Once the decision to flip flop was made, a girl in our group asked her parents to drive up from their home in San Diego and drive us up north. They said yes and as a cherry on top, they allowed us to stay at their cabin for a few days. The cabin is located in the tiny town of Strawberry. With a population of 86, Strawberry is a summer vacation destination, full of camp sites and cabins by the lake. The best part of this town is it’s close proximity to Yosemite National Park.
Shortly after arriving in the cabin we set off to explore the local lake and hiked to a waterfall. The water was freezing but that didn’t stop us from attempting to swim.
The rest of the day was spent napping and playing card games.
On day two we woke up early and headed out toward Yosemite. As we drove into the park I felt as though I had entered another world. The giant cliff faces and water falls seemed too grand to be real. Once in the valley we decided on the Yosemite Falls hike. This is a seven mile round trip
hike with about 5,400 feet of elevation change. The description of the hike said “extremely strenuous” and estimated a travel time of 8 hours. Thanks to our hiker legs my group spent only three hours walking up and down the falls. Even though the actual hiking was quick, on top of the falls we took a lunch/photo shoot/nap break that lasted most of the afternoon.
After reluctantly ending the hike, we loaded back into the car and drove to Glacier Point. From this lookout you could see straight down the valley. Everywhere you looked, giant waterfalls viciously threw water over their edges and “ginormous” cliff faces leaned aggressively over the valley floor. Even with the many tourists the beauty of the valley made me feel very small and alone. I could have spent weeks exploring the valley but by 8 pm we were headed back to the cabin.
After the Yosemite trip it’s back to the trail. We are starting at Truckee (trail mile 1153 and 350 miles ahead of where we left off) today and it’s back to the grind. There will still be snow, but we won’t have the dangerous mountain passes and rivers to cross. I am looking forward to being able to fully enjoy the trail without worry about safety all the time.
-Noel Nelson (pct mile 1153