Trip Start Mar 12, 2012
Trip End Jul 10, 2012

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Flag of United States  , California
Monday, June 25, 2012

Ok, well the next day we mooched around and waited before getting on the bus at 9pm. When we arrived at the pick up point, we found that our friend Olga had written a goodbye message to us on the pavement. So sweet! We met the new Yosemite group, who seemed really nice. They were obviously unused to the bus, and had to start with a night drive, where as us veterans knew everything, and had to show them all what to do, haha. But we got organised, and went to sleep. We woke up in the park, had some breakfast, and then set off to do our big hike. We hike up the John Muir trail, to Nevada Falls. It was really steep at first, and my knees were hurting. On the way up we passed loads of mule trains coming down, which obviously I loved seeing. Eventually we got to the switchbacks which I had been dreading, but were actually pretty nice and easy. 

 After a while, we got to the top of Nevada Falls, which was amazing. You could see right over Yosemite Valley, and see the falls crashing over the egde. Then it was back down the Mist Trail which was incredibly steep and the jagged motion of walking down wrecked my knees. We made it to Vernal Falls, which were also amazing. At the top is this pool, which they tell you not to swim in as it leads to the waterfall, but people still do. Last summer 3 people went swimming in there and were swept over the falls, and they only found their bodies this June. Horrible. So we walked down, but on the paved track at the end, which was downhill, my knees really started to give way, and I had to limp most of the way back. We eventually got back to the bus, and I fell asleep on the journey, till the driver shouted BEAR and we all looked out the window to see a little brown bear trotting past the bus. How cool is that! 

 When we got back to the Tortoise we drove out to camp, which was out of the park and near Tuolumne Meadows and the Lakes. We made dinner and had a big campfire which was cool. It was pretty cold though, and that night I slept out on the tarp under the stars. I had loads of layers on, and my sleeping bag, but I was freezing! I've never been so cold in my life! Lukas who was sleeping next to me told me that I kept yelling that I was cold and moaning all night! Oh dear. It was so cold. So I was feeling pretty rough in the morning.The next day we visited the lakes. The first stop was Mono Lake, which was some amazing 'tufas', rock formations formed underwater when the lake was at a higher level.  Mono Lake is also pretty salty, like the Great Salt Lake, and has the brine shrimp too. Lukas recommended doing your washing in there, then washing the clothes in cold fresh water, and said it really cleans stuff. I had a pair of shorts which had been stained brown by all the dust and mud and after two washes still weren't clean. So I tried Lukas' method, and washed them in the Lake. Then we went to June Lake, a freshwater lake, where I rinsed out my shorts and left them to dry. Then we went swimming! June Lake was perfectly clear and looked so inviting. We jumped in, but oh my god, it was so cold. Usually in cold water you warm up after 5 minutes, but not there. After half an hour I was still finding it cold. But I swam for about an hour, then got out and tried to warm up desperately. Time for a hot shower! When I checked the shorts they were so much cleaner, it was amazing! Magical Mono Lake! 

 Finally it was time to go back to camp, and have dinner, lots of beer, and yet another big campfire. I had two sleeping bags and loads of layers that night, and I was really toasty! I don't think it was as cold as the night before, but I was nice and warm and slept brilliantly! Might have been the beer though....For our last day we drove to Lembert Dome to do a hike up it. With my knees the first 20 mins was terrible, as it was steeply up hill, but after that it was ok. Finally we got to the rock, and then we climbed over and up it. It got really steep, and the rock was so smooth, I was freaking out! I was terrified I'd slip and roll down the roll to my death! I kept saying, how tragic would it be if I died on the last hike of my trip! Some women heard me and started laughing! Nice. But I made myself keep going, and I got to the top! The views were awesome! I'm glad I did it, but going down was worse! Didn't die though, phew! 

 Then it was on to the Sequioa Forest to see the giant trees! We even saw the famous one that has the hole through it. They were pretty awesome, and massive! Finally, we went to a local town to make our dinner in the parking lot, then headed to the local bar for karoake night. It was hilarious, with some locals sounding like drowning cats, and some who obviously practice all week and it's the highlight of the month! Our group went up a couple of times and did 'Satisfaction' by the Rolling Stones and 'American Pie', the full length version! It was so funny, and a great way to end the trip! We then had another night drive before waking up very early in San Francisco, and finishing our trip. 

 It was short but sweet, and so worth it. Yosemite was stunning, a real beautiful place, and so close to San Francisco! I had a fantastic time on the Green Tortoise. I'm glad I took a chance on them. I recommend them to anyone, but you need to be prepared to rough it a bit, but that's all part of the fun! I met so many amazing people, had fantastic drivers and saw some beautiful places. Good job GT!!! So my time in the wilderness was finally over. From now it, it was the city. I was pretty sad to be honest. I'm not a city person, and to me it was the beginning of the end. But anyway, I said goodbye to my friends, and headed back to Fairfax. 
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