02.02.2015 25 °C
I left LA around midday and got to the Yosemite Rustic Bug Resort around 5:30/6pm.
It was exactly what I was looking for:
quaint wooden cabins adorned the hillside, trees as far as the eye could see and nothing but the sounds of nature surrounded me
Just before I drove up to the reception area, a hobbling woman stopped me and asked for a lift as she'd hurt herself hiking and had already walked so far on a busted knee.
Naturally, I picked her up because I'm a decent human being and drove her to reception.
After I'd checked in, I went to the dorm room cabin and discovered my injured passenger was also my roommate which was nice.
She was German and there were 2 other German girls who were travelling together and we became a little unit for a night and a day!
We had some dinner together and chatted about the different hikes to do in Yosemite.
Now as many of you who know me or have read my Thailand blog will know, I am not a hiker and in fact any up-hill motion makes my physical inadequacies all the more ubiquitous.
So, I asked my new German friends about the easiest hikes and where I could drive to...
The next day, I drove to Glacier Point in Yosemite National Park and on the way I saw a bear.
I've never felt so incredibly in awe as I did at that moment.
I saw the bear trundling along the edge of a mountain slope so I quickly pulled in off the road, got my iPad and got out of the car.
I was taking some picture of this beautiful creature, when it stopped walking and looked straight at me.
We both just stood there for a while, staring at one another, like there was nothing and no one else in the world at that moment in time but the two of us.
It was almost like for those few seconds, we were one and the same, until a noise away from us both startled the bear and it ran into a nearby hedge.
Not knowing entirely where the bear had gone, nor how tasty a treat I would be, I hurried back into the car and continued driving through the park.
My day was pretty much tops after that!
I arrived at Glacier Point and took some photos of the incredible views and noticed all the families and couples setting off on the various trails available from there. I walked around for a little, but I knew I wouldn't be able to do any of the hikes from there so got back in my car and began to drive down to the village. I stopped on the side of the road by a barren looking mountain top that looked higher than Glacier Point, got my camera and climbed up to the top to A) see the views and B) see if I could see any mountain lions...!
I got some supplies from the village store when I'd parked the car and mentally prepared myself for the exercise ahead!
A comfortable bag, a souvenir and some water, then I headed out to what was left of Mirror Lake.
The hike had a little elevation but it was totally doable, and overall, really quite pleasant.
The Mirror Lake, at that time of year, was nothing more than a glorified pond surrounded by sand and gravel, like a misplaced beach.
It was however, very pretty there and the mountains carved mercilessly into the skyline with such precision, it was truly breath-taking.
I walked back through the forest a bit more in order to enjoy nature without other people getting in my way!
It was incredibly peaceful hearing nothing but the sounds of birds singing, the flow of water from the rivers and trees bending in the gentle breeze as I looked at the beautiful surroundings and looking out for mountain lions... of which I saw none!
After a total of 8-10 miles as I had gone full Red Riding Hood and had ignored the path all together, I eventually found my way back to the car and drove back to the hostel resort for some dinner and some much needed spa time!
After a hot tub and sauna session and a cheeky hour long deep tissue massage, I felt like I'd had a super productive day!
The next morning, I had some breakfast and began my shortest drive to my final destination; San Francisco.
Now I have to say, I either did it wrong, or San Francisco really isn't all it's cracked up to be...
I went to see the Golden Gate Bridge, which took forever on various busses and by the time I eventually got there the fog had begun rolling in which both ruined and momentarily enhanced my pictures. I was not dressed appropriately for the cold that the fog brought in so was frozen to the bone, tired and a damp and had to make the long journey back to the more central part of the city.
I went to Alcatraz Prison, and again, was not all that impressed.
The views from Alcatraz Island of the bay were quite good but it all just seemed somewhat anti-climactic and a little over-hyped.
I didn't even get through the audio tour without being bored senseless, admitting defeat and bailing out of there.
My most enjoyable experiences in San Francisco was probably standing on the side of the cable car as it went downhill toward the marina but even that wasn't mind-blowing.
I went to China town, but having been living in China for over 2 and half years now, it was actually a little sad seeing how Chinese culture had been bastardised for Western means.
I did enjoy walking around the bay and I even met Elmo, but apart from that, I wasn't all that taken in by San Francisco and my heart definitely came home with me...
I had more fun in Oakland (which is where I was staying courtesy of my wonderful AirBnB host Cassandra!) and could have happily just stayed in Oakland, ignoring SF all together, but that's the annoyance of hindsight, you never get it in advance!
I think my most interesting experience was waking up to an earthquake, not really knowing it was an earthquake at first, acknowledging it was an earthquake, assessing the severity to not be that high and then going back to sleep!