At the end of my last post Jillian and I were happily gaping our way through Tuolumne after a really fun ski and longboard session. The plan was to meet our friends Cadence and Dave (seen  hucking their meat into the icy river in the cover photo) at the base of El Capitan for some climbing. They had already been in the Valley for a few days with a bunch of their coworker friends from Patagonia. Then I heard a loud, “Snap”!

Luckily, we coasted into the Crane Flat gas station just as the car was dying. Having been in similar positions before and recognizing it was a Sunday we decided to just play the card that was dealt. That meant leaving our car for a few hours to deal with AAA later and embarking on a 16+ mile downhill bike ride from Crane Flat into the heart of Yosemite Valley. I would’ve never signed up for a mission like this since I’m really not too fond of riding a bike as cars buzz by me for miles on end, but it turned out to be an amazing way to take in our surroundings in a more intimate way. There were gorgeous wildflower blooms going off through Yosemite’s burn area,

and as we kept ticking off the miles the views of the Valley kept getting radder and radder.

At several points we had to stop our downhill trajectory and just gape.

I’ve never seen the waterfalls in Yosemite going off like this so late in the season.

We made it to the Valley floor and proceeded to ride over  to El Cap Meadows where we ditched our bikes and hiked a short ways

before running into arguably the most unreal, intense, amazing, jaw-dropping, utterly brilliant piece of granite on the planet; El Capitan.

Just as we were about to get to the base of one of the finest rock climbs in the world, the Nose, we ran into Cadence and Dave hiking out. We were slightly bummed to have missed out on some afternoon climbing, but taking into consieration our predicament the bike ride actually more than made up for the loss, and it was sweet to run right into our friends and get to hang our for a while. The Patagonia crew had been having a blast the past few days in Yosemite. Check out this amazing shot Dave Campbell took of a slackline he and his crew set up the day before we met up with them (his camera also captured the jumping off the bridge shots).

After a few beers and hanging with the El Capitan paparazzi

the crew wanted to go for a swim via a jump from the bridge so we all lined up,

and went for a COLD dip.

Unfortunately the Patagonia crew had to get back to Reno/Tahoe so Dave and Cadence gave Jillian and I a ride back to our car at Crane Flat and said their good-bye’s. Now it was time for us to deal again…but actually, if you happen to break down in Yosemite it’s really not as bad as you might think. First off you’re in Yosemite. Secondly, there’s a garage right in the Valley because guess what? In nature’s version of Disneyland all sorts of crazy things happen, like people breaking down in the Park at any given hour. All it took to get a tow down to the garage was a call to AAA, and just like that we were heading back into the Valley gaping at the waterfalls and scenery like nothing even happened. Were we worried about where to spend the night knowing most of the campgrounds are booked solid months in advance? Dirtbags are you listening? There’s emergency campsites set aside just for this type of “emergency”. For example, in the Upper Pines Campground. Maybe it wasn’t the most ideal way to get a campsite in Yosemite, but that’s the card that was dealt and that’s the card we played. We figured we’d be out of there in the morning, maybe with even enough time to go ski off Tioga or in Tuolumne again, but when we met the mechanic in the morning we had to adapt to yet another curve ball.

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