Woke up at 7.30am after a dreadful nights sleep. The ground was so hard even with 2 ground mats and it wasn’t just me who felt it, everyone was a little sore and grumpy. As we were staying another night it meant we didn’t have to pack up the tents which was great and meant I only had to worry about getting myself organised for the day ahead. It is so much harder living out of a backpack and trying to be tidy in a tent especially when what you need is right at the bottom of your bag! After breakfast and before we left, we all made packed lunches.
I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do in the park today as it was our free day. There was talk of hiring bikes and more swimming last night around the camp fire, but the majority of us decided to hike up to Vernal Falls and to really experience what Yosemite had to offer. Ro and Morgan who aren’t big hikers decided to stay in the park and take the bus tour. The scenery was so beautiful and breathtaking and my words cannot really do it justice. It was something else.
The hike was very, very hard for me and the one thing I didn’t realised was how unfit I was. Gone are the days where I used to be super fit playing sports everyday at school, and not to mention all those months commuting back and forth to Shropshire from London and not being able to go running really took its toll. I was so slow and out of breathe and totally embarrassed. I just kept thinking how can I be so unfit in such a short space of time. I felt like a 40 stone woman trying to drag themselves to the top of the stairs! I was actually ashamed of myself. However I did feel amazing and proud that I had achieved something by the time we got to the top and I guess this is what this trip is about, challenging myself and putting me out of my comfort zone. The pool and waterfalls were totally worth the agony of getting up. Everyone was so lovely and cannot thank them enough for the support they offered, they took it in turns to wait for me when I needed to stop for a break. It really meant a lot as they could have easily carried on and left me behind. The two Koreans somehow went up a different trail and we didn’t see them for the rest of the day.
There were loads of squirrels and chipmunks on the way up , along with horses tethered together bringing things up and down the hillside. I felt a bit sorry for them especially the ones carrying humans as the ground was so uneven and I swear you could see the pain on their faces, it actually really upset me and I had to turn away.
Once at Vernal Falls we split into two groups. Some went up to the falls further at the top (Lucy, Alex, Jake) they are hardcore and (Amanda, Rich,Mo and myself) stayed and found a spot on the smooth granite hillside to sunbath and go in the pool.
I couldn’t wait to get in as I was so hot after the climb up and the thought of swimming was the one thing that had kept me going. However what I didn’t realise was how slippery the granite was and my feet ended up going underneath me and I slide into the water on my ass! which was like being dunked in an ice cold bath (but looking back was probably the best way to get in). It literally took my breath away. After the initial shock it was lovely and I had a really good swim about. The pool had fish in which occasionally nipped at your feet if you put them on the floor. (I never found out what they were called). When I was swimming I just kept thinking my adventures have really begun, I am at the top of a hill in Yosemite National Park, swimming in a pool fed by water from the top of mountain, who would have thought a year ago I would have been here! It certainly made me realise how much of the world there is still to explore and what other hidden treasures like this I am yet to discover. It was also hilarious watching the others trying to get in especially as I was already in the water. Mo kept making everyone laugh too when he tried to get out as it was so slippery.
The others who had gone up to the other waterfall joined us and we ate our sandwiches and chilled on the hillside, before we went to try and get in a smaller waterfall. It was so idyllic and relaxing. The waterfall and granite provided us with a natural water slide, which Lucy ended up going down first (not sure if it was by choice) and she really took off, we thought she wasn’t going to stop until she hit the pool at the bottom but luckily there was a ridge she fell into! I went down and cracked my hip on a rock whizzing past Rich, but it was so much fun. We went back in the bottom pool for a bit, had a last sunbath and chill before we had to do the the epic trek downhill. The boys ended up going in another waterfall on the way down and Lucy, Amanda and myself went ahead of them. On the way down I had a real chance to reflect on the day and the beauty I had seen, not to mention my own personal achievements. I know that it is only day 3 but I feel more alive than I have in years!
We all met up at the restaurant called pizza patio at the bottom of the hill for some well deserved pizza and beer. We had a right laugh, I think we were being very noisy as people kept staring at us but to be honest we didn’t care! Everybody is amazing and I really haven’t laughed so much and had so much fun for a long time. We met up with Ro and Morgan who seem to have also had a good time in the park, I think most of it spent in the bar!
For the last part of day we headed up to Glacial point to see the sunset across Yosemite it was truly stunning. I have really enjoyed exploring the first of the national parks on our trip and looking forward to many more.
San Fran tomorrow exciting.