We got back to Calgary on Sunday afternoon and hung out with our friends for the last time in what would be a few months. Monday morning we woke up and went to pick up the last thing we were waiting on – roof awning mounts. We picked them up and then drove back to the house to sort everything out. We packed almost all of our things into the van and then chilled out in the afternoon. Tuesday morning we were up (much later than we wanted) and drove out to our friends’ parents’ house to say goodbye. We ate lunch there and had a cup of tea before calling the border crossing to check two things. First, what time they were open until, and second if we were able to keep our vertical garden herbs or if we had to get rid of them. We weren’t able to keep them so we emptied the pots into some buckets and waved goodbye. The drive to the border was uneventful and when we arrived the crossing was empty, we were the only car there. We drove up to the window where we were asked a few questions and then told to park as we had to go inside. We thought we were inside because they wanted to ask us more questions but they just wanted us to pay the $12 fee and scan our passports. After a couple of minutes we were officially in the USA and were quite relieved at how quick the process was, it meant we could drive even longer. We drove into Montana and continued south, aiming for the town of Bozeman. We made it and were so tired we thought we would just check into a hotel as it would be easier for us to wake up and go. As it turns out, Bozeman was all the rage that night and every hotel was booked out so we pulled into the car park at Walmart and spent our first night of our US road trip there. Waking up the next morning we looked haggard but had no time to dawdle, we had a roof awning to pick up and install. So we drove to a mechanics shop, picked up the awning we had ordered online through them (shipping to Canada was going to take too long) and drove to yet another car park, this time one for a hardware store. Once there Mark pulled out his toolbox and got to work whilst I sat in the car and relaxed, only getting up when I was called to “hold this here for me”. After a couple of return trips into the store, Mark had the awning secured to the roof racks and we were off to Nevada. We made it to Nevada that night and were lucky enough to get one of the last hotel rooms in the town – we couldn’t spend two consecutive nights at Walmart, we needed showers. Our original plan the next morning was to drive all the way to Yosemite National Park but one of the main roads was closed which meant hours were added to our driving. We made it as far as Lake Tahoe and pulled into a camp ground and set up camp that night. The next morning I awoke on my 25th Birthday to our usual routine of cooking, cleaning and packing up, before more driving. Mark drove most of the day and we arrived in the late afternoon in a town just outside of Yosemite. We got the last fully powered site and began setting up our little home. It was so hot there that it felt like the heat sucked the air out of you but it was nice to sit down under our new awning with some snacks, drinks and play a game of Italian cards. It was here that Mark handed me his phone and said Happy Birthday. I looked down and there was a video on there, so I pressed play and began watching my cousin unwrap my birthday present for me – a new handbag. I smiled and said thank you and when Mark asked if I was surprised my reply was “Do you want me to be honest or lie?” “You knew?” he asked me. “Well, last night when you asked me to check your phone to see who had messaged you I saw you had a message from Shan telling you it was all wrapped, so I put two and two together but I didn’t want to tell you because you tried so hard to surprise me.” His reply was simply “fuck, I knew it.” So we sat around and laughed about this for a while before getting an early night sleep for Yosemite the next day.
We had a bag packed with lunch and water as well as some sunscreen and the camera. We began the hike up and straight away we were glad we started early in the morning because the sun was already so hot. The hike itself was difficult but made more so with the sun burning into you for most of the way up. I had to constantly stop just to walk off the path and into some shade. We eventually made it to the top (not without some tears from me) and were immediately thankful for the trees up there giving much needed shade. I wanted to take a photo of Mark sitting on the edge of the cliff because he seemed to be able to get so close to the edge but when I moved closer to the edge I discovered that a cliff top with a sheer drop below is not really for me so I quickly took the photo of Mark and left to make lunch. On our decent down from the top we run out of water half way down and were so glad it was on the way down, not the way up because we watched so many people, only half way up, already out of water and in the peak of the afternoon sun and we began to worry for these strangers. Did they realise the path was in the sun most of the way up? Did they realise there was no water taps along the way? We didn’t think they did, and shortly after half way down a lady stopped me to ask if I could take a photo of her and her family. After I did she asked me how much longer to the top and my reply of 2 hours shocked her. I looked around at her and her family and saw that only a couple of them had water bottles and all of them were empty. When I asked her if they had water she told me that they had already run out. This shocked me because even though Mark and I had run out of water, that was on the way down and once we got to the shaded part. These people hadn’t even began the hardest part of the hike and they had no water. I advised them to get more water and then continued walking to catch up to Mark. I wonder if they listened to me or if they kept going. Right near the bottom a man stopped us and asked how much further to the top. Mark told him and then his reply was “Can I have some of your water?” we both looked at him in shock because surely he didn’t plan on hiking the entire thing without any water, but we told him we were out of water ourselves. Once at the bottom of the trail we walked another 2kms back to the visitor centre and filled up our water bottles. After that we slowly made our way back to the van to sit down, eat and take off our shoes. My feet were so swollen it hurt to walk in thongs but while Mark got the van ready I went and bought a bag of ice and emptied it into a bucket where we cooled our feet and I waited for mine to return to a normal size. Once they finally did, we ate lunch, for the second time that day, and then began yet more driving towards Sequoia National Park. On the drive we spoke about how much more difficult the hike was than we expected and how unprepared we were, even though we were so much more prepared than other people. We decided to stop at the first Walmart we saw and bought hats, additional water resoviours, a small backpack for me and some small water bottles. All up we would have about 8 litres of water for future hikes, which should be plenty.
We made it to a town called Three Rivers just before dark and booked into a hotel because it is so hot outside there is no way we could sleep in the van. Once we checked in we thought it would be a good idea to go get petrol now so we didn’t have to in the morning. When we were about to leave the petrol station a lady asked us if we could give her a lift back in as it was too hot for her to walk all the way back. She jumped in the passenger seat whilst I sat on the floor between the two seats and she told us about her job – she drove Mennonite and Amish girls around for their summer break before they went back to their communities to begin the process of finding a husband. The drive was only about 5 minutes long so we didn’t get to learn more. As I sit here I’m thinking that I should do some research on the small bit of information she gave us but in the end I’m so hot and tired, I just want to go to sleep.
Love, a very tired B xxx