Well I guess I had a hard time blogging while on my trip so I figured I would give it a go now that I am back and things are still fresh on my mind. OK… where to start. I guess we will have to start in the Fresno airport, since that is the first place anything interesting happened. In planning for the trip Kristen and I made sure we had all the major reservations in place. Hotels, wilderness permits, and car rentals… wait a second… did I say car rentals?!? Oops, I guess we forgot something! We have just landed in Fresno, retrieved our luggage (thank goodness it got there since there was only 15 minutes between our connecting flights in Phoenix) and now were are off to get the keys to our rental car. First stop Enterprise… “I’m sorry there seems to be no reservation under that name”. Hum, must have been Hertz… “I’m sorry Ma’am are you sure you booked your rental car through us?” Okay what the heck is going on. Kristen and I look at each other befuddled. Oh my goodness! We forgot to CONFIRM our car!!!! In all the planning we were doing we called multiple car rental agencies to get quotes and had decided on Enterprise, BUT we forgot to confirm our quoted rate and time frame. It all worked out though. A quick call to a friend and we were able to have here find the same rate on Hotwire through Dollar Rent A Car and, (AS WE STOOD AT THE COUNTER), she booked our reservation over the Internet from Charlotte!!! Thank goodness for good Friends and the Internet!
Okay so now we have our keys and are loading our gear into a Big Bird yellow Chevy Aveno! Loaded up we head for Yosemite National Park. An hour into our trip we stopped in Oakhurst, CA to have some Mexican food and stock up on food and supplies for the next four days in the park. The Mexican food was amazing! Kristen and I both joked about transporting the restaurant back to Charlotte so we could eat there every week. After a few Dos Equis and a margarita we paid and headed up the street to the grocery store. A hour later we were back in the bright yellow Aveno and headed to the Park entrance and then to the Wilderness office to switch our permits.
Entering the park it is now 5:30ish and we have less than thirty minute to make it to the permit office before it closes for the day. We make it with 20 minutes to spare and we have to wait for the ranger to finish up with a group in front of us. Now its our turn and its 15 till 6:00. Joan (the Ranger) informs us that there is no possible way to change our Itinerary due to the heavy volume of people in the park on the last weekend of the season. And that we could try again tomorrow morning to see if there are any cancellations. She also informs us that the Backpackers campground that we are eligible to stay in (because I did have an original permit for a different trail head) was over an hour drive into the valley and then a mile walk from the parking area!!!! This was not okay… We had just driven from the airport our equipment was scattered in two huge North Face duffel’s and our food was still in grocery bags! How in the world were we going to organize and pack our gear a mile from our car!?! We asked Joan about staying in a different campground and in a very rude and unnecessary tone she responds with a “good luck trying, everything is booked and your best bet is to find a place to stay outside the park”. On top of that she claims that we cannot rent our bear canisters (a requirement for storing your food in Yosemite) from her and we would have to rent them in the morning down in the valley wilderness office. As we leave Joan’s desk we are angry frustrated and insulted at this NPS rangers inability to help us, or better yet just communicate with us in a polite manner.
Back in the yellow car I am fuming. I don’t think i have mentioned this yet but the day is Friday September 17th. My 28th birthday. Nothing seems to be going right. against our very rude rangers advice we choose not to turn around and head out of the park to find a place to stay. Instead we turn right and head toward the valley. 2 minutes down the road there’s a sign for Wawoma campground and we decide to turn in and plead with the campground ranger for a place to pitch a tent. Surprisingly this ranger is incredibly polite and helpful and he not only finds us an available camp site but he also give me a ton of advice and suggestions for hiking trails to try to obtain wilderness permits for the following morning. What a relief! We pay our $20 fee and head to camp site #91. After pitching our tent and enjoying a cold beer we decide to drive towards Yosemite Valley and see what we can see. 45 minutes later we are driving through Wawoma tunnel and as we pop out on the other side we are awe struck at the view in front of us! There is El Captain on the left and Half Dome deeper into the valley on the right. the sun is beginning to set over the Valley and the sunlight on El Cap is indescribable! We park at the over look and start snapping photos. At this point I realize everything is going to work out and I am spending my birthday in one of the most beautiful places I could be with the most wonderful person I be with! My stress level goes from 9 out of 10 to 1 out of 10.
TO BE CONTINUED!!