Day Thirteen, San Francisco/ Yosemite

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Yosemite. Today I got to visit Yosemite. It was worth getting up early, the 8 hour drive there and back again, and the expense. Yosemite is one of the most beautiful and powerful places I have ever visited. Though I was physically tired after such a long day, mentally I felt rejeuvanted. Even though I haven’t been travelling for that long I think this will be one of my trip highlights.

I woke up at 5.15 and quietly slipped into my clothes. I tried and think I succeeded in not waking anyone up as I got ready. The lady who had sighed at me last night as I prepped (at 9pm) was still snoring so I figured I’d avoid receiving yet more disapproving sighs. I knew where I was getting picked up at but I wasn’t sure quite which corner of the blocks. I wandered across the road and then came back to my original spot. I was deliberately early as I did not want to miss this trip. The pick up time came and went and I started to panic slightly. But it was ok they were just running late. Apologies if I talk about transport issues too much but damn it feels important to me!

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The driver suggested we all try to nap as there wasn’t much to look at for a couple of hours. I happily agreed and put on my eyemask. I woke up to us driving through a grove of almond trees. We travelled through old gold rush towns and up a road that in a few short miles would take us 6000 feet up. The driver put the song ‘I’m on top of the world’ it was kinda cheesey but on the right side of cheese.

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We first visited the tuolomne grove of giant sequoias, it was a mile hike away and we were given a health warning as it was difficult walk back to the tour bus. I ignored it as I had so desperately wanted to visit them. I took a puff of my inhaler and headed towards the giant trees. I saw deers who were completely unafraid of me.

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They were magnificent, I have never seen trees so tall or wide. It felt like a magical garden. As prewarned it was a tricky hike back to the bus. I made it with a few minutes to spare.

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We travelled deep down into the valley, descending a few thousand feet in our little tour van. Our tour guide stopped at a few points so we could get photos. He pointed out half dome and its dolphin likeness. The monstrous size of El Capitan and the gushing Bridal Falls.

When we arrived in the valley we were given 1hr30m to eat our packed lunches (or picnics as our tour guide called them) and to have a little hike and visit the bottom of the Yosemite Falls. I walked away from the group to try and find a quiet spot in the shade to eat. I struggled to find one, I found one good looking place and it was full of flies. Reluctantly, I headed back towards the waterfall and finally sat and ate. A multitude of people walked past as I quietly ate my salad. A squirrel kept inching closer, enticed by the kale. I must have looked crazy asking it to please leave me alone.

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You could hear the water crashing down onto the rocks. The further I walked towards the falls the more deafening it would become. Even though there were groups of people the sound of the water helped to drown them out. You could feel the spray from a distance, it was refreshing. As you can see, it was doing wonderful things to my hair.

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We then gathered back as a group as our time was nearly up at Yosemite. We travelled to get a better view of El Capitan and to try to spot the climbers. I couldn’t find them easily so Anthony the guide let me borrow his binoculars so I could see them. They were specks on the cliff face. I bet even if you zoomed in on any of my photos you couldn’t see them. There was a few climbing centre left where the shadows look like nostrils.

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We then went to one of the prettiest and well known spots for our last destination before heading back to SF. It was stunning and didn’t feel real, it felt like I was part of this magical dream. The first photo in this post is from that spot but I’ll include another one to save you from scrolling up again.

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Doesn’t it look like the kind of place you could find real faeries or nymphs? It’s very calming to look at.

The journey back was uneventful, I napped and looked through the photos I had taken with a smile on my face. I got back to the hostel late at about 8.30pm and I had a basic meal before retiring to bed, exhausted.

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