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USA | Saturday, 31 July 2010 | Views [488]


Long time no write, I know. The internet options are limited when camping in National Parks that are lucky to have more than 2 loos and any showers at all! Here follows a quick rundown of what I've done thus far!

17th July, overpriced town car to meet fellow trekkers - full group of 13 plus leader. A quick stop at Grauman's Chinese Theatre, and a squint at the far distant Hollywood sign, and then off to Santa Barbara - hot hot hot, and the first of many sandwich lunches to come. First campsite was mostly for RVs - huge, and very cramped together. Somehow I managed to have my own tent!

18th July was a drive with lots of stops on the Big Sur coastline - absolutely beautiful.

19th July was a long long drive day to Yosemite - campground about an hour's drive away. We stopped in at a grove of Sequioa trees - they really are quite large!

20th July was our first proper walking day in Yosemite. I got the front seat in the van, and was able to get the full picture of our arrival into the park - it is like stepping into a Jurassic Park / Lost World. You can understand why John Muir - who 'discovered' it acted to preserve it. Absolutely astonishing. The waterfalls here (6 mile hike later) kicked the butts of any and every other waterfall we saw afterward! I didn't manage the trek up Half Dome - it was too hot, and I'm too unfit! (As I discovered on the trip down into the Sequoia grove the day before.) Pizza for tea once everyone had managed to drag themselves off the mountain was hard-won!

21 July we drove into San Francisco. Foggy crossing over the freezing golden gate bridge - lots of people bought sweatshirts here! Lunch on Haight street, photographs of the Seven Sisters, then to our hotel (!) which was so worthwhile! We went on a sunset sailboat cruise (booze cruise) which was ace - saw dolphins ad pelicans, and Alcatraz loomed over us. I may have ended up singing in a karaoke bar...

22 July I went on my own to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art - and possibly one of the best museums I have EVER been to. Felt quite emotional afterward! I then had a mooch down Market Street, and climbed to the top of  Powell Street. I then met back up with the group, had dinner and strayed to a local bar.

23 July We bid farewell to the amazing gorgeous sunshine we had in SF, and ended up at the Klamath Camper Corral, which was possibly the weirdest place we stayed. Next to the coast, it had a permanent gloomy fog. I got completely and totally freaked out by the very nearby arrival of a scavenging bear - yes I actually saw one!

24 July we had a small ramble in the Elk Prairie Creek Redwoods Park, and saw a big tree or two. I bought a jumper here, and everyone bought blankets at Walmart - it was cooold the night before. Nobody much fancied a long hike in the afternoon, so we went to the closeby beach - which was amazing. Beautiful, and weird because of the fog and driftwood. We saw whales here - really close to the beach. Ceremonial area for the local Yurok tribe.

25 July we drove up the Oregon coast -a long day, but it is gorgeous. I decided not to dune buggy, and instead clamber the massive dunes. Bad idea as I was sandy for about three days afterward, and this was where I got bitten, probably by a spider.

26 July we had another long drive day, stopping in on Portland. I loved it, despite the fact that my hand had swelled up to about 3 times its normal size from the bite. First stop when I got there was the pharmacist for lots of strong anti histamines! We had probably our best campsite in the Ike Kinewa state park - we were a minute's walk from the  lake, and we had a great late night, watching the sun set, the full moon rise through the trees, and I saw my first shooting star- amazing. (Also stopped at the Mount St Helens visitor centre - big mountain explodes basically.)

27 July we went to Mount Rainier - hot sunny day, yet we were scrambling through snow on the glacier! Everyone loved it, but I was soggy and tired, and it felt very alpine to me, so I wasn't as amazed by it. Whistling Hoary Marmots were everywhere.

28 July we were driving again, and I saw lots of road signs for places I know of from the Twilight books. Very odd. We even stopped in Forks! We stopped off at the Hoh State Park visitor centre, which was fantastic. Tiny, but had signs that very clearly explained the formation of the rainforest in the area. Short walk through dry rainforest, where even the phone box had moss on it. Tiny terraced campsite is very tree-y.

29 July we hiked up to Sol Duc waterfalls - very pleasant walk was undulating, so you didn't notice any elevation - fantastic after the strain of climbing Rainier and another late night! We wandered over to the nearby spa resort - very smelly but lovely in the sunshine.

30 July we packed up for the last time and came on the ferry across Puget Sound to Seattle. Foggy arrival, which cleared up to a beautiful sunshiny day! Dropped off at the hostel, wandered around a bit, then had dinner with the trekkers, and drinks on a terrace watching the sunset. Fantastic.

Today - weird to wake up under a duvet and without all the trekkers. Pike Place Market, here I come! 

Tags: big sure, hiking, los angeles, national park, oregon, portand, redwood, santa barbara, state park, yosemite

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