|Mirror Lake meadow at Yosemite|
Friday, August 7
Nothing emphasises California's wonderful extremes better than the drive from Death Valley to Yosemite. The five-hour journey rises from the devil's furnace way below sea level to a stunningly beautiful landscape teaming with life from the valley floor skywards from 4,000 feet.
We made a detour to see the ancient bristlecone pines on the White Mountains on the way then yomped up to Lembert Dome overlooking the alpine Tuolumne Meadows near the eastern entrance to the national park. We did two more hikes the next day, the first five-miler a steep climb along the Mist Trail to the top of the Vernal waterfall and an easier five-miler through the woods to Mirror Lake in the afternoon. It was this route that we decided to jog the following morning.
Big Joe and I were up at 7am for the half-hour drive from Yosemite View Lodge to the car park at Curry Village. It was a lovely run around the traffic-free loop, up through the woods, across a butterfly meadow then splashing across Tenaya Creek for the run back. I left Joe in the car park to complete another circuit of the loop around a campsite to make it a satisfying 10k run at an altitude of 4,135ft in just over an hour.
We rehydrated on protein shakes then headed back to the lodge before the long, long drive to our final Californian stop, Napa Valley.