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.
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Yosemite and the French hitch hiker