25th July 2015

Thursday, July 23rd – Saturday, July 25th 2015: Yosemite Nationalpark – and no bears far and wide

Without any further delay I take the shortest way directly to Yosemite National Park. That was the plan – but, all of a sudden a car from the Highway Patrol with all the flashing lights on appears behind me! I go a bit to the side, meaning to let him pass. But that not what he does, he stops me. Oh no! What did I do wrong? The officer walks towards me, looking at my motorcycle and at my plate and says: '"you have been reported driving too slowl!!! Haaaaa? I quite soon realised that he did not mean me; some minutes ago there have been about five cars in front of me and at the front a little motorcycle that could definitely not keep the maximum speed. So I guess that one of the annoyed car drivers called the highway patrol. But before he reached us the little motorcycle had taken a side street and therefore I was the only motorcycle by far and wide. It seemed to complicated to explain (and I was absolutely not sure if he would believe that story). So I just apologised and said that I probably forgot about the speed because of the beautiful landscape. He smiled and said: "ok, but please speed up now“. That is definitely something no other policeman has ever said to me!
Shortly after lunchtime I reached the entrance of the park and see that all campgrounds are already full. Oh no! What shall I do now? I just give it a try and ask the man at the campground reservations desk. Fortunately only the campgrounds in Yosemite Valley are all full. The ones outside are still available: first comes, first serve. So I drive immediately on and take – stupid as I am – the wrong road and get into Yosemite Valley. It is beautiful no question: Half Dome, El Capitan, the waterfall. But it is absolutely overcrowded and I just drive through. Luckily I find a perfect campground: Yosemite Creek, again one with just the necessities: a table, a fire ring, communal toilets, water out of the river and important in these parks, a food locker to store the food safely and not to attract the bears.
The road down tot he campground is 7km long, partly gravel, partly just bumpy paved. What fun for my Suzy Blue. After setting up the tent I drive to the next store (40km away) to get some food and drinks for the next three days. So I can drive the same road another two times passing several slow driving 4x4 pickups.
On the trail down to Yosemite Valley, passing the waterfalls: appr. 15km walking and 1300 meters of elevation. The trail is not easy to keep on, sometimes you have to read the tracks of other hikers for not getting lost. And that is definitely a bad thing in this area with bears and mountain lions around. They are just as welcome as long as in the distance for a nice picture.
The landscape of Yosemite National Park is absolutely beautiful: all these impressing giant mountains, the waterfalls, the pines that grow in the most impossible places. The pictures show you better than I can tell!
Halfway I meet Alex, a young American who normally works at the park entrance and his free days spent hiking the trail within the park. We walk the rest of the way down together and it is really interesting what he can tell me about the park. I reach Yosemite Valley just in time to buy a drink and then catch the bus back to the campground – or as near as the bus drives.
As I am now prepared for the cold night I am already looking forward to cooking a nice hot soup and a tea. But my camping stove does not work at all and so I can only eat another sandwich and a lukewarm Coke. OK, no problem – with all my "woolies“ on, I crawl into the sleeping bag – nice and cosy warm!
But now the "schedule“ for the next day is clear: clean the camping stove, check Suzy Blue, plan the next few days and enjoy the sun.