Sunday, August 23, 2009

Welcome to Yosemite

I arrived in Yosemite on July 30th after taking a series of enjoyable bus rides. I took the ESTA bus from LonePine to Mammoth Lakes, and the Yarts bus from Mammoth Lakes to Yosemite. I really enjoyed the Yarts bus because the driver was playing some Native American flute music on the radio which provided the perfect soundtrack for the scenery we passed.
After getting off the Yarts bus at the Yosemite visitors center, one of the park rangers informed me where the overnight backpacker's campground was located. It was about 3/4's of a mile away, so I quickly made my way in that direction. It was the first time I would walk with my pack any considerable distance, so I was mainly listening to my body as I was hiking. As I approached the campground, I could see two teenagers sitting at a picnic table playing cards in camp from a distance. The exact moment I entered the campground, I saw a brown bear crossing a bridge and entering from the other side. Immediately, I thought to myself, this will be interesting. The teenagers had not yet noticed the bear. Having had recent encounters with bears in Los Angeles National Forest, I did not feel too afraid. I continued walking into camp towards the teens. One of them noticed me and said hello. The other one, sensing something approaching from behind, turned around and literally jumped out of his seat when he saw the bear about 35 yards away. "Bear!!" they screamed. Trying to play it cool, I reassured them it was probably harmless. Indeed he was.

The bear simply sniffed from tent to tent looking for food and climbed on the picnic tables. After failing to find any significant pieces of delicious human food, a passing tour of horseriders scared the bear back into the forest. Later in the day, a ranger informed us to immediately scare the bear out of camp as soon as he or she arrives. That way, they will hopefully not be as bold the next time around. After the incident occurred, I immediately thought of a video I had seen on YouTube before I left LA. The bridge looks very similar.

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