My love of Yosemite National Park: Sentinel Rock, Curry Village, and leaving… for now.

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My love of Yosemite National Park: Sentinel Rock, Curry Village, and leaving… for now.

I’ve never been to Yosemite, but it’s been etched into my adult mind in the same way that the Titanic and Dinosaurs were etched into my young mind. It’s a myth, a legend. The greatest place for traditional rock climbing in the world, and arguably the birthplace of modern climbing itself.

Feats of strength and endurace took place here; first ascents of climbs that no one thought could be climbed by human hands..

Brilliance of engineering even happened; the creation of Cams, and many other unique pieces of protection.

Yosemite is greater than life, in my mind. But I’ve never been there. Until this trip.

Friday, 12-June-2015

The day starts early, when I hear the adventure group rolling out from the campsite next to me… It’s annoying, but it does get me awake and clean up camp…

But screw taking my time – I skip breakfast. It’s not really necessary… I’ll eat snacks. And I’m in Yosemite! I have climbing to do! So I packed up the last bits of the campsite, pulling my food out of the bear thing, and rolled out!
On the drive into the park, I’m reminded about the fun of driving in non-Massachusetts placed: a jeep tries to cut me off… but they really do a half-assed job of it. So… nope. Cut-off denied. No other drivers are any good. New England for life!

Instead of taking the scenic route like I did the day before, I do direct for a spot from the guide book called Sentinel Rocks – I park, walk right in and start working the routes. But damn they’re tough. Still WAY too hard. I’m talking “Ben still can crush some, but most of them he can’t even do the first move of” tough.

But that’s what I’ve noticed: most Yosemite bouldering routes are only a single move. They’re just a “mantle up onto this tiny ledge”, or “slide over from this crap hold, to this other crap hold, and you’re done!”. A lot of them don’t seem to even top out, which is definitely another interesting aspect. I think the real difficulty isn’t the routes themselves; it’s my lack of experience with this style of climbing. I’m used to more sustained movements – strong core and legs, instead of insane crimping.

So I keep my head up, keep chilling, and climbing and reading and watching Adventure Time on the laptop. It’s the usual awesome times.

And then once I’m all tuckered out? Or… when I’m hungry and sick of snack food? I head back into Curry Village, get a hamburger and do some writing. I even picked up a Nalgene bottle as another souvenir, and grabbed some postcards to send to folks out East.

While I’m waiting in line to get said Hamburger, I strike up a chat with two kids who work in Yosemite with the park services. I guess the jobs that they’re working on are year contracts? A year staying in Yosemite… working a few days a week and having the rest of the time off… Nice… I could do that someday!

But “Someday” isn’t “Today”. Today, I’m on an amazing roadtrip across the country, and the final leg is in sight. With a semi-heavy heart, I finish up my burger, and leave Yosemite Valley behind me. The goal of the day is Davis, California – meeting Mike for a weekend of partying, followed by the drive into Oregon.

It was raining as I drive out of the valley. Annoying, but I was going into California – into the throes of a multi-year drought. This was the last rain I was going to see in a long time, so I enjoyed it as best I could.

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