When I stepped up to the counter at the Yosemite Valley Visitor Center, I believe the ranger was taken aback by my bluntly but enthusiastically asking: “I want to walk as little as possible today but want to see as much as possible. Please tell me you have a bus tour?” After a quick conversation about my PCT hike (“you’ve already seen more of Yosemite than 95% of the tourists!”) he quickly explained where I could catch the hayride tour and off I went to try to catch the 1pm tour in 18 minutes after a short shuttle ride. I made it with 4 minutes to spare and quickly snagged a seat in front.
After a snafu with reading the bus schedule, and long bus rides (almost 2 hrs each way) Tink and I played tourist in Yosemite valley this afternoon, and while every minute seemed filled I still didn’t get to see any of the museums or hike any if the side trails (obviously). I so enjoyed chatting with Tink during the bus rides, they flew by in a flash. Seeing Half Dome, El Capitan, the Cathedral and so many more sights made me feel small in the midst of grandeur – I was grinning most of the afternoon. Just stunning, and I definitely want to come back. It was hot on the open air “bus” tour, but I loaded up with sunscreen and water and the 2 hours went by quite fast. Ranger Kate was very knowledgeable and a great presenter. I still can’t quite believe I hiked here when literally everyone else around me drove. Many comments were made about the traffic, but I just kept quiet! All in all, an amazing zero day. The only snafu was that my resupply box is still MIA but the store in Yosemite was quite well stocked though pricey.
Back in Tuolumne Meadows campground, we had a wonderful campfire with a family finishing up their yearly backpacking trip – mom has 11 kids (not all of whom were present) ranging in age from 16-37, who all backpack due to her influence, and doesn’t look at all like she’s turning 60 this year! Cat Burgler and Firestarter weren’t dead, thank heavens, just spent last night camping near the Tuolumne lodge, but I was very happy to see them. Steel toe, Giggles, and Birdbath also showed, along with meeting String Cheese and Chickenwire, a JMT-er who just started and generously invited us all to call her when we hit her hometown of Ashland OR. All in all, a fabulous evening and the absolute antidote to the lonely camps I’ve had the past 2 sections. The only question that remains – am I really hiking out tomorrow on the 4th? Motivation is low with such good company :).