Donnerstag, 16. September 2010

Yosemite/ Sequoia Nationalpark and other good stuff DO NOT MISS THIS

back from the dead, back from the mountain of wisdom, back alive.

one song that sounded really cool in a vegas nightclub:

Right after my last entry I descended into deep adventure times.
Starting off with... the night before yosemite

I booked a busride from San Francisco to Yosemite at 4.50am from the ferry harbor.
Because departure date was a Sunday OF COURSE I had to go out on the night before (Saturday) with my good buddy Ben in San Fran.
So my decision: Go out until everything closes down at 2am, then go to bus pickup place at ferry H A R B O R and wait until 4.50am.
*ok just to calm down some minds who actually care about me: harbor here means the Piers where ferries leave, mainly touristy and its right next to Downtown. not as threatening as the real harbor, BUT STILL A DEATH ZONE HAHA! nah kidding...*
Hohohoo, this turned out quite scarry. I found a nice bench with this MAGNICIFENT view over a big bridge, NOT the golden gate one, at night with SF Downtown right next to it. AwEsOmE. too bad i dont have a picture of that night.
This is the bridge but I was closer and it was night. Camera batteries were empty at that night

my peace was totally interrupted when something or someone started screaming like a lunatic (im pretty sure the guy was lunatic), not to far from my point but i couldnt see him.
Then for about 10minutes the screaming stopped and I didnt care so much anymore, except my heart pounding and not listening to music anymore, because you want to be AWARE on the harbor.

Then suddenly SCREAM right around the corner. Heart BUM BUM BUM, grab all my stuff and OFF i am. Damn. I escaped to a bench behind plants and with lots of light, which turnedout to be a perfect place where nobody could see me and i could read, yay, thanks cracy screaming homeless guy.

I actually NEVER saw that guy even though i looked out for him several times behind cover, and even though the screams were close i couldnt see him.

Then Bustime and off i go to Yosemite,...

Arriving in Yosemite, sleep deprived, I fortunately had to find out that Yosemite somehow has a great phase this year and campgrounds are 5$ per night and free shuttle buses, plus, I GUESS, lots of mormons there because everybody was so friendly for no apparent reason. I mean, how happy can you be when you drive a shuttle bus around the whole day and at every bus stop you have to recite information about the location, sightseeing and things-to-do, which accumulates to a 1 minute speech. Anyway the enthusiasm of the bus drivers was unbelievable, excited as if they would have their first day. My conclusion was: Mormons
Thanks SouthPark knowledge.

Also very cool was, that i had no problem whatsoever to get a 4-day-hike wilderness permit. Yay!
for the next day.
So i had to go shopping for food. Intelligent Veit, of course, remembers nothing about his nutrition knowledge, which i consider pretty good, and buys things like 6 tuna cans, 3 cans of pork&beans, can of canned beef (yuk), beef jerky, 18 tortilla breads (which i thought can bake over fire -.-) and maybe 3 ceareal bars + 1 peanutbutter with jelly. and thats pretty much it. Let me tell you, the peanutbutter with jelly SAVED MY LIFE. After the first day i had to find out that my biggest source of carbohydrates (tortilla bread) tastes like soap. So disgusting that i had to cover it in peanutbutterjelly that no taste of it comes through. wuuuah, still feel when i think about it. After the second night i couldnt eat anything of it anymore.
Except for the peanut butter+jelly and 3 cereal bars i was on a low carb diet on a 86km hike for 4 days, STRIKE!
In the end i was desperate for noodle soup. My image of heaven was a nice warm cup of noodle soup.
Sometimes my brain seems to refuse work. I dont know.

4-day hike (86km)
But the HIKE, WOW, awesome nature. the camps, 100% alone in the wild, potential bear danger, undescribable adventure.
In the Yosemite Wilderness are basicly 2 forces at work: gravity and bear
Into the wild, man!
of course, I am covering the Nevada Falls in my back...

Let me share what happened at the first camp.
I found this wonderful place near a river where I could put up my tent and make a nice fire, chill and relaxe.
When the night came in i started to feel clumsy because it was my first night alone in total wilderness, 20miles from population, on my own.
In bear country you have to have a bear canister where you put all your food, scented items and trash (even toiletpaper) and when you camp, you have to put it away at least 30m from your campsite. No problem, everything fine up to this point.
1st campsite, dead trees only

So i chilled and relaxed at the fire, listening to music singing from time to time to keep the bears away.

"Bear, Bear, Bear,
I'm going for a Bear
I like eating Bears,
Lovely, lovely bears
Bear, Bear, Bear,..."

Inspired by one of favorite songs

Then I remembered I also have a chocolate bar somewhere in my pants, i will have to put that in the bear canister because bears like chocolate i figured.
Yap, there it is, in my right sidepocket, together with my wallet. But now it was mousse au chocolat... I realized fire=hot

I encountered a life threatening problem here...
2 life threating problems...
1. Another source of carbohydrates GONE
2. bears like choclate

I couldnt take the pants with me into the tent otherwise... you probably can imagine
and i couldnt just put it somewhere outside without protection, because those were my only pants on the 4-day hike. I could only imagine how it will look like after a bear tried to get to the melted choclate inside the sidepocket...

Hah, in the end the ropes i bought turned out to be useful.
I decided to hang the pants somewhere in the trees.
Challenges: Full darkness, only trees with dead branches, pants have to hang HIGH;

I spent at least half an hour trying to throw the rope over a dead branch of one tree, at least 25 times. Frustrated,.. and in the end i was decently happy when my pants hang 4m up in the air...
I prayed to god that PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE no bear comes around... 4m for bears that can climb?

At least i tried...

Well, i then spent the time reading about bears in my outdoor book, which starts off telling you that statistics are that no bear will come around anyway. and then keeps going for about 2 pages what you might do when a bear comes around and attacks you and that you cant do anything about it anyway when it attacks you and so on and so forth.. Thanks... "Play dead when bear is over you" and shit like that. "It might go away" "Do not run away, because it will see you as game" "Yell at the bear" "Do not yell at the bear when bear acts X,Y,Z"

Anyways in the end I had to laugh ^^ because they put this ridiculous funny picture of 2 grizzlies in the book. I will get this pic up here i guess.
In the end I slept quite good.

Nothing happened anyway.

2nd day I hiked half a day to the Ottoway Lakes, the main destination of the hike. Wonderful nature, i put up my camp next to lake where the grass was like a good lawn. short thick green grass with a nice little creek going through. Picture of Paradise. Spent my rest of the day reading and enjoying.
never ask how those pictures were produced, art needs no explanation


Even though I was alone all the time, at the time when i went in the tent, somehow 10 or more hikers passed it at night and in the morning but when i came out of the tent again nobody showed up... I at first thought my mind is playing games with me, but half an hour after continuing my hike I found some worker maintaining the trail. Funnily there were more girls than men working there. The work consisted of moving heavy rocks and positioning them on the trail, to make steps or little walls. The equipment were heavy hammers. Respect.

But most of the time i was completely alone. No other hikers.except 4th day

The 3rd day was the hardest part. First a heavy ascent on one of the peaks there, on top there was a very small plateau of maybe 6m and then it fell downhill again like it came up before.
and then hiking 20miles in total, mainly downhill but that was hard,too sometimes. When it gets to steep downhill and you have a heavy backpack pushing on your back it gets very annoying and exhausting.
Actually the most dangerous part was when my brain couldnt calculate my steps fast enough anymore. I moved downhill and i misstepped several times. Probably low blood sugar on the 3rd day. If something would have happened there, like breaking my ankle, that would have been bad. So i tried to take it slow.
Nature was as always breath-taking, and unfortunately pictures can never show it as good as in reality.
Lots of nice clear blue lakes surrounded by mountains.

In the end of the 3rd I actually came back into civilization again. I stayed at a free backpackers campground and they also had a shop there, where i of course bought noodle soup. Finally i enjoyed good energy again.

4th day was accomponied by several hikers again, (i made a roundtrip) the trail led me back to the yosemite valley where i started off.
When I came back... I could have eaten a whole bear, and if i would have known that there is a all-you-can-eat buffet... I didnt know, but i got a Burrito with rice and beans side and a beer and icecream. There was one woman sitting at my table and she tried to talk to me but she realized fast that i was not talkable to (does that word exist?^^)
I was in gather-energy-to-rebuild-mode.

I cheated myself into one of the shower houses at one camp and realized how ragged i looked.

of the 4day hike

I booked myself into Camp4 for 7 nights (maximum) and decided to chill out after my big adventure. I had to read a book anyway.
Climbers on El Capitan
Camp4 is known as the camp were lots of rock climbers stay. A lot of big boulders lie around and yosemite itself consists of huge granite rocks. Did I say taht Yosemite is one of the best spots in the world for rock climbers?
I got interested and watched a movie about Ron Kurke in the Park's cinema. Ron is a famous climber from Yosemite who actually attended the movie and made a small speech before and after it. Was quite interesting. Those guys hang on walls, were you can see no grip whatsoever as a newbie. The most popular climb is the El Capitan, i dont even know how high that one is, but i do know that the first climbers took 49 days to climb it, Ron Kauke needed 15hours, and the fastest climber needed 2,5hours.

I spent the days in Camp4 reading, eating, and doing 3 additional day hikes.

Let me share my 2nd Hike:

I went to eat at the Taqueria (mexican food) and got the Nacho Supreme. Thats a big plate of Nachos with beef, olives, avocado dip, and stuff stuff stuff. In the end it was so disgusting and i was filled up to the maximum and if i would have eaten all i would have..... wuah i cant see nachos anymore.

I got a baaaad feeling from that. Overeated.... I hate the feeling of overeating. Even though I am one of the greatest eater of all times.
My motivation for a little sport went up!
I said, well, lets go/run up to Nevada Falls. Thats the first very steep part of my 4-day hike.
I had a small backpack with me with 1 Liter of Water and 2 beers.
The time when i started out was 4.30pm.

When I started out i felt topfit, probably because i didnt have the heavy backpack on my back anymore, light like a feather.
When i feel topfit I usually try to push my limits.
DECISION: Half-Dome Challenge (Half dome is the most popular Hike in Yosemite. It's the mountain which is on the one end of the Yosemite Valley.The main attraction about it is the last part where you have to ascend a very very steep wall to the top by pulling yourself up on cables)

Yepp, i walked/ran up that 8 mile trail pretty fast and 2,5h(arrival on top at 7pm) I was standing on the shoulder of Half-Dome in front of the cables. Here I was facing a problem. at around 8pm it gets dark and I didnt want to descend in full darkness.
I decided against going to the top with the cables because it would take too much time. I drank 1 beer to manifest the success of my challenge and started to go down again. 10minutes after descending the shoulder an Australian guy came up the way and i asked him in disbelief if hes going to go up all the way to half-dome
and he was positive. ...well i figured when we are 2 guys i can climb to the top as well.
So we did!
The cables are really cool. you basically pull yourself up and it is a pretty long way.
When you let go, you fall to death, taking everybody below you with you.

On top we were of course all alone. My camera's batteries were empty in the right moment and the view with sunset was magnificent. Davis, the australian guy promised me to send me the pictures he did on facebook. This guy actually started that day on a 350km hike! And he estimated 7 days for it. Thats about 50km a day! I hope he came out alive.

Davis then suddenly saw a climber coming up a wall on half dome. Shouldnt be too special,BUT Davis recognized the guy as the brother of a friend of him.
"Hey, are you the brother of x? Wow, its me Davis. Cool to see you here!"

2 Australian friends meet on top of half dome to a very unreasonable time, and they didnt know that they are in yosemite at the same time.
It's a small world...

Well, it began to get dark and still had to walk 8-9miles into the valley...
Davis then told me that he intended to sleep on the shoulder of half dome... -.-

Alright, started off my way down alone and soon enough i was in darkness, only starlight giving me an idea of the trail.
I had to walk through a forest for about 3 miles and it just didnt want to end... i didnt have a flashlight, only the one of my mobile phone and i wanted to save battery. I only used it when i didnt find the path.
I thought it shouldnt be a big deal because Bear Grylls said in the SAS they only moved at nighttime and with the time your eyes adapt that you see quite good.

Walking through the forest was like going on the milky way. everything was black and only a light white stripe (like the milky way) was hardly noticeable on the ground.
Every sound of the forest, like branches moved from the wind, become a threatening sound in hypersensitive adapted ears. Cracking branches from some animal become an adrenaline shot, could be a bear.

This forest just didnt want to end.... In the end I was constantly using my flashlight from the mobile phone. that was more comfortable. I decided I will sleep someway down the path when I finally get out of that forest.

The Nevada Falls, I was there at night right were the water falls into the Valley,left is half dome
where the water falls down into the Valley, looks way better in reality, I was there at night
I came by the Nevada Falls, a waterfall which goes down into the valley. At night, alone, it so much cooler, to experience those places.
By the time I did, I decided to keep walking as long as the phonebatteries last. Turned out that the batteries are really good. They lasted all the way down to the Valley and my tent.
Anyways running around in wilderness at night is pretty scarry. I mean, the trail is very obvious and in good shape, but with all the wildlife around and thoughts of possible murderers who might wander around on yosemite trails at night (haha i really had those thoughts) make you 100% conciously aware of everything around you.
I even considered not singing my bear song because it could attract the murderers walking around at night on yosemite trails -.-
but i sang my songs with the risk of getting murdered at night on a yosemite trail o_O

When I finally came back into the Valley and I had to walk through the whole valley village to other side where my campground was, it looked like the perfect horror scenario. Wooden dark houses and creeks with wooden bridges and meadows with lonely trees standing around plus deep forest roads. My mind really likes horror scenarios.
I just couldnt decide what kind of danger could be here. Werwolves or zombies or murderers or other kind of non-defined monsters. I didnt see any but at the time I was certain that there has to be at least one species around.
I underlined the atmosphere by the song "Die Nacht" by Die Aerzte. Put it on repeat. Was really cool. good atmosphere. You have to take advagntage of these rare moments. I really like walking through the night, the adrenaline pushs you get all the time.feeling the heart pump BUMBUMBUM and you ask yourself why you can suddenly hear it pumping?
On the trail, still up in the mountain, there was a sudden loud sound of steps and when i turned around in shock, there was a deer standing few meters away, as shocked as me.

Was a pretty cool adventure, one of the best i ever had. yay

I did two more dayhikes, but in daylight, up to very beautiful viewpoints where you have this great view over the valley. I used the time up there reading a great book, sitting on a rock, where 1-2m away the cliff drops off into the valley. Such amazing places to be. hehe no pictures of those views because there was no possibility to reload my camera batteries. sorry. go google it. (Upper Yosemite Falls, and Glacier Point)

I even survived a bear attack!
I was sitting alone at a campfire in Camp4 at midnight, listening to music. I heard footsteps from my tent, wondering whose coming and when i turned around there was bear coming right at me, 5 meters away, ADRENALINE BUMBUMBUM, jumped up and yelled at the bear "FUCK OFF BEAR, FUCK OFF!"

the bear had this look in his face "you got lucky this time" and decided to run away, several other people i woke up joining in yelling.

well ok it was a small bear, maybe 50cm high and 1m long, BUT it walked right towards me! Survived, yeah!

Try to beat that Bear Gryllz (survival specialist)

They have Bear Watchers in Yosemite, which i consider one of the coolest jobs in the world. Every night one girl chased bears with a tracking-system and a paintball gun. You could see her running after bears every night (Bears came every night into the camps in search for food) yelling "Bear, Bear, Bear" in order to scare them off that they get afraid of humans again. That is to protect the bears in yosemite.
Id love to do that job.

Like i said bears come every night into the camps and try to steal food or leftovers and they go for everything that has a scent like soap. They frequently break into cars and it is usually only because people left some trash inside of it. One guy who was camping next to me said a bear broke into his car because of beer cans. he thought that cans dont give of a scent.
they have bearlockers everywhere where you must lock your food and penaltys are max 5000$ fee.

Seqouia Nationalpark

After Yosemite I didnt really know where to go, so i decided to go to Sequoia NP which is not too far away on the map.
But the way to get there.... In the USA, without a car, you are screwed. Public transportation is expensive and oftentimes with a lot of transfers.
You might think they have a public transportation to their Nationalparks but that is a scarcity over here. Same with internet as you might have noticed when you checked my blog (hopefully frequently)

On my way to Sequoia NP I had to spend one night in a city nearby because buses run only in the morning to the NP. I normally try to find a 24h restaurant in those cases but there was nothing around, so I had to spend 50$ on the worst motel there is in this whole universe... That was the cheapest offer.

The motel room was mainly a run-down construction site, the locked doors you could push in with a little bit pressure and the non-smoker room had the scent of a shisha cafe. Of course a bad mote room is not a bad motel room without cockroaches... and i needed my sleeping bag to sleep on the dirty bed.
The good thing, there was a TV with about 60 channels and cool shows like Scrubs running. Sweet.
Haha, there was one channel where there was a outragous debate about Paris Hilton got banned from the Wynn hotel in Vegas recently because of cocaine or something with drugs.
Did I say that I am pretty sure that I saw Paris Hilton in a Wynn Nightclub when I was in Vegas? Poor Paris, the Wynn nightclubs are the best.

Next day when I arrived in the Sequoia NP I met a german dude named Fabian. We spent the following week together, he introduced me to hitchhiking, which was basically the only way to get around.
We also spent playing mini games for beer.
You know the game "I am packing my suitcase, and in my suitcase goes ..."? where you have to remember the items in the right order. I am awesome in this game and got 3 beers out of it. Once we pushed it to 50 items and then it became kind of boring because i shared my technique with him and then he was awesome too.
He mostly won all the other mini games ... our favorite was guessing the time. we got quite good at it after a time.

Sequoia NP has the largest trees in the world, the famous Sequoias ^^ large means the most volume. They are not as high as the redwoods, but they are very very broad in diameter.
they say 36feet diameter but thats not 12m... maybe 7m
Here the General Sherman tree, 12m in diameter?!?

After Sequoia we took a bus to a campground outside the NP, there we hitchhiked with an old woman from the market back to the campground. She was very kind and happy to meet us. We were very friendly and so she showed us a spot at a river were we can camp for free and swim in the awesome river there. There we also met 2 czechs, Anna and Andre, and we stayed 1 night at the river in smooth sand and we also attended a DRUMCIRCLE. It is all hippie in California. A Drumcircle... 
Robin(old woman),Andre,Anna,my stuff
Well, it is not for me, but they seemed to really enjoy it.
best pic i could get from drumcircle

After the Sequoia NP he proposed to go to Eureka, a city at the Northern CA coast. He has a friend there who he wanted to visit and i came with him because thats exactly where the famous high Redwood trees are.
We spent one night on a parking space next to the train station! Was really cool, homeless-style.

We split off in Eureka and I went little bit more north to Arcata, probably the hippiest town there is in the USA.  Only hippies and drug addicts and homeless people everywhere, but thats all the same anyway right?  *<:-D kiddin'

The cheapest campground was 25$ per night for putting up a tent.... thats more than i pay now in the San Francisco Hostel in Downtown! As wholes.

Well I actually didnt even go inside a Redwood NP, because I was lazy and had to read myself through some important books. Wow, the place i stayed was close to the beach and mostly there was a thick fog lying in the air. cold and uncomfortable but somehow cool atmossphere. I liked the beach there

Now I am in San Francisco again and found internet again and i spent 3h 16mins on writing this and now i will go and get my ipod to upload the pictures! will take me another 45mins probably.
I hope this huge post makes up for the 4 weeks of nothing.

see you soon, because this journey is coming to an end in 4 days!
I will be in Munich for Oktoberfest, I hope I am not alone!

Morle by the way traveled now over the ocean from the eastern pacific coast to the western pacific coast. Show me one cat who did that...


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