Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Up the Falls

Yosemite Tramp, chapter 2

We woke up early in the morning to find that we didn't need to worry at all about rangers. The patrol rate of the rangers seemed pretty minimal in Yosemite. Glacier National park was crawling with them. They were almost as plentiful as the deer, and about as intrusive.

We needed to head over to the Wilderness Center to grab our permit and bear boxes. It seemed a bit odd that one has to hike in the backcountry with a personal bear box. These box turned out to be small canisters, with clever locking mechanisms, a little larger than a paint can. We needed two of them to cover our supplies for the first two nights in the backcountry.

In fact, we thought we needed three. The whole group seemed to develop a problem with knowing the exact day that a trip would end. Perhaps they caught it from me. So with an extra day's dinner, as well as all the breakfasts (yep, I forgot to even sort through those), we set out to climb Yosemite Falls.

The Falls
Yosemite Falls trail is a microcosm of American terrain. It switches to and from pine forests, through desert sands, and misty trees. Each area delights the imagination, conjuring forth different persons who lay in wait just beyond trees. I half expected to see Clint Eastwood burst from the brush, with Eli Wallach close on his heels yelling "Blondie" at the top of his lungs.

The trail itself is probably one of the most difficult hike in the park. It involves hiking up nearly 2800 feet of elevation over three and a half miles. Much of this climb is done in a series of very step and very short switchbacks. How I hate the switchback.

We arrived after about six hours of climbing. We were all in pretty decent shape by the end but quite exhausted. No one was terribly interested in hiking too far from the falls. Fortunately, we stumbled upon a really nice campsite, complete with fire pit, just off of the river.

After a brief nap, we headed to the falls to enjoy a well earned meal. Dinner and a show, actually. The Air Force's show flyers seemed to be doing some practice formations over the park. With all that Californian desert, we couldn't figure out why they choose a National Park as their training area. Still, there are less interesting things to see during dinner

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