At long last, the promised write up on Emigrant Gap. Sorry for the delay, but things have been crazy hectic here (Karson's wedding in Toronto (write up to follow), biz trips left right and center, new role at work...) so I have been able to write us much as I wanted to. In any case, here it is:
So we finally went on our very 1st back packing trip. I must admit, I was a bit fearful about this - carrying a fully loaded 50lb back pack, hiking 5-6 miles, then spending a couple of nights with no running water, electricity - just the trees and a river stream and the open stars.
We had a fantastic time - the hike was of moderate difficulty, not too rugged, and not too uphill. We got to see some beautiful vistas... we headed out with Wes, Yolanda, Wes' brother Dave, our guide Bernardo, and a few others. It was a wonderful crowd, and we sealed some friendships fairly quickly.
On the 2nd day, we hiked another couple of miles into the mountains, and found a watering hole. The water was really cold (i think around 12-13 degrees, possibly less), but hey, we dove in any way ! Oh my god... when I jumped it... I thought my heart had stopped beating - I couldn't breathe at all, and had to scream to get the oxygen back into my lungs... almost scary, but boy it was fun !!!!! We did it all over again. After letting the sun tingle our skin dry, we headed back to camp, to relax, and prepare the camp fire and dinner.
The only black dot on this trip was on our way back, when Max's aunt Yolanda slipped on a large boulder and broke her ankle in 2 places. The walking stick that she had been using had given in, which caused her to lose her footing. She put on a really brave face (I think I would have been screaming my heart out), and thankfully a couple of red necks driving monster trucks with a confederate flag and bearing "Don't tread on me" tattoos offered to help, and drive her down to the trail head, calling the fire department ahead so that they could meet her with an ambulance.
We headed down, and a couple of hours later met up with Wes and Yolanda.
I definitely was more careful going down back the trail after this. Thank God, Yolanda is feeling better. I remember tearing all my ligaments in my left ankle 10-15 years ago, acting stupid at school. It was so painful ! So I admire Yolanda's courage in the face of such pain. It is truly, truly admirable (must be a Dutch thing ;-).
Finally, on the way back to San Jose, we stopped at a Chevy's restaurant to have dinner with the whole gang... Chevy's is an american chain of tex-mex restaurants. We never really liked their food, but definitely like their margheritas !!!!! ( you can check out my past reviews of Chevy's here ). Max however, ordered a salad... and imagine her dismay when she got it --> it had a latex glove hidden in the middle of it ! (gross !!!!!). No real profuse apologies from management at the time, and they even charged us for the salad !!!
Thank God, Max decided to complain (as did Yolanda, and even Bernardo). Thankfully, the regional manager of Chevy's was a nice guy, and profusely apologized for the mishap, and offered to give us 12 vouchers for free meals at Chevy's and a full reimbursement of the 200$ bill. Now that's what I call service. Only in the US of A (yeeeehhhhhaaaa!).
So all in all - a great trip, with memorable experiences, beautiful vistas, and a free meal to boot ! Max and I can't wait to do it again, and we will. First around all the wonderful nooks and crannies of the bay area, but also Yosemite, Yellow Stone, Big Sur - there's so much to do here, and we've only barely scratched the surface after a year!
So it was an adventure ! But Max and I definitely developed a taste for the open air on this trip. We look forward to the next one!