using my inside voice

Day 18 - Yosemite Conquered and onto LA LA Land

North American Travel | June 18, 2009

Yosemite Falls

As a bit of a spur of the moment adventure, Luke and I decided to go to Yosemite on one of the Green Tortoise tours. I will write a review of the tour soon, but basically, the deal is that you head somewhere on their bus, that sleeps up to 36 people. And, when I say sleep, you really do sleep, flat, like in a normal bed. It's amazing.

There were only 18 people sleeping on the bus with our tour, including the drivers and cooks, and I'm not entirely sure how I would cope with double the people. To me, 18 seemed perfect.

The tour consisted of a gang of travelers from our hostel that we'd met previously. This was incredibly fortunate as we all got along really well already, and, speaking for myself, I was stoked to have such a fun group of people to hang out on the trip with. On top of that, there were 6 extra travelers all from a university in San Jose - a pretty cosy group.

We headed off to Yosemite on Friday night at 9pm. After some initial excitement about being on a bus with proper table and chairs, I ended up going to bed relatively early (11pm). This was lucky, as we stopped to cook breakfast at sparrow's fart - 6am... But, it was an awesome breakfast in a breathtaking location. There were towering granite mountains on all sides, and a stream running past below.

After breakfast we headed into Yosemite National Park. There were about 10 of our group that decided to take on the challenge of hiking to Upper Yosemite Falls. This is not a hike for the feint-hearted. We spent about 3.5 hours going up the hill, and while it was relatively easy going, it wasn't a walk in the park (so to speak). We got some great views out over the valley, and got a nice bit of spray from the lower area of the falls.

Once up the top, we all stopped for a picnic lunch, and boy were we hungry. Two sandwiches later, we decided to head down. It had rained a bit on the way up, and I was pretty cold after sitting still for a while. Unfortunately, it also rained on the way down again for quite some time.

I'd been hoping that the hike down would be much easier than the hike up, but it turned out to be not quite the case. I fell over three times, literally on my bum on the ground, as the rocks had gotten mighty slippery after the rain. And, by the time we finally reached the bottom (about 2.5 hours later) my thighs were burning like nothing else.

The entire group was pretty knackered from their various hikes, and were pretty subdued as we drove to the campsite for the night. I tried to have a wee nap, but ended up jumping out of bed to see my first real life bear. It was a cute little black bear, that had made its way up a tree to avoid all the scary humans.

Once at the campsite, we set about making dinner. But, first things first, Luke, Mia (a new friend) and I cracked a bottle of wine and toasted our energetic day.

The food provided during the entire trip was amazing. The group preps and cleans up communally and there is a cook on site to take care of the hardest part - making it taste good! It's actually a really great experience sitting around preparing food with people. I hate eating on my own, because I feel it's a social event, so I guess the preparation is just an extension of that.

After dinner and a shower, a game of "bite the bag" ensued. Which basically involved standing on one leg and trying to bit a paper bag, lifting it off the ground. This sounds easy, but is actually incredibly difficult. More than on participant ended up with their head in the bag, sprawled on the dirt (Luke included).

The next day we were back at Yosemite for a less strenuous hike to Vernal Falls, along the mist trail (which is appropriately named, given the 10 solid minutes walking through a deluge of spray from the falls). It was still about a 2.5 hour round trip, so nothing to be sneezed at. But, the falls were very impressive, possibly even more than the Upper Yosemite Falls, and it was probably a wise move to keep the old muscles moving after our giant hike the first day.

In the afternoon we headed to the giant Sequoias (a type of Redwood). They were pretty impressive, but after 3 days with minimal sleep and maximal hikes I don't think I appreciated it fully, but got an obligatory picture, and had a few laughs along the way.

We set up our portable kitchen that night in a park and made an awesome pasta meal, before heading to the oldest bar in Califonia. It was okay, but I actually think it was just a ploy to keep us entertained until the bus left at midnight.

We arrived back in San Fran at the ungodly hour of 5.30am. I was none too happy to be awoken so early, but didn't have much choice. We spent the entire day until 1pm sitting around the hostel's dining room, talking to some of our new friends, writing and surfing the net. We got into our room at 2pm and slept for a good 2.5 hours.

The next day we left San Francisco and all our new friends. After so recently saying goodbye to all our friends in Vancouver, it was much harder than I expected to leave behind these new friends. And, on our first day in LA, I was feeling mightily depressed about the whole situation. But, two days and 6 burritos later, I'm starting to come to terms with it. I think we were just lucky to meet such an amazing gang of people and get along with them so well.

We have been a little anti-social in LA, probably partly due to tiredness and partly due to over-socialising in San Francisco. We head out of here tomorrow for San Diego. There haven't been too many things to write home about, but we basically saw the areas between Hollywood and Rodeo Drive (walked about 3 hours yesterday), walked up to a lookout in Runyon Canyon yesterday evening, and today went to Venice Beach and Santa Monica. I'm not too fussed on LA and am glad we spent an extra day in San Francisco.

More soon...


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About Bay Oliver

Bay's career has been many and varied due to a penchant for traveling the world. After completing a double degree in Business Management and Journalism at the University of Queensland in 2002 she was lucky enough to land herself a job at Brisbane's Quest Community Newspapers. A year of roving reporting brought the epiphany that journalism and Bay didn't jive.
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How to be creative...

Creating an economically viable entity where lack of original thought is handsomely rewarded creates a rich, fertile environment for parasites to breed. And thatʼs exactly whatʼs been happening. So now we have millions upon millions of human tapeworms thriving in the Western World, making love to their Powerpoint presentations, feasting on the creativity of others. http://changethis.com/6.HowToBeCreative

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Categories of Published Work

Le Gite B & B on the Plateau in Montreal

By BAY OLIVER
Published: September 18, 2008

Le Gite Bed and Breakfast is a quaint, comfortable and thoroughly enjoyable place to stay in the heart of the plateau in Montreal.

The Edgewater Hotel in Seattle Barely Rates Four Stars

By BAY OLIVER
Published: November 5, 2008

The Edgewater Hotel, Seattle's only waterfront hotel, may not be quite the standard 4-star experience.