late. No harm done we just need to hold on until the bottom. The last part of the trek is hard on us as both our knees and feet are killing us. I can't wait to take these boots off and let my feet take a well deserved breath of fresh air.

      Once arrived at camp we take the boots off. "Oh my god", that feels better. We stop to tracker on our phones and confirm that we almost did 25km. Tomorrow we had plans for another big trek. I think we will revisit that plan and do something shorter.

      That's all for the day, supper, wine and bedtime are on the menu for the evening.
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