I’ve always believed that I enjoy things more when I share them with other people, that was the original purpose for starting this blog. In the weeks leading up to my trip I had several freak-out moments at the thought of traveling alone. I’m a hyper-social person, I’ve grown into an extrovert, I thought I’d be so lonely on the road for six weeks. Turns out I love traveling solo, I think I actually prefer it.
A few years ago I started keeping a journal that I only write in on my birthday. I record a summary of the year in my life, and some goals for the next year. Independence, more specifically being comfortable with being alone, was my biggest goal for 26. Driving down Highway 140 towards Yosemite I realized that I had achieved the goal. I was cruising the highway, listening to Dylan, entering the Sierra foothills, and totally psyched for a day of solo hiking.
My Sequoia experience was definitely enriched by having the company of Julie and her family; but Yosemite was intense and blissful because I was on my own. When you think of Yosemite you probably think of hiking or camping, or maybe swimming, but I think napping is one of the best things you can do there. They should put it all over their brochures, people lying prone, peering up through the trees, heads rested on backpacks. It’s probably one of the ten best napping destinations in the world, certainly in the continental U.S.
After my nap I headed straight for the Vernal Falls. I’m not sure why I’m so drawn to water; possibly because I was born on an island but more likely because I watched The Little Mermaid everyday between the ages of 4 and 7. Whatever the reason, any type of water-attraction is always at the top of my list.
Yosemite is a little more crowded than I’d like. Walking up I had to dodge around couples holding hands (while hiking, really?), hearty German families, and elderly Chinese tourists pushing themselves to the brink of death to get a few souvenir shots of the falls. When the trail got closer to the falls I defected for a little while and went off course. Within a few minutes I was covered in mud and soaked by the mist. When I looked over the edge I saw a rainbow at the bottom, another powerful California-nature moment that was too amazing for words…
I hiked to the top and wrote for a while and did some more napping, then I hiked down and read for a while by the river. I am never going on vacation with anyone ever again. Perfect, perfect day.
I stayed in Yosemite until the moon was visible in the sky, and then started the hour-long drive to my hostel. If I was going to open a hostel, I probably wouldn’t put the word “bug” in the title. But considering that Yosemite Bug Hostel is the only affordable accommodation anywhere near the park they probably could have put the words “axe murderer” in the name and still have attracted people like me. I’ve stayed in a lot of hostels and this was definitely among the best. The common area was a huge cabin with a ridiculous restaurant, I’ve never seen tri-tipped steak on the menu at a “budget accommodation” before… I opted for the gumbo and a glass of wine to celebrate my personal independence day. Then I had to move my car about thirty feet and backed it into a pole- scratched it, dented it. For once my initial reaction was not “Call Home,” but rather “I bought renter’s insurance, they got this shit covered.”