Golden opportunities in Yosemite Valley via two wheels
By Meggan Wenbourne
This last weekend I went to Yosemite. The Yosemite. Arguably the climbing capitol of the world. It would be the second time in my life that I would travel to the valley floor without my sights set on climbing. Traveling solo, I was on a mission for some good old fashioned hiking and exploration.
The waterfalls were gushing like fire hydrants. This was a weekend where the Merced River was flooding its banks, where waterfalls that had not run in years were running and where mosquitoes were taking on new territories.
My usual tactics with climbing in the valley consist of finding a place to camp and using my car to transport between climbing destinations for my stay. I had never brought a bike into the valley before and it proved to be one of the best ideas I have ever had.
With the beautiful weather forecast and schools nearly all out for the summer, it was no surprise that the valley floor was packed with people. The valley loop was gridlocked to the point that it was almost laughable and here I was on my bicycle. With the wind in my hair and nothing but incredible views of El Cap in front of me, I cruised the valley hopping from meadow to meadow seeing old familiar faces and meeting new ones too.
My weekend consisted of incredible day hikes, El Cap gazing sessions and carnitas taco-less tacos with some of the kindest people on the planet. And the best part, my car didn’t see an extra mile of use beyond getting me to and from the valley.
I recognized this weekend how many miles I put in on my vehicle on a monthly basis traveling to and from the mountains. There is a lot to be said for finding more sustainable modes of transportation regardless of how big or small the trip. I probably saved about ten miles worth of fuel by using my bicycle for the weekend in Yosemite (and probably a couple hours of my time, too). This is something I am going to pay better attention to in the future because even my little escapades by bike made a bit of a difference.
My lesson for the week: Bring your bike! (And don’t forget your helmet and lock.)
Meggan Wenbourne is an avid climber, mountain biker and backpacker who works and plays in Santa Cruz, CA. She spends her time traveling to the mountains as often as possible to get lost in the pine trees and explore the granite rock of the Sierra Nevada range and has recently developed an obsession with the desert and its red rocks. When not away on an adventure, she can be found eating burritos and training at Pacific Edge Climbing Gym, riding amazing trails in the Santa Cruz Mountains or nestled away in her cozy tiny house with cookies and adventure reading.