This blog has certainly taken a back seat for a while, so I am making an effort to cover 2010 before the year is up. I will write it in three chapters: Spring, Summer, and Fall since many epic things happened in each season.
Meetup.com was how I did everything in the spring since I didn't know very many people. I joined a group of females to go on a four day hike along the coast. I met all the girls the day we headed out to the coast. We had one girl who had never done anything like this before, two girls who were my age and quite outdoorsy, and one woman in her fifties who was recently unemployed but lived her life very similar to mine when she was my age. We bonded fast and called ourselves the Sacred Socks after the concept of always keeping one pair of dry socks for sleeping, those socks would mean the world to you after a day of hiking in wet shoes.
The new girl had a bad habit of animals eating her food. She would leave things out and about and have sandwiches taken by birds or in the morning find food bags empty and chewed through. The best night of all was when she woke me up by screaming “hello?” to no one. She was my tent mate and I woke up scared at the idea of someone standing outside our tent. I told her to be quite since we were, after all, trying to hide. I heard some munching of the the girl who was guiding the trek in her tent eating a midnight snack, which she did every night. I point that out to the new to camping girl, but she insists she hears a closer rustling, and sure enough, it was a raccoon who found her pack which was under the vestibule of our tent, open begging for all the food to be eaten. He had snuck off with the last bit of her food.
I had a week off before I was off to my next, and much bigger, adventure. A meetup guide I met at Silver Falls, Scott, and I had been getting together with friends often to watch the PBS National Parks special. Yosemite was mentioned a lot, being one of the first to become a National Park. I was particularly drawn to how it affected John Muir who fought his whole life to preserve this piece of land he lived and breathed in. I was so impressed by his passion for nature and was sad that he lost some of the battle (another story) that Scott decided we just HAD to go to Yosemite, his favorite park, so I could see why this place is so amazing.
We went out that night to one of the fancier restaurants because the pizza place was over run by youngsters on a field trip, and clearly not enjoying themselves nearly as much as Scott and I were to be in such a wondrous place featured in the photographs that got Ansel Adams famous. We slept in the car that night. The following day, day five without showering, we went hiking up to the top of Vernal and Nevada Falls. I got my hiking legs back and I was hauling butt up the steep incline. It was so beautiful the whole way. We got the top of Vernal Falls first and rested, ate, watched the crazy squirrels, and took epic photos.
On the way to the top Nevada Falls we met a man, Steve, who had gotten a bit lost on the trail. Scott adopted him as his hiking conversation buddy and we hiked onward, on the right trail. We had to hike through slippery snow again and it felt like an obstacle course, my FAVORITE kind of hiking. The long long hike up was worth it when we got to the top of Nevada Falls. Hands down the highest waterfall I've ever looked over. We stayed up there taking “artsy” pictures and taking in the scene, throwing snowballs over and seeing how long it took to hit anything. It was wonderful.
When we hiked down Steve offered for us to use his room at the hotel he rented to shower and clean up and a place to sleep that night. We were pretty surprised this stranger was willing to share his paid for private room with two stinky strangers, but we couldn't pass up a shower. We cleaned up, went to the local bar/restaurant and ate food and s'mores over their indoor fire and passed out in a warm bed.
I felt like I got a great opportunity to really grow into my backpacking self during the month of March. After the Yosemite/Crater Lake trip I had visited six National Parks: Olympic in Washington, Redwood, Joshua Tree, and Yosemite in California, The Everglades in Florida, and Crater Lake in Oregon. The rest of the time in Portland I spent with friends, biking, hiking the local parks, exploring the beach, and enjoying the sunlight and warmth. I was very sad to head north again, knowing how great Oregon is in the summer time, but one must work, and where better to work than Alaska?