Days 13 to 16: SF to Yosemite to Bishop

Tuesday we arrived and set up camp in Yosemite National Park, at the Hodgdon Meadow site for three nights. There were no shower facilities, and we slept on an old duvet we picked up at the Salvation Army back in Santa Cruz for about a dollar which interestingly, despite looking like something a teenager would’ve slept on, still manages to smell of old people. I’ll let you use your imagination as to how the tent smelt this morning before we left.

Yosemite was a wonderful place with blue, completely cloudless skies, extremely low levels of background noise, and wildlife aplenty. I know I’ll probably regret saying this in a couple of weeks when I’m sat in front of a computer at work, and am fully aware I will get the absolute bare minimum of sympathy from those reading this, but I think you can get a bit “beached out” after a while. Therefore the change of scenery for this next section of the trip was most welcome.

Wednesday we actually enjoying doing absolutely nothing, apart from reading and having a barbeque, but the rest of the time we hiked and drove some fantastic scenery that the photos don‘t do justice. We saw giant sequoias, bizarre bright blue birds, scaled down squirrels, chip monk type things, deer, and even woodpeckers and a bear. One morning I was woken by a bird producing a noise reminiscent of a 1980’s computer game. I was actually disappointed not to see more bears, as the campsite and surrounding area was apparently crawling with them, and there were specific instructions everywhere not to speed on the roads, and not to leave food in tents or cars, locking everything food like or cosmetic in special bear proof containers. Amusing as it may seem to imagine bears breaking into cars to steal food, the sad reality is that if they become too used to doing this they have to be shot. However, despite the bears, I think the greatest danger for us was probably that of being hit by a pinecone the size of a melon falling from one of the pine trees.

This morning (Friday) we took Routes 120 and 395 to Bishop, stopping off for a swim in Mono Lake – really salty so you float like the Dead Sea, very enjoyable – and checked into a Super 8 Motel.

Tonight’s shower was fantastic after three days and being covered in salt, and the proper bed won’t go unnoticed, but tomorrow we drive a further 200 miles on Routes 395 and 190 to an as yet undecided camp site on Death Valley. I understand it’s capable of some pretty extreme high and low temperatures, so if you don’t hear from me in a few days, you’ll have a vague idea of where our bodies are.