DAY 5 - SUNDAY AUGUST 7TH 2005
Now this is
just getting plain silly. I wake up and look at the clock.
2.22am. Dont panic. Just relax. I told Tam earlier in the
day that you cant go to sleep by thinking about anything in
particular, you just have to try and let your mind wander into
strange places of its own accord.
I nearly succeed as I somehow discover how to generate enough electricity to power a small town using only a handful of potato peelings and yesterdays copy of the Daily Mirror. Unfortunately I then go on to think about a place where beer flows in all the rivers and Hooters girls frolic happily in the chicken wing meadows. By the time I return to the electricity problem, Ive forgotten the solution.
Look at the clock. 3.35am.
On the plus
side I dont think Ive added to my impressive
collection of mosquito bites. Although the one on the back of my
hand is itching like the devil. Perhaps Ill stick a pin in
it, that will show it whos boss.
They dont want to make mosquito repellent with Deet. They should make it smell like ugly mosquito. The little fellers would be flying happily until they approach you and think Oh my god, what a minger and fly off in the other direction. This would repel 99% of mosquitoes. You would only have the perverts left to worry about.
Another look at
the clock. 4.00am.
At this point I give up and go and sit in the loo and write down all the stuff youve just been reading. Life is a full and rich pageant, isnt it?
Desperate measures are called for. Tonight Im going to stay up until the un-godly hour of at least 10.00pm and drink a minimum of 5 beers. Ah beer. My one true friend and the solution to all of lifes problems.
We all get up at 6.30am and pack everything for the drive to Yosemite. At 8.00am we leave Cedar Grove and begin the winding drive out of the canyon, stopping occasionally to take photos. Im not sure how they will look on a computer, not as impressive as the real thing thats for sure.
About half an
hour in to the trip Georgia starts to feel sick. Its hardly
surprising, its a thrill ride all of its own,
twisting up the face of the mountains. We stop for a few minutes
to let Georgia settle down before continuing at a slower place.
After a short while Georgia drops off to sleep and we drive on
until we reach Fresno around 10.30am where we fill up with petrol
and stop for a late breakfast at a place called Perkos. All sorts
of eggy, hammy, French toasty things are consumed along with cups
of coffee. We dont want to fall asleep on the drive ahead,
do we? Its pretty good value at $44 including tip.
A little way up the road there is a sign that says Yosemite Scenic Route so we decide to take it. It becomes apparent pretty soon that this is taking us in the wrong direction. There is a sign to Bass Lake and we realise we can get back on to Highway 41 if we go this way. Im very glad we did as it takes us around the edge of the aforementioned lake and a very pretty drive it is to. This is obviously a fairly well to do vacation resort with many people driving speedboats and jet skis and boats around the lake. Some of the water front properties are very nice too.
We soon rejoin 41 and its not too long before we pay our $20 (for up to 7 days) entrance to Yosemite National Park. A few miles in and we stop at the Wawona Hotel for a look around and a cold drink. This is quite an old hotel and looks very pretty, but Im not sure I would want to stay this far out of the valley; its easily an hour on from here.
We continue along the usual twisting roads until we turn a corner and you suddenly see the valley in front of you. Simply stunning. You go through a tunnel and can then stop and have the same photo taken as millions of tourists before you, sitting on a low wall with the valley behind you.
El Capitan looms to the left and Half Dome is off in the distance on the right. You can also see Bridalveil Falls cascading down.
Half Dome. Now I wonder how they ever thought up that name.
In the information pack we received it says that El Capitan is the single largest rock structure in the world, it looks it too. We are wondering if this means it is bigger than Ayers Rock? It is quite simply the stunning single vista Ive ever seen.
We drive for another couple of miles before stopping to look at Bridalveil Falls. There are a lot of people around so we agree to return early one morning when it will be quieter.
Next we drive through a lush green meadow with Yosemite Falls tumbling down to our left. Another useless piece of information this is the 5th tallest falls in the world. Yosemite also boasts the 7th tallest in Sentinel Falls.
We soon reach
our destination, Curry Camp. Lots of people are checking in, but
it only takes about 30 minutes. You have to park your car in the
car park and carry all belongings with you to your accommodation.
As we are getting the suitcases out the car there are 3 large
deer grazing in the car park.
Curry Camp is mostly canvas tents on concrete bases, but there are a number of cabins as well. We have one of these, number 272. It is really only a wooden structure with 2 double beds, a small desk unit and a rail to hang clothes. Oh, and a heater. That will come in useful in near 100°F temperatures.
We quickly unpack and head straight for the pool to cool off. Its just a basic pool, but I dont think there will be a more spectacular setting. Huge cliffs rise either side of the valley floor.
We all need
showers and there are shower blocks for that purpose. They are
basic but adequate.
When we are all ready we go exploring. There is a buffet restaurant, a pizza place with a terrace outside and an adjoining bar. There is also a Mexican fast food place, which strangely shuts at 5.00pm. The retail needs are catered for by a store and a shop, which has all manner of paraphernalia, associated with hiking and camping.
Never mind that rubbish, wheres the beer!
Tam stands in
the queue to get a pizza while I go to the bar to get the drinks.
Its $4.50 for a pint and $5.50 for a large beer. I order 2
pints. It isnt until after that I realise that a pint in
the US is not the same as a pint in the UK. Should have got the
The pizza on the other hand is the exact opposite. For $29 we get a monster pizza for me, Tam and Ind and a small pizza for Georgia who insists she cannot eat tomato, mushroom, garlic, pepperoni, peppers . Just about any edible substance known to man that isnt ham and pineapple. The girls also split a large Coke.
very nice and the pint of beer is swiftly followed by a large
beer while Tam has a Pina Colada.
It certainly isnt a quiet place as there are people waiting to grab a table on the terrace as soon as one becomes available. In fact its the exact opposite of Cedar Grove in the Kings Canyon, but that is not a criticism, both places have their pros and cons.
After being fed and watered we explore further. It looks like rafting on the Merced River is a possibility tomorrow. Before turning in another beer is required and we make plans for tomorrows activities. There is so much we want to fit in and so little time.
between here and Kings Canyon is amazing. This place is packed
with tourists, but also has a better infrastructure to deal with
it. In Curry camp alone there are 1,500 plus people staying at
any time along with the other people in Yosemite Village.
Compare this with the end of the road in Kings Canyon, which gives the alternative of 2 campsites or 22 rooms at Cedar Grove Lodge. Im not sure which one I prefer or even if its fair to compare.
By the way, this is similar to Kings Canyon in that it sure aint no party town. The bar, pizza place and shops all shut down at 10.00pm. They even have big signs up saying that quiet time is between 10.00pm and 6.00am. Looks like early to bed and early to rise is going to be the motto for this holiday.
Even so, by the time we get back to the hut (cabin is too posh a word for it), gone to the communal bathroom to do our teeth (no loo or sink in the hut) it is probably 10.45pm. 24 hour party people! Who knows, perhaps I will get a lie-in until 4.00am tomorrow!
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