Our first day in Yosemite, my daughter and I skipped the shuttle, and instead set-off directly from camp, the four miles along the Valley Floor trail, to Bridal Veil Falls. After all, we had come to hike, and hike we would. We would catch the park shuttle for our return to camp. Adding the distance to the shuttle stop and we would have logged 5 miles on our first outing--not too shabby.
With light feet we set out: Back-dropped by clear blue skies, El Cap and Half Dome were stunning, great Redwoods towered over our heads, chipmunks scampered at our feet, and we clambered on top of boulders and fallen trees for photo-ops and rested with snack breaks of granola bars and fruit.
After viewing Bridal Veil Falls, we hiked the half-mile back to the trail head, only to discover we had missed the last shuttle. The day had turned hot; our mouths were dry, the water bottles empty and our moods were dour. In hopes of intersecting another shuttle we abandoned the trail to follow alongside the main road. Motorcycles, cars, SUV's, trailer homes, and trucks swooshed past as we navigated the uneven ground; our custom-fit-at-REI hiking boots had created custom-fit-blisters as our earlier energy had waned into a dispirited shuffle.
I struck out my thumb.
No one stopped.
Much, much later, after restorative hot showers, a good meal in our tummies, and our blistered feet bandaged from our now totaled 9 mile journey, we sat, relaxed by the campfire.
"Does it get any better than this?" Transfixed by the crackle of flame lit logs, I spoke softly.
My daughter replied in a hushed tone, as she too gazed into the licking flames, "This was definitely an awesome, shitty day.”