Monday, April 15, 2013

SLAY - part 4: ski, hike, swim, beer, bus, & train!

"I like this place and could willingly waste my time in it."
                          - William Shakespeare

After our tour up to Watkins we made our way back to our shelter.  And to our surprise we met 3 folks who came up from the valley to enjoy the snow.  One guy was on his way to the Tuolumne Meadows hut, while the other two were on snowshoes just up for a night.  We had a pleasant time chatting with them... there were German & French words spewing out, as most of us were not native to the state or the country.

The next morning, we woke up to 6 inches of fresh snow on the ground.  At one point in the middle of the night, there was an intense hail storm that must've woken everybody up.  The noise was quite deafening.  So after a quick solo lap on Watkins, we made brekky and started our slog down the zig zags on our way to a bus & a train.

Group shot with one of our bunk mates.  
Crossing the creek....
soon, we were hiking down, as the snow disappeared quickly.
There was a lot of "tree skiing"...

water droplets
Hiking down in the fog
Half Dome!
as the sun came out, the temperatures climbed drastically.  And Stefan turned into a superhero!
this is what happens when you hike with some Euros...
At the bottom, we found our bunkmates enjoying the Merced River.  And decided to wash off.
a perfect 10!

Merced River was refreshing and all... but next year... we're going for this... on Ostrander or Ellery... egh?

Basking in the sun... what more could you ask for.
Snack time
Looked like half dome was sublimating... very dramatic scenery... could've stayed there for much longer.
On the mirror lake trail
Looking back at Royal Arches, Washington Column (my first big wall), and Half Dome...
Yosemite Falls was going off!
We sat here and had a few beers while waiting for YARTs to come take us to Merced.  While waiting, there was a big rockfall, which sounded like thunder.  Pretty cool.  Check out the Yosemite Nature Notes on Rockfall: 
More brews...
Loading up the YARTs bus...
Which stops right at the Yosemite Bug Hostel, a great place to stay IMO.  Next time, I'd like to stay here afterwards to unwind in their spa after a fat meal from their amazing kitchen... maybe listen to a local band, then hit the sack.  
The disadvantages of being tall...
Looking back at the Sierras.
In Merced, I yelped for some restaurants.  And found a great Thai place about a mile away.  Had to run both ways, giving us 5 min of lee way.  I ordered enough for 6 folks...  turned out to be the perfect amount.  
The train's arrival.  Late as always.  
This was the end of spring break for many college students, so this thing was packed!
What you can't see in this pic is the poor Asian student sitting next to Alexis.  We did wash off in the Merced, but we were wearing the same clothes since Fri.  And I'm pretty sure we stank up the whole train... All in all a great trip with fantastic partners with amazing weather.  Can't wait to do it again next year.  

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