We thought today would be difficult, but we had NO IDEA how tough it would REALLY be! The alleged 45 miles from Benton to Yosemite turned into 60...all uphill! We biked from an elevation of 6,000 to 9,900 feet and it was windy, cold and hard to breath as we biked past snow.
Initially, Justin thought it would be a good idea to bike the entire day himself. But Nathan biked the first 10 miles, Justin and I did the next 15, Justin and Andi did the following 20, and Justin finished up the last 15 alone. We warned him several times that the mountain pass would be the toughest part of the day, but Justin insisted on biking through to the Yosemite Park sign. As the four of us waited for Justin to catch up to the van, we met a traveling missionary named Michael.
Michael has been traveling all over the United States for 13 years with all his possessions on his bicycle. He chooses to live a simple life like the early Christians, traveling only with what is necessary. He has no set destination and says that his only home and direction is Heaven. Michael was freezing on the side of the road, struggling to push his bike uphill against the wind, so we offered to give him a ride to the bottom of Yosemite Valley. He gave us a new perspective on our trip, telling us how lucky we are to see all of God's beauty. Michael is probably one of the most interesting people we have met so far.
We parted ways with Michael and went to the visitor center for info on our camp site. They told us all the rules, including how to lock up our food to avoid black bears....AHHH!!! :/ They also told us we had to take off our trailer which is something we have struggled to do before (like in Zion). Thanks to WD40, we managed to lift the rusted clamp in one try. GO TEAM!
Yosemite is incredible...there are HUGE pine trees over 30 feet tall, as well as giant cliffs with waterfalls and pine cones almost as big as your face! We settled into camp, got some grub, and got cleaned up. In response to Kyle's ever popular phrase, "What have we learned...?" I would say Justin definitely learned he can't do it all. Poor guy's crashed out right now with extremely sore legs and a hoarse voice. Now we have a new nickname for him: Cookie, because he's one tough cookie! Afterall, he DID climb 3,000 feet today! We love you, J.Brown! :D
We're looking forward to sleeping in...until 9 am (if you call that sleeping in).