Day 98 - Rainbow Pool, Yosemite, California - 3236 km
From ghost town Chinese Camp it went up quickly in a steep grade. I could already smell the fresh air of Yosemite while the heat wave was dying off. The first night I camped at the Rainbow pool, a few miles before the park entrance. It’s near the highway where the river creates a few natural pools where you can take a dive. Always a welcome feature on a camp spot. I left early the next morning, around 7.30. But I got plagued by another nuisance. Flies were doing everything to sit in my eyes or my ears. Since the road was inclining my speed was low enough for them to keep up. I couldn’t shake them off. It annoyed me so much that I started to hit myself to shake them off, but of course I only hurt myself. Ah well, the wonders of bicycle travelling…
After a while the flies left off and temperatures got more pleasant. I was feeling a lot stronger than a few days back in the Central Valley. I guess I got back in shape. I climbed 2054m in one day without too much pain, a personal record. Last record was climbing from the Caspian Sea to Tehran, two years ago.
I had a proper brunch at the Rush Creek Lodge and continued around noon on the Tioga Pass (120) heading to Yosemite National Park. While pedalling up I recalled the car ride to Yosemite with Rachel a few weeks back. It was a similar route to Yosemite Valley from San Francisco. 4 hours in the car took me now 4 days to cycle. This offered me so many more stories and adventures along the way. This time I didn’t go for a hike. Cycling these roads are a good substitute for it. I wanted to do a hike in Tuolumne meadow, but there were so many cars and people that I resigned from the idea. People on their holidays, I’ve seen them enough the last months. I just want to experience this beautiful nature on my own.
When we were with the car, wild camping was an issue because it’s prohibited in most national parks in the US, especially one as crowded as Yosemite. So we drove out of the park and found a place to camp along the river. If your car is found overnight, parked anywhere along the road, the park rangers will give you a fine because of illegal camping. The rules are strict and for a good reason, the park looks neat and clean, even with the high amount of visitors. This time, however, being on the bike, I have more freedom. I drag it over a few boulders and nobody is going to find me. I could camp anywhere I want.