Yosemite and the French hitch hiker

 This post needs a preface story.
Saturday mid morning my friends Mike, Sarah, and I were headed up to Mnt. Charleston, just outside Las Vegas, to climb for the day. As we merged onto the highway we saw a hitch hiker holding a sign that read “N95” within seconds we all came to the conclusion that he looked clean cut and kind (at least from the very short time we glanced at him). He was carrying a pretty hefty back packing back pack, and holding a sleeping pad. We made the group decision to pull over and at least ask him where he’s headed.
With a french accent he responded, “Yosemite”
Yosemite is a place many climbers call home.That being said we were all quite excited to hear that our new french road side friend was headed that way. We tell him we’re only headed up the road a couple miles, but he was willing to take whatever distance we could give him. Little did he know its only desert for hundreds of miles, and barely any gas stations or towns. He thanked us and we were on our way. We got 20 minutes up the road to Mnt. Charleston and pulled a fast U turn… we couldn’t leave him in the desert. We decided we would pull our money together and buy him a plane ticket to San Fran. When we got back to him and told him what we decided he was very thankful for our willingness to buy him a plane ticket but he respectfully declined. He explained to us that he could afford a plane ticket, but that this was all apart of his adventure. Have I mentioned his name is Yann and he is hitch hiking from Montreal, Canada all the way down to South America? Yann is spending 4 months to do this and had already made it quite far. We took him back to the exit we initially picked him up at because he would be more prone to getting picked up where there was civilization.
We drop him back off, he thanked us, we headed to Mnt. Charleston for our 2nd time. We make it all the way up the mountain, approximately 40 minutes up the road. During that drive we start to convince Mike he could take Yann to Yosemite that night and come back the next day… by the time we got back down the mountain we decided WE’RE ALL GOING TO YOSEMITE!
We pull up for the THIRD time to Yann, convinced he would think we’re crazy at this point. Sarah rolls the window down, “Yann, get in the car, we’re going to Yosemite!” With a puzzled face he gets in the car. We explain to him that by us taking him to Yosemite may be fulfilling a part of his hitch hiking adventure, but that we truly felt it was fate that we came across him, because going to Yosemite was one of our dreams as well. It reminded us that we need to stop second guessing our dreams, and just do them!! We thanked Yann for giving us that push to pick up in the middle of the day with a stranger (now friend) and drive to one of the most beautiful places God ever created, and to stop sitting at home looking at pictures of El Cap, and go see if for ourselves.
 ALL that being said, welcome to the 30 hours we spent picking up a french hitchhiker, driving to Yosemite, sleeping in a car, freezing our butts off, and exploring.
Half Dome
Me, Sarah, Mike and Yann
Yann and I
I’m so glad to have a new friendship with Sarah, this Michigan loving photographer.
Mike and Yann… they’re so happy to be in the mountains.
That evening we found a campsite and since Yann was the only one prepared with warm enough clothing, we ate dinner in the car. Cheese, salami, crackers.. whatever we found at the gas station.
We woke up early the next morning to get in line for Yann to get a campsite in Camp 4. Camp 4 became notable after World War II as one of the locations where rock climbers would live for months at a time, often illegally.
Sarah and I walked through the campsite and hopped on some slack lines. Assuming their owners were still sleeping because it was still early in the morning.
We parted ways with Yann at Camp 4. He had plans to meet up with one of his french friends who was living in San Francisco. Kind of bittersweet to say goodbye to our new friend who had inspired us to make this roadtrip. Good luck Yann!!
EL CAPITAN.
This meadow is where many sit and look for climbers on the walls of El Cap with binoculars. Note to self: bring binoculars next time.
This is not a fish-eye photo, the clouds really were arching.
See the little black dot in the shadow? climber the size of an ant.
We decided we needed to get to the base of El Cap and at least touch it.
The closer we got the more we saw other climbers near the bottom, still so small even with a zoom lense.
These photos don’t give it justice. Its so big and intimidating!
This was me telling El Cap I’m coming back to climb it one day.
I mean.. is this real?
love birds
Our last stop was a view of the entire valley. El cap on the left, half dome in the back “peaking” through.
Gosh, what a good day it was. We knew we’d be tired, we knew work would be rough on Monday, but never for a second do you regret those things when looking back on the memories.
We straight up took a hitch hiker from France to Yosemite this weekend. Check that right off the bucket list.
Anddddd mrs cow to welcome us back to Nevada.
Yosemite and the French hitch hiker

Havasupai

Last week I took a trip down to the Arizona, specifically Havasupai within the Grand Canyon. Yet another too beautiful to believe places that is so close to where I live. This trip had been years in the making, or shall I say years in the wanting. We drove down on Tuesday after work and slept at the top of the trail. We got there when it was still dark knowing that we would have a killer view when the sun rose. It didn’t disappoint. Check it out for yourself:
The hike in reminded us a lot of Red Rock, which made us wanna climb around.
The first sight of water along the trail shows that there had been a flood recently. The thing about Havasupai is whenever there’s an exceptional amount of rain, it re-routes the water throughout the whole reservation.
Still appears to be crazy beautiful to me.
These little guys were everywhere, and definitely made the most noise at night.
We may or may not have gotten on the wrong trail to one of the falls.. remember that “keep away from edge” sign.. ya forgot about that.
That wrong trail then led us to some flood areas, resulting in a couple un expected scrapes and bruises.
.. and trudging through the untouched section of the falls.
Apparently we don’t like following the rules here.
Another day we hiked down into another falls. You can see in this photo how wide the waterfall was at one point. Water affects rock in some interesting ways, even after its gone.
We had to shimmy through some narrow, steep cave-like sections of the mountain. A couple parts involving ladders and chain railings.
The youngest in our group was Tess.. probably the most adorable human I’ve ever known.
She was obsessed with every kind of leaf she could get her hands on.
Havasu falls was the main most populated falls.
The hike out was still breath-taking.. despite it being up hill the whole time.
A highlight of the trip was when I found out the Havasu tribe run one of the last “pony express” mail services (on mules). I had to send some postcards because I was so fascinated with the concept.
Lastly, the whole group at the end of the hike, sweaty and tired but feeling completely accomplished.
I definitely wouldn’t mind making this an annual trip. Who’s with me?
Havasupai

iamSwitzerland

I came across this incredible video made by one of the Switzerland USU study abroad alum. So it took me back to when I went on the trip which followed by me looking through all my old posts from the trip and crying that I’m not there now. (I didn’t cry) I’m really impressed with how the trip was captured so beautifully in this video so I hope you all enjoy.
my 2011 group.
iamSwitzerland

Zions Weekend

With my holiday weekend I decided it was a good idea to take a little camping trip to Southern Utah and hit up Zions National Park. Left right after work on friday and spent that night around Snow Canyon in a cave playing glow stick hide and seek and on our way out we had difficulty finding a place to crash and ended up setting up camp on a church lawn in Ledges, Utah. Never heard of it? yeah, me neither, its itty bitty. Sprinklers woke us up at 3 am (we move to the sidewalk). Another time at 7 am, but this time, sprinkler in the FACE. (i have never been up on my feet and awake so quickly). Strangely had dejavu of when my father would wake me up for early morning seminary with a squirt bottle, weird. We decided it was time to head to Zions after the second sprinkler wake up.

 Hidden Canyon Trail
From left to right: Alyssa, Haley, Spence and Matt
Met the right 3 this weekend, and reunited with Alyssa after a couple years when she moved to Vegas for the summer. A definite prime camping group.
Did a wee bit of solo climbing, and loved my life.

Family Photo
 

Later that afternoon we did The Narrows hike. If you aren’t familiar… its a hike through 1-3 feet of water basically the whole time. I thought it was a good idea to bring my camera, so I spent the hike holding my camera above my head in case I fell in and had to sacrifice my life for my camera. I only had one intense fall..  Saved its life. hallelujah. BUT, the Narrows are GORGEOUS, and it was all completely worth it. 

Can you believe that these natural formations are only hours away from where we live. I am beyond grateful for that fact. Makes me want to quit my job and travel to every national park in the world. 
Until next time. 
Zions Weekend

Hawaii Final Goodbye

ANDDDD there were only 4 left on the Island..the rest had been voted off. What a pitty.
 We were half vacationed out, half crying inside that we had to leave. So as one of our last activities we had to get those bomb tacos one more time.

and again they didn’t disappoint, not one bit.
depressed little boy #1
 grieving (in denial) little tike #2
 
mourning little chief #3
…. and thats basically how the last supper was. Silence.
Before we went to the airport we stopped at a Waikiki beach for one last look. Watched a sand volleyball match. Observed a homeless guy shower. And saw about 6 VW buses owned by men fulfilling their surf every coast in my VW bus dream. It was charming.
We flew to San Fran for our first stop.. got there an HOUR early which began our 8 hour layover. Starting at 11 at night.. so we got the cheapest hotel we could find, took a shuttle there.. and devoured iHop at 1:30 a.m. then CRASHED instantly. I arrived back in Vegas at 8:30 am.. and went straight to work.
And that concludes the trip.
It was tropicalicious.
Moist.
Muddy.
Sandy.
Sweaty.
Warm.
Viny.
Sunkissed.
Pretty.
Relaxing.
Delicious.
AND
a completely needed Vacay.
Until next time:)
Hawaii Final Goodbye

Hawaii Waterfall hike & Laie Temple

 Wednesday we started the day off at the swap meet in Honolulu at the stadium on the campus of University of Hawaii. You KNOW i love me a good swap meet. Later that afternoon we all went on another hike. This one a little more enjoyable, and less stairs. Thank heavens. Trees with vines are everywhere, don’t even think for a second we didn’t wanna Tarzan those babies.

These trails were like nothing I’ve been on. Roots populating the entire thing. It was so beautiful.

This was a happy accident of a photo.. didn’t look at all before shooting.

The end of the hike was an incredible waterfall with cliffs to jump from.

We always tend to hike spontaneously and I never have the right shoes therefore of course I step in 5 mud puddles. Picture doesn’t give the damage justice.

As we finish up the hike a pack of bikers zoomed past us by the trail head, and this is how the photos I tried to snatch of them came out.
 Today I woke up demanding I get to walk to the Temple, which literally is a 10 minute walk from where we are staying.

 It reminds me of the temples written about in olden times. It was incredible, and the temple grounds were so well taken care of.
 Look at this little guy!
These sister missionaries get to wear mu-mu’s when they’re on the clock on the temple grounds. Lucky. There was another hand full of them all wearing matching ones.
 Marine and I
 View from the temple. Can you see the beach?
Then one of my favoritest parts of the temple grounds was this incredible TREEEEEE! would you just look at it?
 I REALLY wish i could grow this in my backyard.
 I would prance around like this everywhere.
This week is flying by too fast. Can time stop please. I don’t even mind how cray cray my hair is on the daily.
Hawaii Waterfall hike & Laie Temple

Hawaii Pipeline and Stairway to Heaven Hike

I’ve been waiting to see a surf competition while I’m here and finally the North Shore provided just that. It was called pipeline. We couldnt see super well, but the day was perfect with blue skies and big waves. The 25+ people in our group finally all got to be in one place at a time. It was prime beach day.
Alexis and Dan
This little girl was so in love with the sand .. straight up taking mouth fulls and smiling.

One of the girls competing.
Later in the day we started on a hike called the Stairway to Hell Heaven. Consists of 4000 steps. Unfortunately we got a little lost in the jungle on the way there… and some of us didn’t get to finish the whole thing to see the sunset. Me, being one of them because it got dark.
Did I mention we had to sneak in?
This bad boy was SO STEEP. My booty was on fire.
We had to sneak under the highway to get to the trail stair head.
This is my wing woman Marine. She’s from Switzerland and has gone to Utah State the last 4 years. She’s incredible.
It was so steep that we could see this view in no time. We were all dripping in sweat.
This stretch shown was pretty mellow compared to the other steep parts we came from.
It started getting dark, but the city was lighting up. It was fantastic.
Corie, a new friend I met on the trip.
The highway we had to go under in the beginning.
We look like we just got done swimming with how sweaty we are. lol Just beautiful.
I’d be lying if I said the hike was a stroll in the park. haha Pretty intense, but really worth it when it was all done and we got to see the Island from so high up.
I’m excited to see the other hikes here on the Island. Goodnight world.
Hawaii Pipeline and Stairway to Heaven Hike