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Trails and Tribulations

Yosemite National Park, California, United States

We woke up this morning at 8 and headed to breakfast. The Lodge dining room is family seating, so we sat with two older couples and a father with his two sons. They all had been there before, so we didn't have much to talk about with them. We did end up telling them about our first road trip out here when they asked where we were originally from. The food was just ok, but we wanted to make sure we'd have enough energy for the day.

We first called and made a reservation to go horseback riding. It was a 2 hour ride from 3-5; we had to be there at 2. Since it was still early, we decided to explore some the trails around the campsite.

We pretty much just wandered along the trials we found. We tried to stay along the river, which was beautiful and very calming. We were able to hear the river from our tent and it was the sound that soothed us to sleep.

While out, we saw some of the local wildlife, like deer, what looked like prairie dogs, a little gopher-like animal coming up from a whole in the ground, and many birds.

We then headed to the stables. We ended up riding mules, not horses, and the trip took us up and down a mountain. We were paired with a family of 3- father, mother, and young daughter, and 2 guides that came with us.

While out on the trial, we climbed up some pretty rough terrain. We got to see a coyote though! He was blonde, and very beautiful. He followed us around for a bit, which was really nice, except that my mule kept stopping to look at it!!

Eventually, we got up to the top of the mountain and had a beautiful view of the Tuolumne Meadows and many of the peaks of Yosemite.

And it went downhill from there- literally, in more ways than one.

I began to not really feel so well... not only was I hot, but I started to feel lightheaded and like I was going to pass out. Mike took one look at me and told one of the guides that we needed to stop. I asked if I could get off, and they let me. One of them gave me her water and the other gave me her bandanna which she had soaked in the river. We decided to split up- one of the guides, Charlie, took the family of 3, and the other, Karen, stayed with us. Mike helped me feel better, so I got back up on the mule- big mistake. The second I got up on him I immediately felt like I was going to pass out, and I didn't think I was going to be able to make it off on my own accord. After resting for a while, we decided that Karen would take the mules back and Mike and I would walk back.

This wasn't exactly the best thing. We had to walk upwards of a mile, with me feeling lightheaded and pretty exhausted at this point, not to mention pretty freaked out. Karen said that it was altitude sickness, and fairly common. Still, I was worried. And that rough terrain? Much worse when you are on foot! Most of it was uphill and only some of it was in the shade. On top of this, it was prime mosquito time, and we were both being eating alive. We had to stop fairly frequently, and Mike began to worry that we weren't going to make it back by dark. Luckily though, we did, and we were both ready to collapse.

Back at the camp, we made reservations for dinner and relaxed for an hour before eating. At dinner, we were placed with a father and his 14 year old daughter, and a family of 4 from France. It was so fun to listen to their accents! And the father and daughter were very nice too. They gave us rolls and salad; Mike got a steak with a baked potato and corn on the cob, and I got a chicken Caesar salad. We shared both. The corn was so sweet it needed nothing- just like Amy's from the 4th! And everything else was really good too.

After dinner, Mike lit up the fire and we got comfortable. The plan was to get up fairly early, pack, and go see some more before we left. Unfortunately, this was not to be.

I woke up after being asleep for only 2 hours in intense pain. My whole chest felt constricted and it was hard to breathe. Mike woke up and went to the Lodge to ask what was going on. It was the altitude sickness again. The only cure- descent. Mike made the decision that we should leave instead of waiting until morning... so we quickly packed and left. As we descended, I began to feel better. Unfortunately though, we had to drive over 3 hours to find civilization and a hotel to stay in! We found a Holiday Inn Express and checked in at 5am, got a late check out, and slept until 1pm. Sore and exhausted, the day was finally over.

At the end of the day, all that matters is that I have the best spouse in the world. Even Karen (the guide) said we won the couple of the week/month/year (neither of us remember exactly what she said- it was hectic) award. Mike was perfect- patient and helpful and loving. I couldn't have made it without him.

permalink written by  prettyblueroses on July 13, 2009 from Yosemite National Park, California, United States
from the travel blog: Northern Expedition: Our Journey to NorCal
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Geez Heather!!! I cant believe that happened! Well-- actually I can! Glad you are OK!
Thank you Mike!!!
Hope the rest of your trip is not so eventful!
Mom & Dad

permalink written by  mom on July 15, 2009

oh no!!! I've always heard about that but never experienced it myself. Poor Heather!

permalink written by  Diane Maurer on July 19, 2009

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