We were up around and out of our tents at around 7:30 to find that Ross & Chris had already left. C had spotted that the nearby lodge had a buffet breakfast and so we had arranged to go there with them. We took our tents down and headed over to the buffet. We got there at about 8am and didn’t leave until 10am. Ross & Chris were both slightly horrified with the amount of food we consumed. Even though they had got there around 7:30, we managed more than they did. It was a little expensive at $12.50 each, but it definitely beat the bowl of instant oatmeal that we had been planning on eating. It also meant that if the weather wasn’t conducive to cooking pasta, we would have enough food.
After breakfast, we headed over to Mirror Lake. Not long after we arrived, it started to rain. The day before the forecast had been for sun but as the rain started to fall I was glad that I hadn’t got a permit to climb Half Dome as it would have been miserable. Later I heard from people that had tried to climb, that they had had to turn round at the cables because they were too slippy to go up safely.
As we only had 20 miles of riding ahead of us, we went over to the visitors centre. We hoped that it would give the skies a chance to clear up, but unfortunately they didn’t co-operate. We got to watch a fascinating video about Yosemite in the amphitheatre. The most interesting thing I took out of it was that the Sierra Nevadas, the range Yosemite is in, is one big piece of rock 400 miles long and 80 miles wide. We found the sheer vastness of that one piece of rock startling. The videos stunning cinematography also enabled us to get a view of Yosemite that the clouds were denying us.
We hung out in the valley until about 2:30 and then had to head out. It was still raining, but we couldn’t afford to wait much longer. If we were to head out much later we would risk riding up in the dark, a prospect that didn’t really appeal. The ride started off nice and flat as it wound it’s way through the valley. After a few miles we turned off and started our climb up Big Oak Flat Road. Ross climbed off ahead, C & Chris rode together and I rode along by myself at the back. The ride was a constant climb, my favourite kind of climb. Ones that go up a long way with constant drops in them are just frustrating. My GPS shows the altitude and so when I see that I go over false summits they just annoy.
At the top of the climb, I entered Crane Flat campsite and found Ross had already set up his tent while C & Chris were busy getting organised. I wasn’t too cold, so decided to put my tent up before getting changed. C got back from getting changed and helped me put up my tent. She sleeps cold so wanted to share my tent. It would also save her from having to put her tent up. I was a little dubious about how well we would fit in it, but was willing to try it.
We all piled in to Chris’ tent and spent the next couple of hours playing cards. I’ve been carrying a pack of cards in my handlebar bag for the whole trip, but haven’t played much. I don’t know that many two player games and so it gets a little dull playing the same game over and over with C. Having all 4 of us meant we could also play Hearts, a game I’ve played many times on my PC but rarely in person.
After cards we needed to eat. As we were in grizzly bear country, we couldn’t eat in our tents and as it was raining still C & I headed over to the womens toilets. We sat down and divvied up what C had left over from the buffet. It was a bizarre place to eat, but definitely beat eating in the rain or eating in the tent and then being eaten by a bear or mountain lion.
C & I headed back to my tent and when we were both in I realised that we weren’t going to get a good nights sleep. Tents might get classed as two person, and it might have been a bit better if it weren’t raining or the floor weren’t sloped, but C & I really couldn’t fit in that well. I was also planning to use the time to write the text to a blog post or two but found that impossible given the sardiney nature of the situation. I watched a couple of TV shows and then tried to sleep. It proved very challenging and we ended up having our worst night of sleep in a tent since Florida.