Let me first apologize. This post will probably be a series of minute details and run on sentences that will be of no importance to anyone but me. But hell, this is my journal so go to hell. Oh, and to make it even more unbearable for all three of my readers, I haven't added any pictures for your viewing pleasure. Just green words on white. Enjoy.
On Friday I made a last minute decision to pack up a few things and head off into the wilderness by myself. This isn't always the smartest thing to do but I desperately needed to get out of the city. Plus, I wasn't going any where too far off the map.
I wanted to be able to swim, to be alone, and to do a bit of hiking. After some quick research on my down time at work I decided that I would head down to Wawona a small village in southern Yosemite. I packed up my truck with some Kashi bars, some lamb, and plenty of water and headed south/south east. I totally forgot how therapeutic driving could be. I drove for approximately six and a half hours (I got a bit lost, not to mention that Google maps sucks big time) on major freeways, highways, and a whole bunch of on lane, back roads. It was pitch black out, so black that I was hallucinating my surroundings. It felt like I was driving through a deep canyon but when I'd turn my brights on there was nothing. Not a tree, not a rock, nothing. Just the rolling hills of agricultural California.
I finally arrived at the gates to Yosemite and proceeded to Wawona to try to find a place to park my truck where I wouldn't be seen sleeping in the back of it. About a half an hour later I settled down, safely tucked away in the back of a tree filled parking area. I should mention that I couldn't find any bear lockers for my food so I just tied up my cooler and walked it into the middle of a field and left it. I mention this because it weighed heavily on my mind all night. So heavily that I slept with a hatchet in my sleeping bag. I could just see the headlines 'Man mauled by bear, sleeping in back of truck'. Anyway, so as the night goes on my paranoia increases with every little breaking twig. And then I hear a stomp. Or I think I heard a stomp. I peek my head out of my sleeping bag and peer over the side of my truck half expecting my head to be swiped off by a huge paw. Nothing. I'm frozen, staring into the night, when I hear it again. This time I definitely heard it. It was a stomp. Then I hear more stomping and now I hear heavy breathing too. Ok, at this point I'm for sure freaking out. I unzip my sleeping bag and sit up and listen. The breathing has turned to snorting and stomping and me freaking the eff out. I get up and make a dash for the drivers seat, toss it in drive and press on.
It is now probably close to two thirty in the morning. I finally find another nice sleeping spot and quickly fall asleep. In the morning I head out to find my cooler, half expecting that it be in several pieces. It's not. Looking around the field and parking area where I first planned to sleep I realize what it was that was going 'bump' all night. I was parked near the horse stables. One must have woken up when I got there and been stamping and snorting and make all that 'terrifying' ruckus through the night. I laughed at myself as I chowed down on an almond and chocolate Kashi cereal bar.
I hoped in my truck and headed for the trail head. Once there I brushed my teeth, stripped down to my swimming suit and headed up the dirt path. I should also mention that I got plenty of looks from my heavily geared fellow hikers. Who was I to think that I could hike up wearing nothing but a tiny pair of shorts, my bare feet slipping around in my vans while these folks, ski poles and boots and floppy hats and wool socks and all had to hike up in a miserable sweaty mess of fleece, wool and polypropylene. Needless to say they looked at me like I was c.r.a.z.y.
Oh, I guess I should mention where exactly I was and what trail I was on and where I was heading, right? So, like I said, I was in the town of Wawona, heading up the Chilnualna Falls trail to a little known swimming hole called Pot #3. The trail head starts at around 4,200 feet in elevation and the hike to the top ends at around 6,000 or so. There, so now you have the gist/motivation of my trip and now I can get back to my step by step recount.
So I head up the trail with my little guide book tucked into my shorts, pulling it out at every twist and turn in the trail making sure that I don't get lost. I eventually come to the creek witch is actually pretty stunning. It is comprised mostly of granite slabs and boulders and cascading falls and trickling pools. I hike about half way up the trail, making several false stops/discoveries of what I thought was Pot #3, when I come to a clearing. I scramble to the top of some boulders and look down at the valley. I follow the creek up seeing if there could possibly be a more interesting way to do this hike, i.e. through the creek, soaking wet and scrambling boulders and tromping through the water when my eyes come to rest and the spot below me; a beautiful, secluded little swimming hole that, interestingly enough, looks exactly like Pot #3.
After a series of boulder hopping, sliding on my butt and climbing my way off the path I arrived at my destination. The water was crisp, the air even crisper as the sun hadn't even crested yet. Oh yeah, did I mention that I did all this before it was even 9:00 am?? Well I did. So I sat around, reading, widdling and breaking sticks. Waiting. Watching as the sun peeked over the hillside to warm my little valley. Soon enough it was screaming hot. Sweat was dripping down my back, beaded on my forehead and shining on my forearms.
I spent the day talking to myself, reflecting, reading, spitting, swimming, and talking to the four large fish, three medium and countless tiny ones that were trapped in the swimming hole until next years rains. I spent the better part of that day just lounging and relaxing in my own private paradise as apparently no one had either heard of or knew where this hole was.
After 24 hours alone, speaking to no one, seeing no one I decided I wouldn't spend another day in this place. That I would head home for some family love. My drive time was cut in half no thanks to Google. I was home by 7pm and swimming in my sisters soon to be ex apartment complex by 8 pm.
Sunday was spent lounging around the house in the morning and then heading off to spend the day in Capitola. It was nice to spend the day at the beach, swimming in the sea. Yes, we swam in that frigid water. I am actually reluctant to wash the sea out of my hair. Gross, yes, but that's me.
I ended the day my day cozying up with my roommates and watching The Golden Compass.
Now, sorry for the breathy post but I just wanted to get it all down on record.