Exploring Yosemite National Park.

I bought hiking boots for our trip to Yosemite. Of course I said they were “also for snow! They’re snow boots!” but they weren’t. They were obviously hiking boots. They tied up around my ankles and had big rubber soles on the bottoms, and as soon as Kyle saw me trying to shove them into the suitcase he said, “You’re bringing hiking boots? To California?” (He said it this way because I am not what one would call a ‘hiker’. Kyle has seen me “hike” before – my version of hiking looks a lot like walking.)

“Yes!” I said proudly. “For Yosemite.”

“Are those going to be comfortable?” He asked a little concerned. “You know we’re going to be walking a lot.” Which meant, “I’m not going to tip-toe around Yosemite with you when your feet hurt because you wore those dumb shoes.”

“Sure,” I said. “I’ll be fine.”

But what I meant was, “I did not buy these shoes because they were ‘comfortable’, I bought these shoes because they were cute – and HOW CUTE would I look wearing them in Yosemite?? When else am I going to have the opportunity to wear HIKING SHOES? YOU KNOW I DON’T HIKE.”

I don’t know why I bought those shoes. I mean, I know why, but… ugh. Anyway, now I have hiking boots that I never wear.

Fortunately I didn’t buy anything else “for Yosemite” because the day ended up being a total…no, “disaster” is the wrong word. I wouldn’t say anything disastrous happened. We got there, we hiked (well, Kyle hiked, I slipped and fell on a rock at the very beginning and then pouted for most of the morning because my ankle was sore). We took pictures, we climbed over some rocks (again, I fell during hour one so this part was more Kyle climbing over rocks and me sitting on a rock and pretending to be fine with it). We saw rock climbers and tourist groups and you could see where some of the trees had burned from the wild fires earlier in the year. We ate lunch (which consisted of hot dogs and potato chips, because that was all they had, so… for me, that meant, potato chips). We tried(?) to hike up one of the mountains, but got tired halfway through and turned around. We blamed it on “the altitude”.

Just like how I blamed me-tripping-over-a-rock-at-the-beginning-and-falling on “going too fast”.

We were climbing over a patch of rocks that used to be a small river in the middle of the park. The water had dried up leaving a pile of only rocks. Large rocks. Boulders, really. Kyle thought it would be a good idea to climb over them to get to the other side of the dried-up river, I followed – because what am I going to do? Stand around and wait for him to come back? – and then those fancy boots that I bought apparently weren’t grippy enough because I slipped on one of the rocks, slammed my knee into another rock and landed on my ankle as it wedged between two of the giant boulder-type-rocks.

I stopped. Kyle was way ahead of me, he had no idea I was still back there. I pulled myself up on the rock and decided to take a break. My ankle hurt. My knee hurt. Did I rip my leggings? No. Is my ankle sprained? No, I think I can walk on it. I’m fine, right? I’m probably fine. I’ve never sprained my ankle before, I don’t know what it feels like, but this probably isn’t it.

I couldn’t even see Kyle anymore, and I wasn’t in the mood to chase after him. The ankle-knee thing really put a damper on my free-spirited attitude. Why couldn’t we just walk over the bridge like everyone else, I thought. Why do we have to climb over these giant boulder things like monkeys? We’re not monkeys. We’re not even very coordinated humans.

A few minutes later, my phone rang. “Where are you?” Kyle asked. “I thought you were right behind me.”

“I fell.” I told him. “I’ll just meet you on the other side of the bridge.”

“Are you okay?”

“Yea, I just, I’m done with the rocks. My knee hurts and I think I messed up my ankle. So I’m done with the rocks. I’ll meet you on the bridge.”

Of course that would require getting to the bridge first. I was still sitting on that big rock, in the middle of a bunch of other big rocks. In order to get to the bridge, I was going to have to go back.

Great. More climbing.

How am I going to get over there? I wondered. How am I going to get off of this rock? I looked around. There were about two hundred boulders standing between me and the bridge.

It’s going to be so embarrassing if they have to bring in a helicopter to get me off of this rock. Children have managed to climb over these rocks successfully from one side to the other.

Eventually I mustered up the strength to climb back over the rocks to where we came from and make it over towards the bridge. (*Hobble over towards the bridge). Kyle was there to meet me.

“There’s a really cool waterfall up there,” he said. “You should have followed me the rest of the way.”

I gave him a dirty look. I mean, it’s not like my ankle was broken, or even sprained, but –

“My ankle hurts.” I told him. “I’m done with the rocks. No more climbing for me.”

So we walked along other, less strenuous, paths. We watched rock climbers dangling off the sides of the cliffs. We watched people setting up campsites for the evening. We watched the sunset.

Tips for visiting Yosemite:

  1. Pack a lunch. Yes, they have a restaurant (they probably have more than one, but we could only find one) and the only items on the menu are overpriced hot dogs and small bags of potato chips. Do yourself a favor, swing by a grocery store on your way into the park. (Or go the night before – it may be tough finding a grocery store out there. There isn’t too much out there once you get close to the park.)
  2. Download a “Hiking Trails” app on your phone. When we arrived at Yosemite, we were overwhelmed by where to start. The place is huge and there are so many different trails. We tried asking the Tourist Office for help, but all they did was give us a map. I downloaded the app “All Trails” on my phone, which tells you all of the trails in the park, can GPS you to their location, and even tells you the difficulty level.
  3. Wear comfortable shoes. Did not get ONE picture with my cute boots. Just saying.
  4. Bring your own “survival kit”. Bandaids. Water. Hair tie. Bug spray. Sunscreen. Portable charger. Maybe some extra socks? Just in case?
  5. Get started early. The place is huge. You’ll want to plan for all day.
  6. Be careful. This should go without saying. If you’re clumsy, like me, maybe climbing rocks just isn’t your thing. Be safe out there.

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