Friday, June 27, 2008
Diary of Yosemite: Day 1

Excited and ready for an adventure we pick up our rental car (with extra damage insurance) and hit the road.

View Larger Map

After about four hours we reach Wawona, the southern end of the park and are excited even at just the sight of the hotel among the redwood trees.

My paranoia regarding bears (which soon became our paranoia) meant I had done plenty of research on how to protect ourselves and our food from their paws. So right away we rent a couple of bear cans, repack our food, and continue on to Yosemite Valley.

Driving into Yosemite from the south entrance is amazing. As you curve around hills covered in tall trees you reach a tunnel, carved into the mountainside and left rugged and rocky on the inside. When you emerge there is the most awe-inspiring view before you. On the left is El Capitan, on the right Bridelveil Falls and framed in between the two is Half Dome in the far distance. I think both of our jaws dropped open and I had to remind myself to concentrate on driving.

This sort of natural beauty continues for the last few miles of the drive as you descend on the Valley: waterfalls, a couple of deer, a rushing river, 3,000 feet of sheer granite cliffs all unfolding along the road.

When we get to the valley floor and Yosemite Village, we orient ourselves with the visitors center, general store, and grab a bite to eat before heading to Camp 4 (our desired campsite) to hopefully snag the only walk-in campground in the area this time of year. After talking to a ranger, we find out we may be able to get a site if we show up at 6:30 a.m. and wait in line, something we're willing to do to save the 90-minute one way trip from our campsite to the part of the park we'll spend most of the trip. Yosemite is the size of Rhode Island so it's not hard to drive two hours without making a dent.

This is when we realize the rental keys are missing and it hits out of nowhere just as this sentence did. Of course I feel responsible because I was driving and should have them in my possession but somewhere between the snow capped Sierras and gushing bodies of water, I lost my brain and the keys went with it.

I begin imagining the worst. What does one do with no campsite, no gear, no car, and no way to get anywhere come nightfall in the wilderness? Luckily we didn't have to find out.

Due to my total lack of a memory in which I last had the keys, I think "Maybe they are in the car?" So we get someone to break into the car and they are there dangling in the ignition (Phew). Crisis averted.

By this time it is much later and darker than either of us had wished to be setting up a tent in let alone driving. 90-minutes later we enter our abandoned looking campsite (other than one family), get out the gear, and start attempting some kind of set up. Only thing is neither of us know exactly how to set up our borrowed tent.

Now this part you must picture: We put the tent poles into the canvas and then have no idea how to make it pop up. Chris gets underneath the middle of the canvas attempting to stand it up but ends up just looking like he is wearing the thing like some sort of tent monster. Frustrated and exhausted we ask the neighbors, two burly guys that show us the step we were missing to make it three dimensional and (voila!) in a few minutes had a shelter.

We chat with the two guys about our plan to get up early and go for the site we really want. They tell us they prefer the solitude of our current campsite to the one in Yosemite Valley referring to it as "Tent City."

We hit the sleeping bags with the intention of rising at 5 a.m. Only problem is in the woods it gets very dark, and very quiet, and there are bears. Chris falls asleep while I stay awake for most of the night. The few times I drift off to sleep, I am woke by a rustling noise outside followed by the feeling that my heart will jump out of my chest. I really want to move to Tent City.

Posted by Kelley at 7:16 PM | 1 comments

Saturday, June 21, 2008
We survived

We're back from Yosemite and have plenty of stories about our trip, the characters we met along the way, and the adventures we encountered. There is a lot to tell so we'll be writing a post for each day but first here are most of the photos. Details of our hectic first day, hiking Half Dome, and bumbling our way through camping to come...

Posted by Kelley at 11:00 PM | 0 comments

Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Next Stop: Yosemite

Next week Chris and I will be packing up some camping gear and heading to Yosemite. As two wannabe-urbanites, it'll be quite the adventure for us and a much needed escape from the daily grind (Hint of sarcasm: oh, we have it so hard).

Our big plans include tackling the all-day hike up Half Dome, sunset at Glacier Point, and satisfying our inner foodies with brunch at The Ahwahnee Hotel among others. Of course, we'll be posting all about it upon our return but I thought I would reach out to family and friends who've braved the park before us and ask for any tips or must-do trails you might recommend.

Posted by Kelley at 5:41 PM | 0 comments

Sunday, June 8, 2008
Did you miss us?

The last few weeks have been busy and because of that the blog has suffered a bit. But there will be no more neglecting it from here on out.

Last Tuesday, Chris and I decided to make our way over to the ballpark for some much needed baseball and brew. This time last year we had attended more than a few Giants games and I think we were both aching to see some live baseball. (For Chris, it's not the Cubs but it's still fun).

We froze for the first few innings, huddled together on the upper deck on a windy San Francisco night--Chris in flip flops--before heading down to grab coffees and search for better seats. We found them just off home plate on the third base side (with the Giants being so lousy this year it's not hard to maneuver your way into some quality seats).

From there the next six innings were much warmer and in turn much more enjoyable. Chris kept his eye on the Cubs score the whole time (they won, Giants didn't) and a guy sitting next to us obnoxiously called the entire game.

After we opted to stay in the city and then the next morning went to this espresso place in North Beach I stumbled upon and thought we would enjoy together. And I think with the combination of baseball, coffee, newspapers, and the city, we enjoyed ourselves just fine.

Posted by Kelley at 9:06 PM | 0 comments