Yosemite was the first national park stop of our entire journey. Some of us felt that this was the real start of our adventure … into the wild. Although after checking into our hotel in Mammoth Lakes it felt more like the start of a jet set lifestyle. Our room could easily be called a suite and the pool/hot tub facilities were more than welcome after every single one of us thought that the national parks ment a slow wifi connection and almost no comfort. Boy were we wrong.
The past couple of weeks our main visits were to the big cities which made our first encounter with Yosemite National Park even more amazing. Being surrounded by only nature made us feel little but oh-so fantastic. With a swim in Tenaya Lake and a hike with wildlife views we ended our first afternoon in Yosemite. Our second day was an early start, knowing that we almost had to drive three hours – special thanks to Klaas and his early morning driving skills – to get into the Valley. An effort for some us but defenitaly worth it if we’d knew what was going to happen that day. Deciding that we’d walk part of the Valley was not exactly the easiest way out – it was around 34°C – but probably one of the best decisions we made. Cause this time around … best things were saved for last. We hiked out to the Yosemite Falls with low hopes for the waterfalls since rangers told us that due to a dry winter there wasn’t a lot of water in the Valley. Let that now be exactly what made these waterfalls so amazing. The fact that there wasn’t a lot of water made it possible for us to climb the rocks – sketchy at times, especially the climbing down part – and swim towards the waterfall so that we could stand right under it. These are moments and experiences that are hard to explain cause no matter how hard we’d try there is no way that anyone who wasn’t there would understand it. But pictures might seal the deal.
As stoked as we were by Yosemite we were totally ready to hit the road for Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. At least that was until we google mapped one last time the exact route from Mammoth Lakes to the entrance of the parks. What we thought would be a two hour drive suddenly seemed a five to six hour drive, because there were only two entrances to the park. Two entrances that were on the entire other side than we were. Which ment we had to drive about six hours to the park and another five to our next hotel. But once arrived in the park and a few hikes with breathtaking views and the most enthousiastic and in some ways weird ranger that we ever encountered we can easily say that the long road was worth it.
Leaving the woods and green valleys behind us we made our way into Death Valley; abonded landscapes as far as you could see with amazing color palettes. Being from Belgium these are landscapes that we only know from the movies, television or magazines. Now to see these with your own eyes was simply flawless. To end our day in Death Valley we stopped by a ghost town close to the town we were going to stay that night, not knowing that the town we were staying at, Beatty was going to look more like a ghost town than the one in Death Valley. The town existed for 80% out of trailers and RV parks and the more we entired the town the more nervous we got to find out what place we were going to stay at. Almost every hotel/camping/rv park had the same name so we mixed up our place with another one. One that looked like a scene straight out of a horror movie and while we were already making plans on what to do if we’d had to get out of this place as soon as possible we found out that we were at the wrong place – thanks to the super friendly owner of the ‘not so good looking rv park’. While he explained that we had to be at the big hotel with palmtrees and that we couldn’t miss it we suddenly got super excited about how our place was going to look like. And yes, we definitely had ourself the best place in Beatty; one again pool and hot tub included. Beatty might be a weird looking town but we did found ourself the second best pizza place ever there: KC’s outpost saloon and eatery.
The rainfall from the night before made it impossible for us to enter most parts of Death Valley due to flooded areas the day after so we had to cancel some of our plans and head straight to Las Vegas. We stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel which wasn’t exactly the best hotel we’ve ever been at -mainly cause you had to pay extra for everything you wanted to do, think about entering the paradise pool – but maybe that had something to do with the fact that Timbaland was the host for the weekend at the hotel.
They always say what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas…so same story with us. Although we can tell you this; luck was definitely on our side during our gambling night in Vegas!
- Antony confuses bus shelters with parking exits.
- Stefanie realised that climbing down rocks with wet shoes is NOT a good idea
- It DOES rain in California during summer
- Liesbeth had to show her ID almost every other minute in Vegas
- Klaas is the most hardcore driver of us all
- Due to the heat some restrooms in national parks spread the worst smell ever
- Silke was very close to meeting Timbaland
- The Belaggio was as amazing as we all expected it to be
- Nos Klatos took over the Apple Store in Las Vegas // we managed to install our blog as the homepage on every computer, which gave us our visitor record of 226 in one day. So to all our Apple newcomers : WELCOME!
- Klaas his iPhone is being a non factor in the States