This blog has now reached it's end. The American Adventure has finished. Will there be a sequel in the near future? One will never know, but for now let's let the credits roll...

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Chapter 3+4=7 - The BIG Weekend Adventure.



Not Yos Mite, marmite, dust mite.

I'm not going to break this post up like I normally do, so it'll be long. LOOONNNGGGG. And there's 14 minutes of video and 200 pictures at the end of it so be ready for a real adventure.

I was there over the Mother's Day weekend for a nice weekend getaway. All I knew was that it was in the middle of the forest, containing North America's tallest waterfall. Thank goodness I didn't have a class on Friday so I was able to leave with one group on thursday and spend the whole of Friday exploring the forest reserve. Twas a long drive - 5 hours or so. We left at about 9 at night after dinner and a break and got there somewhere at 2 in the morning. It got quite chilly at night reaching about 5 degrees C. It's up in the hills so it does get kind of cold and it is still spring after all.

If my camera had worked the way I wanted it to, I could've taken a shot of the night sky because it was super starry. Like cheesy-Hong-Kong-serial-love-scene-stare-at-the-sky-too-many-stars-to-be-remotely-real kind of starry. Sadly my camera refused to take a picture of that so just imagine it. It was great.

We stayed in a cabin that one of our friend's family owned. It was a great big wooden cabin and it looked fantastic. You'll see some pictures of it later. It was perfectly quiet at night. And apparently there's bears out there. Whee.

Well, it being 2am, we quietly went to bed and got ready for the great adventure.

Day 1.
Springtime is actually incredible when you actually get to experience it. The sun is up relatively early and the air is cool and comfy. Plus the fact that we were in a 1200 square mile forest reserve does make a great springtime locale. There's bees and butterflies everywhere. Birds chirping - I got a real close up picture of one, and some other wildlife too.

And trees.

Oh the trees. There are trees so tall here that if you tried to look up one of them you'd break your neck. It's like that upward staring feeling you get when you stare up a really tall building from its base. Lots of trees. And we started Friday off with a trip to a Californian treasure - the Giant Sequoias. Yup. Those magical trees with all the vowels in them. The really tall really fat tree. The tree with the greatest volume of tree there ever was. If you go to wikipedia and look up giant sequoia you'll see the 'Grizzly Giant' on the right. I saw that very tree and it was huggggeeee... Pictures in the slides below.

It was a 2 mile hike from the carpark to where the sequoias were. Lots of photos of the scenery and trees and wildlife along the way on that hike. And snow. Yes there was still snow. I wasn't expecting it. A friend told me there would still be snow there but I wasn't sure about that. But there was snow. There were bits of it hardened on the side of the hills and more of it at the falls, more on that later.

I took a couple of shots of the trees and I hope I did justice to the sheer size of them because it's amazing how huge they are. And to think that they grow from a single cone 7cm big. No wait. They grow from a seed from the cone 5mm big. Yes. A tree of more 5-7 meters in diameter and more than 50 meters tall grows from something 5mm wide. That is nothing short of 1000 times the rate of growth.

It only points me to one verse - Mark 4:20. God's kingdom is like the mustard seed, small but grows to be great. And that's just how God does things. That's His MO if you will. His method. His style. And these giant trees are proof of that too.

I wish we had more time. There were some other significant trees that we didn't have time to go check out. I got the biggest one of the grove though - the Grizzly. There was a Fallen Tunnel Tree there too that you can find on the wiki page of 'Mariposa Grove'. I got a picture of the 'Bachelor and Three Graces'. And some others that I saw. Just so huge. So immense. So amazing.

Wonderful isn't it. You never knew someone could rave on about trees for this long.

Anyway, that was day 1.

Night 1.
We just relaxed in the cabin, waiting for the rest of the crew to arrive. Two other cars were making it up on Friday night. A bunch of us broke out a jigsaw puzzle of yosemite falls. And we were strangely compelled to finish it. I seriously doubt a jigsaw could've been any more fun than it was that night. I guess when a bunch of people come together to do a really hard jigsaw, cracking all sorts of jokes, it becomes quite a joy to do.

Stayed up till 2 in the morning again to finish it. Don't know why. Deep regret the next morning. 7 pieces missing. You'll see a picture of that too.

Day 2.
The big day. The crew's gathered together and we're heading out to the Falls. Yosemite Falls is made up of the upper and lower falls, making it the tallest in North America. And I would climb all the way up to the top.

So that's where I went. We went to the base of lower falls and I got really close to it. A small bunch of us climbed the rocks to get right to the base where the water was crashing down and got really soaked. It was a rush getting that close to the falls. The sound was deafening and the wind was strong and the mist of water was so strong and thick, I got soaked in mere seconds. Wasn't planning on it, but it was certainly a lot of fun.

And then we attempted the upper falls. I must say that once again my relentless idiocy took over. It's exactly the same as that time that I said I was going to climb Mount Kinabalu. I just said I was going to. I was in no way prepared for it and no way in shape to actually do it.

It hurt. Bad.

But I did make it all the way to the top. My feet were ruined. My knees were ruined. My ankles were ruined. My thighs were ruined. My hips were ruined. My shoes were ruined. My whole lower half was ruined. I look back now and although the end destination was something totally spectacular and of incredible novelty value - one that no one else would've ever experienced had they not gone all the way to the top - I regretted it. I would've been fine appreciating the lower falls. I didn't NEED to take that long and tough hike to the top. But I did. Because I said I was going to. But I didn't need to. That would've been fine by me.

That being said, I am proud of myself.

The falls were amazing. The sound as I got nearer and nearer to it resembled roaring thunder. It doesn't quite come through in the videos but trust me, it's like powerful thunder roaring every second. Just immense power crashing on the rocks with so much force. There can only be one word - awesome. In its original intended meaning. Awe inspiring. I was in total awe at the power and force and splendour and beauty of the falls.

I made it to the top. There was some snow along the way. I made it to the top. Relentless idiocy. Exactly like the Kinabalu climb. I was ruined. I could've used a nice beer after that.

You'll see lots of pictures of scenery along the climb. I just kept snapping because it was just so beautiful. Tired.

Night 2.
Had some asian style noodles for dinner. If only there was laksa soup. Oh yes, I do miss asam laksa as of now. And curry laksa.

Mint brownies for dessert. Spot it in the pictures. Brownies with green cream. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. Mint and chocolate is a match made in heaven.

After that we had some incredible post dinner conversations and discussions. Interesting foray into 5102938 different topics.

Day 3.
Time to head home. What a weekend. We had church in the woods with some praising and reading the Word of God together.

Then the 5 hour drive home.

What an adventure.

Here's the pictures and video. Be warned, there are a ton of scenery pictures of pretty much the same thing, but it's so gorgeous I can't help myself. I'm not captioning any of the pictures either, so make of it what you will. Some pictures are on friends' cameras and I'll get the ones I want some time later. One of our group has compiled all the photos and we'll find a way to circulate them. There are some shots that I do want from some other cameras.

Enjoy Yosemite. I'm sure I did.

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