On May 27th, 2011 Zach set off on a cross country road trip in a 30 foot RV with 9 of his friends to Yosemite National Park in California. Driving nearly non-stop, of course we had to refuel the RV and stretch every now and then; we traversed from coast to coast in just under 48 hours. It was an amazing experience seeing all the changing landscapes and the differences between New Jersey and these other states. Once in California, we camped for a week right outside of the Yosemite Valley. Our day trips focused on hiking and exploring this great national treasure.
The sheer magnitude of the Valley size is something to behold, just driving in made me realize that one could explore this park for years and never go to the same place twice. This entire valley was first covered by a towering glacier scouring out sheer granite walls, and then thousands of years of steady erosion from the rivers cutting through this valley created waterfalls and lush meadows at the base of the cliffs. The base elevation of the Valley is around 3,200 feet above sea level; most of our hiking would take us above 6,000 feet while our highest trek reached about 7,100 feet. The trail was steep and climbed nearly 3,500 vertical feet in about 3 miles. We did as much hiking as we could. I suppose we hiked 40 miles of trails and got to see some exquisite wildlife as well.
For a lifelong east coast resident going out west to the larger mountain ranges is awesome. I saw things that could never happen here in New Jersey such as the ten (10) plus feet deep snow cover still on the ground during the last week of May. Surprising is an understatement, when I'm used to all of the snow around here being completely gone by the end of March. This year the Yosemite Valley received nearly twice their annual snowfall and many of the roads were still snow covered and closed inside of the park due to the harsh winter. All of this extra snow had its ups and downs though. Several of the hikes we planned were abandoned since the trails were closed due to the copious amounts of snow. However, due to the large melt, a number of "unnamed waterfalls" were created and allowed the traditional waterfalls to flow in all of their glory; this was a great treat as many visitors don't even get to see some of the major falls as they dry up in the summer time. Yosemite is a place of raw power and beauty with the many waterfalls cascading over the Valley walls creates a feeling of humbleness.