Be Prepared!

Trip Start Mar 11, 2011
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of United States  , California
Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Both the Lees were in the scouts at some point in their lives. Mario for many years, Dee only for 9 months during which time all she really learnt was volleyball. But that's no excuse. Everyone knows the Scouts' motto well: Be prepared. Knowing it however is different is to applying it...
To get off the beaten track and into California's national parks you really need a car. But it's more fun, and cheaper, to share a car aka a rideshare. Olivier's ad at a San Fran hostel indicated that he had a similar plan and mindset. So it was a done deal!
We headed off on our road trip! First stop: Yosemite (pronounched Yo-sim-ma-tee) National Park. We didn't know the set-up except that it's awesome, in the true sense of the word. An extensive infrastructure exists in the park - villages with hotels, shops, restaurants, ATMs, a post office, obligatory curio shops. But We discovered that people book the campsites and accommodation months in advance. There was an alternative to walk in and camp in the "backcountry" that involved hiking and sleeping on the trail. Great! Except that we were not equipped at all: no tent, no sleeping bags, no nothing. Totally unprepared for roughing it. And there was no way all 3 of us could squeeze into Olivier's 2-man tent! 
That's how Mario and I ended up sleeping in the car! A bit of a misnomer because we didn't get much sleep at all. It's hard to sleep with one beady eye open, keeping watch for black bears in the dark. Notices everywhere warn everyone to store all their food and toiletries in the special bear-proof storage boxes that line the carpark. We did so diligently but hoped that our sweet smelling flesh wouldn't attract this oversized vermin! We never spotted any but we saw plenty of deer, birds and squirrels.
Despite 35 deg averages in the day, it dropped down to about 10 at night. The park was impressive, the rocks huge, especially El Capitan, a rock climber's haven. In fact, Alexandra, one of the Venezualans we met the night before had climbed it and slept on it's face over a couple of days. Half Dome was also breathtaking especially at sunrise from Glacier Point, an extinct glacier that ripped through the mountains yonks ago. The pics don't do justice, I guess you'll have to go see it yourself!
Aside: Do you recall the Mello-Yello-in-the-loo episode in Auckland resulting from Dee losing her flipflops? Well, it happened again! The loss of flipflops, not stepping barefoot into the loo! And again, they were recovered! Viva, la flipflops!
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