Welcome to the wild wild west
02 JUN 2019 – 20 JUN 2019
We had definitely entered the desert now.. Our way of dealing with 35+ temperatures (in the shade):
Leave the doors open at night and sleep inside a mosquito net
Alternatively put up the inner part of the tent and sleep in there
Trying to get up early (Which is difficult after a hot night with little sleep)
Find the local library and enjoy the free air conditioning plus Wifi
Find a Mcdo and enjoy free refills with loads of ice
Find places with enough elevation to cool down
Find an ocean breeze
Get out of each city as fast as possible!
And so we tried to apply our new knowledge to the following spots.
Abusing the airco in Vegas babay!
Las Vegas.. One of our must-do stops on the way through Nevada. Not because of anything particular, just because.. Yeah, It’s Vegas baby! We enjoyed walking through the ridiculously lit Strip while staring at everything so way over the top: from drag queens in the street to the huge pancake breakfast. We did catch a Cirque du soleil show, which was on one of our bucket lists for a very long time (Who’s bucket list would that be..?). But the best part of Vegas? Showering as much as we wanted! Vegas: It was nice meeting you, but a one-night-stand was enough for us!
Right outside of Vegas we visited another amazing climbing spot called Red Rocks. It was just a tad warm there, so we focused the action really early in the morning in a cool slot canyon with some shade and then again late in the afternoon. Even in this heat we managed to climb our best grades so far: 6b+ (5.11a). We were definitely proud of it so we have to mention it somewhere!
When Harrison meets heat..
However, even in these temperatures we wanted to get some sights in. So, we decided to drive into Death Valley National Park in late afternoon, thinking it would be cooling off soon. Now, this turned out to be a big mistake! The landscape is really cool, but it just was too much for all of us. After spending ten minutes out of the car we would glide back in, gulp down a liter of water and turn on the ‘air conditioning’. After an hour or so it became clear that Harrison couldn’t handle us using the airco anymore and we had to turn it off. 30 minutes later he gave up completely and broke down in mid-drive leaving us stranded in the hottest place on earth.. Thankfully we found some sprinklers at a nearby resort and used them to cool ourselves while we waited for Harrison to recover. Our big boy didn’t let us down for very long though. 1,5 hours later we got him started and drove him to higher elevations and cooler temperatures. Aaaah, the relieve!! Over the next two days we crossed our fingers every time we needed to start the car, but Harrison pulled through after 2 or 3 times. Solution: Changing the battery! In all honesty, we could have done this sooner, but where is the adventurous spirit in that!
Getting to higher grounds
We did make some mistakes managing the heat in the beginning. Trying to sleep in a Walmart parking lot is impossible when it is scorching hot during the day. Cities are so much warmer and there is hardly any breeze present to cool of the Van inside. We mostly fled out of the city as fast as possible! Hence visiting the forests Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park was perfect. WAAUUWIE, these trees are sooo big! That’s what everyone thinks right? Just one piece of advice: Get of the boardwalks and start a proper hike. There are so much cool Sequoia groves to visit besides the famous one.. General Grant or something..
It is here we got our very own private bear encounter. Imagine yourself, hiking carelessly, babbling away, not really looking in front of you and suddenly standing face-to-face with a brown bear munching right next to the path. I think we backed away faster than humanly possible, but I couldn’t tell you for sure 🤔, all theory of what to do during a bear encounter lost from memory. So thank you bear for pretending to be scared of us and running away. We definitely appreciate it. And a double thanks for sticking around 100 meters further so we could enjoy the view from a proper distance!
A climber’s paradise
Time for perhaps the most looked forward to national park in the US: Yosemite National Park! We stayed for a whole week and got to see a lot so here are our favorite moments.
Driving in from the South Entrance and being rewarded with probably the most photographed spot in Yosemite.
Hanging around in the meadows in front of El Cap with binoculars at the ready. Just looking at the spots moving up on that 1000 m wall is an activity in its own right. Bring your chairs and some snacks!
Giving that crack climbing another shot and having the feeling that it went just a bit better than the last time. Plus: What a view!
Trying the first route on the Nose of El Cap and getting inspired to come back and try it for real in a few years..
To be continued in a few years 😉