Hiking in Yosemite National Park

This morning I understand better again why I love road trips. The drive to Yosemite National Park is very pretty, especially because there is more and more snow alongside the road the further I drive. The roads are windy and the view of the mountains in the distance is amazing. Just before I enter the park I see a boy hitchhiking along the road. I think for a moment and decide to give him a ride, because I also used to hitchhike when I was younger. Normally I don’t pick up hitchhikers when I’m traveling in America, but I’m glad I do today. The boy introduces himself as Sam and tells me he’s going hiking in the park. He’s lived close to the park for a few months now and has hiked here a lot in that time. I ask if likes some company today and he’s happy for me to join him. I think he’s also happy that I’ll drive him all the way to the starting point of the trails. On our way there we stop several times, because the views of the park are amazing. Other than the last time I was here, it’s very quiet in the park today. We only see a handful of other cars. Maybe because it’s a weekday or because the weather forecast wasn’t too good. Either way, it’s very nice that it’s not so busy. The weather is also better than expected this morning, because even though it’s cloudy, there is no rain as predicted. It’s fantastic to see the familiar scenery from Tunnel View again. I think it never gets old. Before we start hiking we stop at the restaurant in the valley to get a good lunch. I also get a coffee and a snack for during the hike. We start walking around noon and it’s still very quiet. We only see a few people on the trails. It’s quite challenging for me in the beginning, because my body has to get used to the altitude. I’m out of breath quickly and have a hard time keeping up with Sam, but fortunately he doesn’t mind waiting for me from time to time. It’s a quite humbling for me, because normally I’m the one running up the mountains. I actually feel a bit old hiking up here. Then again, it’s definitely not an easy hike. There is a lot of snow and ice on the trails and from time to time we slide or sink away in the snow. After almost two hours we’re close to the top of the hike and it gets really steep. Sam asks if we should stop, but being so close to the end I don’t want to give up. Carefully we climb higher over ice and through the snow until we reach the viewing point. Here we take a well deserved break and enjoy the view of the Vernal waterfall in the distance. It’s funny, we both say to each other that we probably wouldn’t have gone this far if we were just by ourselves. It was a tough hike, but definitely worth it.
The way down goes faster and I’m feeling my old energetic self again, even trail running parts of the way back. Sam laughs and says I might better save my energy, but I actually find it easier sometimes to run instead of walk in the mountains. It also helps that the snow is melting a bit now. When we’re almost at the bottom there is a bit of rain, but not much and we happily continue. Only when we’re back at the car and are driving again, it starts to rain much harder. Perfect timing. Getting the car of the icy parking lot is also a bit challenging, but we manage it and safely drive back through the rain. Just outside the park Sam points out where his house is and we say goodbye, thanking each other for the fun day. I love how live often comes with fun surprises like this. I’m sure I wouldn’t have done that hike by myself and even though it was challenging, I absolutely loved it. I’m happy that I chose to visit Yosemite National Park again, it’s really beautiful here.

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