Tag Archives: Sierra Nevada

My love of Yosemite National Park: The first day

My love of Yosemite National Park: The first day

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.

Wednesday, 10-June-2015

I started Wednesday in Utah, among the towering sandstone cliffs and desert sands. My tent was clogged with find sand, and my mind was full of big-wall climbs that I needed to try.

I drove through the Sierra Nevada mountain range, and remembered the sheer scale of what was to come in Yosemite.

Then I started into Inyo National Park, the non-fee park surrounding Yosemite (as far as I can tell; I don’t have internet while I’m writing this post, so I can’t actually check). I saw mountains, dear reader. I saw real and true Mountains. Mountains that New England doesn’t have; the closest I’ve ever seen before was out in New Zealand, when I was hiking up Mt. Hutt…

These were cliffs wreathed in clouds, with thick snow caps even in the middle of June. The granite sides of the mountains were sharp and sheer; not the forested flanks of the White Mountains.

So I stopped. Often.

I took pictures. Hundreds.

I saw the man-made lakes, and the hydroelectric plants that feed power to the citizens below. I gawked at waterfalls. And then I entered Yosemite itself.

I can’t describe it, honestly. The closest thing that I can say is a note from The Lord of the Rings… a piece that was in the books, that was left out of the movies. It’s a prophecy, regarding an Elf. Legolas – Should he ever hear the call of the Seagulls, he will never be content in Middle Earth. He’ll always feel the pull to leave, and enter the land of the undying.

Seeing Yosemite is, for me, the call of the gulls. I need to climb here. I need to live and hike and explore and Experience this place.

This feeling kept growing in my chest as I drove through the park. The peaks called, and thousands of beautiful climbs beckoned to me, even after I’d checked into the campground and set up my tent…

Leaving Zion, and driving toward Yosemite: The Sierra Nevada mountain range, and a small abandoned town.

Leaving Zion, and driving toward Yosemite: The Sierra Nevada mountain range, and a small abandoned town.

Wednesday, 10-June-2015

  • There are a lot of miles ahead of me. I need to make it all the way to Yosemite, through the legendary Sierra Nevada mountain range. So I wake up early… very early. But I’m not the only one, it seems – Thomas is already out, and brings me a coffee as I’m packing up the car, which is freaking awesome. It’s nothing fancy, just from the front desk, but it’s a great gesture that makes me feel really nice, and definitely helps wake me up.
  • And with that, I’m on the road by 7:30 with two burritos, some Blueberries, apples, water and coffee. I mean, what more could I ask for out of life? Yeah, I’m set – we’re good to go.
  • It’s a long drive, covering a lot of ground. I’ve got a lot of time to cover it though, thanks to how early I got myself going. I drive through Vegas before it even starts to wake up… should I stop? Nah… In all honesty, I don’t really care about Vegas. The breakfast buffets call out to me, but I’ve got snacks and drinks. I’m good for a few hours. So I ignore the call, and keep the gas flowing to the engine.
  • I run into a bit of an issue with route-finding… The GPS in the Mustang doesn’t like Google’s route one bit, and keeps trying to get me to change course. At the end of the day though, I trust Google more. So I shut off the cars navigation (Ed Note: I think the exact conversation was… “Use the Google, Ben! Turn off your targetting computer and trust in the Googles!”) and keep following Google.
  • A theme to this trip so far has been that Massachusetts isn’t the only state with a ton of roadwork. Every state has a ton of roadwork. I literally haven’t gone more than a few hundred miles without the road loosing a lane, or some other annoying roadwork. In Nevada, it’s no different… this time though, it’s a serious thing. A 20minute long full-force stop. Seriously. Enough time for me to get out, chat with other drivers, and spin my staff for a bit before we start going again. The roadwork – sealing the road with new tar. So they close half of it down at any given time, and slowly drive a sprayer truck down the side. Yuck.
  • One upside; The long and straight roads see me getting good gas milage…
  • Drive past a USAF base – and I see my first UAV. Military. Is that… yep. I’m being overflown by a Predator drone. Or is it a Reaper? I don’t know. And I seriously really very much don’t want to know.
  • FYI? The desert is really pretty. Like… Holy wow… so pretty! Blues, reds, white… the whole landscape is a tribute to the colors of the flag. It’s amazing, and I just stare and enjoy the ride as much as I can.
  • But I keep gunning it, only making one real stop for my time. It’s in Bishop – a town in California that’s famous (in my mind) for some amazing rock climbing. But I only have so much time, and the climbing is a good hour out of my way… so I save it for another time. I do take a chance to really stop though – using the time to chill and get some internet in before officially giving up on bouldering there. Too bad, but I have to save something for next time, right?

And here is where this section leaves off. The day isn’t over yet, but for those who don’t know – Bishop is right near the gates of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. One of the most majestic and striking ranges that I’ve seen in my life. And since they tie in so well with the mountains of Yosemite (indeed, Yosemite is part of them!) I’ve chosen to keep that whole chapter together. So please see the next installation for more details!!!