Frosty Wooldridge


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Part 3: Bicycling Coast to Coast Across America--Yosemite to Death Valley

We visited all the great waterfalls blasting massive amounts of water to the valley floor.  Half –mile high Yosemite Falls, romantic Bridal Veil , raging Nevada Falls,  soothing Vernal falls, Mirror Lake, Merced River at full blast, Half Dome, John Muir Trail and Trail of Mist where everyone suffers a mini-rain storm.  We saw a bear jump into the Merced and swim across.  One night, two bears frolicked through our campsite while they non-cha-lantly played the mating game.  We climbed for hours to Nevada Falls for a spectacular sight!  It raged with noise and power and stunning displays of water and vapors.  At the bottom, the crashing water formed an apron that shot out from the base like ‘dry ice’ that streams over the ground. The sun beat down on the mist, creating endless rainbows from all angles.  We listened to Lee Stetson perform his rendition of John Muir, the first environmentalist and world traveler who lived in Yosemite and created the National Park Systems along with Teddy Roosevelt.


We rolled out of Yosemite four days later to climb 80 miles over up and down mountainous roads to 10,000 feet at Tioga Pass with a great deal of snow and passed the majestic Tenaya Lake.  We saw a mama bear and two cubs too close for comfort.  We camped in the snow.  We enjoyed a backdrop of white-capped mountains and crystal clear waters. Amazing!   As we reached Tioga Pass, snow and frozen lakes greeted us as well as astounding beauty.


Down, down, down to the flats at 7,000 feet and a California band playing to a fun crowd at an outdoor restaurant.  We sat around listening to the band and talking with people.   We camped on a hill overlooking Mono Lake and with a backdrop of snow-capped Sierra Mountains. 


I wrote in my journal, “From amazing Pacific surf to astounding Yosemite Valley and a long hard climb to Tioga Pass…filled with bears, majestic Sequoia trees, towering mountains and green valleys blanketed with Ponderosa pines.  My legs feel stronger each day with nine hours of sleep at night.   We enjoyed a very wealthy couple entertain us for an evening at their home with pool, waterfall, 40 fish pond, elegant grounds, opulent home and a delightful brunch at dusk.  Very kind, very real and very delightful folks.  Can’t help but feel the wonder of Yosemite still prevalent 150 years after John Muir first arrived.   The only difference—a horde of people tramps all over the wilderness ‘quiet’, so much so, it feels like hiking through a ‘city’ wilderness instead of true wilderness.  The crush of people worsens annually in all our national parks.  As we pedaled our way toward Tioga Pass, we climbed into the high country replete with snow.  We saw a bear and her cubs!  Later, we pedaled through hundreds of curves, valleys, pine forests, canyons and superb scenery.  At the top, we took pictures and car drivers marveled at our journey as I featured a “Coast to Coast” sign on the back of my bike.  A quick descent brought us to a famous California restaurant and a two man band playing a lot of  ‘oldies but goodies’.  Dozens of people asked us questions and seemed to enjoy our monumental voyage. Later, we camped on a small hill overlooking Mono Lake with a backdrop of the Sierras.  I’m feeling strong and this ride exceeds all my expectations.”

Later the next day, we pushed to 8,000 feet and then on toward Death Valley.  But first, head winds bashed us all day as we headed into Panamint Valley filled with sand, rocks and desolation.  We camped in a washout that night with a million stars twinkling in the sky. 


In my journal that night, “God, I hate headwinds! They grind into my soul and make my legs feel like putty!  They bash at my mind and wither my resolve!  They make me work my butt off, but won’t let me get very far or very fast down the road.  Headwinds suck!”



Frosty Wooldridge has bicycled across six continents - from the Arctic to the South Pole - as well as six times across the USA, coast to coast and border to border. In 2005, he bicycled from the Arctic Circle, Norway to Athens, Greece. His books include:  Handbook for Touring Bicyclists; Bicycling Around the World: Tire Tracks for Your Imagination; Bicycling the Continental Divide: Slice of Heaven, Taste of Hell.  Copies available-1 888 280 7715


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