Walking in a winter wonderland

Last night I was thinking that I wouldn’t go hiking again today, but after a good night’s rest I have new energy and feel like going for another hike. I just don’t want to leave Yosemite National Park without having seen Sequoia Trees. I pack my bags and go to the hotel lobby for breakfast. The friendly people are there again and allow me to have breakfast a bit earlier, so I can start my hike on time this morning. I actually end spending more time at breakfast, because we have a really nice time talking with each other. One of the elderly ladies has a lot of funny stories that make me laugh out loud. She’s really friendly and gives me a beautiful postcard of one of the Yosemite waterfalls. There is also a young guy and I encourage him to visit more of the National Parks. It still surprises me that a lot of Americans haven’t seen many National Parks, while I think that the parks are some of the most beautiful places in the country.
I drive to the park around eight in the morning and it’s only half an hour driving to Mariposa Grove, the area in the park with the Sequoia trees. Because it’s winter, the road to the hiking trail is closed and I have to hike an extra two miles before I get there, but I don’t mind. It’s completely quiet here and the parking lot is empty. The trail is covered by snow and except from some birds, squirrels and my footsteps in the snow it’s completely silent. It’s really peaceful and also fun to see the squirrels run around on the snow and in the trees. I don’t see this many so often. They run really fast so it’s hard to take a picture of them, but I enjoy watching them. It takes about an hour to get to the start of the actual trail and then I see the giant trees. I love Sequoia Trees, they never fail to amaze me. I take a couple of pictures and selfies with them, but when I’m at the largest one of them called Grizzly Giant, there are two guys out there also hiking. They’re surprised to see someone else and so am I. We talk for a while and one of them turns out to be from Versailles, Kentucky. A small town that I visited on a road trip years ago. What are the chances, right? They offer me to join them on their hike, but I have to go back to the hotel, because I have to check out there at noon. On the way back I run into more people. It’s getting busier now that it’s later in the morning. That the park will be busier today is clear when I’m getting back to the car. Several cars have parked here now and as I drive out of the park there is line of cars waiting for the entrance. I think I see about 100 cars driving to the park as I’m driving back to town, so I’m really happy that I went so early when there weren’t other people hiking the trail yet. Another confirmation that it’s great to be a morning person.
Just around noon I’m back at the hotel, pack my bags and check out. Except from one stop for gas I drive in one go back to Los Angeles where I’ve planned to meet with friends in the evening. It’s a long drive, but I’m listening to some podcast episodes and five in the afternoon I’m back in the city. It takes a moment to make the switch from the little mountain town to the big city. I stop at my familiar Starbucks to write my blog, because I didn’t came to writing much during the hiking yesterday and today. I also get some food at one of the restaurants at the square and then drive the last hour to my friend’s house. My friend Nancy and her parents are there. It’s great to see them again. They are really warm and kind people and I’ve stayed with them before during previous traveling here in America. We catch up with each other and then go to bed not too late, because tomorrow we have an exciting day waiting for us. Tomorrow we go the happiest place on earth, Disneyland!

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