We slept in Wednesday morning, and Dave and Alex were surprised at the lack of soreness and stiffness in their bodies. We must be getting used to this! After a quick breakfast, we headed to Housekeeping Camp to do laundry and take showers. Once clean-up was complete, we walked across the street to the Le Conte Memorial Lodge. The Lodge is a very cool stone structure built by the Sierra Club in 1903 as a memorial to Joseph LeConte, an early director who died in the Valley. The Lodge provides programs and information to visitors about Yosemite, the Sierra Nevadas, and the beginnings of the National Park System. After spending some time investigating the wide array of information in the Lodge, we headed towards the Visitors Center to check out the displays and information, as well as a short film about the park. As the lazy day turned towards late afternoon, we grabbed some fresh vegetables from the Village Store to add to our sauce and pasta to make our evening meal.
After dinner, we made a camp fire from a combination of
found fire wood and scavenged downed branches from the woods. Somehow, Kevin found a way to get another
injury. As Alex and Sam washed the
dinner dishes, Dave and Kevin were breaking down some of the larger pieces of
tree branches. Dave set aside some pieces he deemed too large to kick in
half. Kevin looked at them and said, “Obviously,
you didn’t take enough karate lessons…” and proceeded to begin kicking the
pieces in half. After a few successful
breaks, Kevin managed to end up with an unbroken branch and one large scrape up
the back of his calf. After cleaning up
the scrape, Dave helped him do a thorough job of bandaging the wound.
Now that the fire was built, and burned to a nice set of coals, we were able to enjoy our s’mores and the fire. After a few hours of conversations and laughs, the last few pieces were all but done burning, and we were all ready for bed. A few good drenchings of water left us satisfied that the fire was out, and we headed to our tents, planning to do some climbing in the morning on the base of El Cap.
Around 3:30AM some rain began to patter on the fly of the tent and thunder rumbled in the distance. We zipped shut the rain fly to keep out the rain, and quickly returned to a deep slumber. Sometime later we were awakened by the BEST thunderstorm ever. The deep thunder was the loudest and most intense either of us had ever heard, and we loved it! The rolling booms sounded as if they were echoing against the granite all the way down the valley, and reverberated in the ground under our backs.
Around 7:00AM, Kevin was knocking on our tent, asking if we were awake and ready to get up. The rain was falling steadily, making it perfect sleeping weather, and we thought he was being ridiculous. We told him to go back to bed, but he said he and Sam were antsy and sick of laying in the tent. He said that he had a new plan… since it seemed as if it were going to rain most of the day, and climbing was going to be out of the realm of possibilities, we should head to San Francisco today. We said we thought that was a good idea, and then curled up to sleep. We could here Kevin prancing and humming outside our tent…. We asked him what he was doing… and he asked us what we were doing and why we weren’t out of our tent yet. “Uhmmmm… it’s RAINING!” We had no intentions of getting out of the tent until the rain slowed or stopped. We wanted to know why Kevin, who normally wanted to nap, was sooooo awake right now! We told him he should go to the camp store down the road and get coffee for us to occupy his time. We then began to pack up the things inside the tent, and took some of the things to the car. Donning our rain coats, we made a trip to the restroom, and on our return, found Kevin and Sam were back, but coffeeless… the store did not open until 8:00. We jumped in their car to discuss plans now that we were all awake. We were still telling him how terrible it was that we were not still in our tents, and cleaning them up in the rain. As we all left the car to pack up our tents, the rain began to fall harder. At this point, we were both very giggly about the whole situation, and Kevin and Sam seemed more grumbly about the status of the heavy rain and soggy tents.
With cars now hastily and poorly packed, we set off to get coffee and make our way towards San Francisco. After about 2 hours of driving, we pulled into a Panera to grab some food, and use the internet to figure out what hotel we would book for the next two nights. After much searching, discussion, and rejecting of hotels with horrid reviews or too high of prices, we settled on a hotel in Vallejo, about 30 miles northeast of San Francisco. After checking in to our room, we unloaded cars with the items we needed, and well as the wet items we needed to deal with. We washed the dirt from out wet and muddy tents, and hung them around the room to dry. Next on the agenda was dinner. After reading reviews, we decided on the nearby House of Soul. Though the menu had a decent number of items, the choices were few. Alex tried to order ribs, but they did not have them… so she went with fried chicken. Yes, we do eat fried chicken :o) Summer makes us do all sorts of crazy things… and we need the extra calories! For sides, she asked for mashed potatoes and lima beans… Nope… none of those. Mac-n-cheese and black-eyed peas will work! Everyone ordered almost the same thing, with Kevin switching fried chicken with chicken-fried steak. Despite the limited choices, and not getting our drinks until well into eating our dinner, the meal was delicious and our server was friendly. With full bellies, we returned to the hotel room to relax for the remainder of the evening.