Yosemite

I had intended my next blog to be about skiing, and racing and how all of that was only a week or two away. However after getting back from our extended off week two things had happened. First we had lost a lot of snow in Anchorage. We can still ski but barely it isn’t pretty nor is it fun to write about. And secondly, Yosemite Valley was perhaps one of the most spectacular places I have ever visited and I feel I simply must share some of my experiences with you.

After Colorado we jumped on a flight and headed to Fresno, California where we were picked up by my brother Andrew and his partner Shana. From there we piled into the rental car and headed into Yosemite Valley and an absolutely stunning national park. For those that haven’t been, as you get closer you drive along the side of a valley, it’s all quite pretty and nice but nothing outstanding. Then you drive through a tunnel and your whole perception changes as you arrive in a spectacular valley. It’s like finding another world, everywhere you look there are huge rock formations or sheer cliffs, waterfalls cascading down the sides and ending up in beautiful winding rivers that are framed by gorgeous meadows and woods.

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The first view after driving through the tunnel!
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El Capitan
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Beautiful rivers and scenery throughout Yosemite

I was blown away by the place and eager to get into it and start exploring. The next day we all hiked up beside America’s longest waterfall, Yosemite Falls. But hiking doesn’t quite do it justice. It’s around 5km of extremely steep switchbacks and climbing. The kicker is that it’s all paved by granite that has been smooths by thousands of steps, making at feel like at times you’re on a rock slide than steps.

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Running to Yosemite Falls
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Upper YosemiteFalls. They are far more impressive than the photo shows.

Lauren and I decided after summiting that we would run ahead and run the rim of the valley to El Capitan, perhaps one of the most famous rock walls in the world. It stands a staggering 1,000+ meters above the valley floor. Lauren and I ran to the top but we weren’t able to get to the edge. One of the cool but staggering things about Yosemite is that there are very limited guard rails so we weren’t too eager to stand that close.

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Starting the run back after getting to El Capitan. Half Dome is just next to Lauren’s right elbow.

The second day we headed up a smaller off-shoot valley, following the river. Along the way we were rewarded with amazing sights of waterfalls and amazing rapids and pools. That afternoon we sat on the rim of the valley and happily watched the sun set and the lights play across the rocks as they went down.

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Heading up the smaller valley, looking back.

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Running beside waterfalls
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On top of Glacier Point watching the sun set with Half Dome to the right.
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Having fun with the view
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Often you’d crest a rise or reach a new section and be greeted with views of another world or amazing green vistas
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Climbing some steps to Vernal Falls. Nice and wet from all the mist, hence called the Mist Trail.
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Water, so much water.

In two days Lauren and I ran and hiked over 40km around Yosemite. It was amazing to see for a few days. We watched the sun rise for the third day at the same lookout as the sunset the night before before heading into San Fransisco and quite a change of scenery!

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Alcatraz prison. We spent half a day here checking it all out.

San Fran was great. It was a fantastic experience to see another city in the US and have some great food and drinks.

It was also fantastic to see Andrew and Shana. I saw Andrew a few months ago but didn’t expect to see him for a year so it was great to see him before that and it had been a year since I saw Shana so again it was great to catch up with them.

We are back in Alaska now doing the snow dance and continuing to training.

Train hard, rest easy, live for the moment.

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