His mind finds a surreal calm as the earth lurches up to meet him, almost like a dream. He is flying, the wind rushing by his face, and he holds on until he knows the moment must come to an end. On count four, the small chute tugs out a larger rectangular one with a crisp snap. His velocity brakes. McNeely floats to the ground, landing on both feet like a child hopping off a swing. Smiling wildly, the adrenaline fully kicked in, he hastily pulls the parachute back into his pack and retreats to his jeep.
Most jumpers would now make a quick getaway: A day jump increases the risk that he's been spotted. McNeely will not, though his inability to hold back has often burned him in the past: It was the second jump off a crane in Salt Lake City when he was tackled by a security guard and nailed with a trespassing charge. It was the second jump off an antenna in Pennsylvania when the wind rammed him into the side of a building, leaving him with a concussion and 19 staples in his head.
It was the second jump off El Cap when he got Tased and thrown in jail.
The Greek myth of Icarus comes up a lot in reference to BASE jumping: the human who attached wings to his arms with wax in order to fly. Seized by the glory of flight, he ignored warnings not to fly too close to the sun and plummeted to his death. He grabs another parachute pack out of his jeep and heads toward the tower.
The whole idea of a reporter witnessing the jump had only come up the night before. Once at the site, he seemed to have had — and then dismissed — second thoughts. This is like the slut of jumps — everyone does it. Others try to abide by a strict code of never being seen by outsiders. An attempt last fall to contact jumpers on the sport's most popular website, BLiNC Magazine run by Mick Knutson, a jumping devotee who lives in the Mission District tanked.
We aren't in Malaysia, where the government invites BASE jumpers to do exhibition jumps off skyscrapers. Nor are we in Switzerland, where locals build ramps for a safe takeoff in the Alps. The sport has been of questionable legality since the first rowdy skydivers decided to try jumping off objects in the s.
New York City banned the sport specifically after Californian Jeb Corliss made front-page news getting caught by security while attempting to jump off the Empire State Building in Knutson claims he jumped off the San Francisco Hilton Hotel back in the '90s, and many jumpers leaped off cranes during the dot-com construction boom. Legally, jumpers can hop off the Perrine Bridge in Idaho or in some areas managed by the federal Bureau of Land Management, such as the Moab canyonlands in Utah.
In much of the rest of the country, jumpers risk trespassing or public nuisance charges. The National Park Service, with its conservation ethos, has applied a statute aimed at limiting people from parachuting into the backcountry to ban BASE jumpers.
While hang-gliders sail off Yosemite's Glacier Point with permits, several federal courts have upheld the ban on jumpers. The BASE jumpers' solution to the ban? Just don't get caught. I don't want to incriminate myself. How can they resist? El Cap is a nearly ideal jump site: Its sheer granite face reduces any risk of hitting a cliff on the way down. Its 3,foot altitude gives you substantial air time, while a meadow sits below for an easy landing. The jumpers also say the ban forces them to use dangerous tactics like launching in the dark and pulling their chutes when low to the ground to decrease theirchances of being seen.
The real animus between the rangers and the BASE jumpers started in , after Frank Gambalie fled from the rangers after a jump. He ran into the Merced River and drowned. After Gambalie's death, a group set up a protest jump in prisoner costumes to demonstrate the supposed safety of the sport before spectators and the media. Her then-husband, Tom Sanders, says Davis had used someone else's parachute since she knew it was going to be confiscated.
McNeely was there. McNeely trusts his instincts and equipment to save him— insisting on carefully packing all his parachutes himself. McNeely and other BASE jumpers say they just love it too much to be driven away by the possibility of death. A human can fly. Since Davis' death, jumpers and rangers reached a sort of bitter stalemate. The rangers have arrested only four jumpers in the last decade, though they've chased and been unable to locate several more, according to park dispatch reports. But it was perhaps only a matter of time before two events raised the stakes of the game.
In , Yosemite law enforcement rangers got Tasers. McNeely's prior encounters with the rangers had not ended well. In , he was cited for drinking beer in a van near the El Cap meadow. Two months later, they arrested him for speeding and driving erratically. He blew a 0. The way he tells it, the whole electrocution debacle last August began with a prank. On the next day, McNeely decided to go for it again.
He says he downed two beers on the climb, while his girlfriend, Kait, an outdoorsy geology student at CSU Stanislaus, waited in the meadow below. At dusk, McNeely zipped on his nylon wing suit, which has material webbed between the arms and legs. The increasingly popular suit lets jumpers travel two or three feet forward for every one down, stretching a second BASE jump off El Cap with a parachute into a second flight. Check here for details on how to try to nab a spot. Curry Village is competitive, but not quite as bad as that. We booked our tent cabins 4.
It might come with electricity including a power outlet to plug your phone into.
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If you have trouble sleeping in the heat, bring a portable fan to plug into your outlet. It is a little toasty in the tent cabins until around midnight when it cools down significantly. Depending on where you stay, you will have different choices on where to eat, but in general there are limited choices within the park itself. If you need something a bit nicer than what is available in the village, head over to one of the hotels. If you are staying in Curry Village, bring a cooler packed with goodies for breakfast and lunches so that your only meal out is dinner.
This helps with cost and variety as well. Several days of eating in the same few places gets old quickly! In Half Dome Village, there is a small pizza bar where you can order pizza to be enjoyed while sitting outside. As options within the park are limited, be aware that lunch time crowds are heavy. Go early or plan to be there for a while!
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This small deli in Yosemite Valley offers sandwiches, salads and pizzas for eating here or take-away. It is open mainly for breakfast and lunch, but if you stop in before 6pm you can also grab an early dinner. Needing something a little different than burgers and sandwiches? Something for everyone here. They are open for lunch and dinner only. They serve burgers, sandwiches, shakes on a beautiful deck. Again, wait times can be long during high season and meal times.
As a reminder, please do not feed the animals as cute as they are! They are getting bolder and less fearful of humans as each season passes. This fine dining restaurant is part of the 4 star hotel in Yosemite Valley. It offers breakfast, lunch and dinner. Typically only guests of the hotel eat here, but it is nice to make a dinner reservation for something a little more upmarket!
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This quick, casual eatery offers plenty of choices for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Fill up before you get inside the park, even if you have half a tank. Driving distances can be far once you enter the park gates. No one wants to fill up inside the park if it can be helped! Looking to stay connected with work or family back home while in Yosemite?
Forget it! WiFi and cell service does exist, but very rarely works. There is one place in Curry Village at the lodge, across from the dining area that you can get internet access, but you need to go early in the morning or in middle of the day to get on. But really just forget about it and enjoy the outdoors. Phone service is spotty at best. If you are traveling with a group, you might consider bringing or investing in cheap walkie talkies. Hilarious, but also annoying when you are trying to meet up with your group. Make pre-arranged plans with one another rather than relying on phones.
If you go with a group, make sure to let the reservations desk know when you book your cabins that you are traveling together and would like tent cabins near to one another. There is no guarantee, but they will try to group you close. We were about 6 tent cabins away from one of our party and another 6 from that one. It was fine, and this was as close as they could get us to one another. Another option would be to book all cabins under one reservation, so you can get them all together. This is very important, as the tent cabins are spread out over a large area.
Are you visiting other national parks in California? If so, check out our in depth guides for some of the other amazing parks in the state. Came across your post on Bombay Expats. Can we chat re: freelance blogging opportunities we have? Please email. The bear locker aspect ended up being such fun for everyone!
No one wanted a night time bear visit to the tent! The Junior Park Ranger Program would be awesome! My husband visited there with his parents as a kid, and really wants to take our 2 children.
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We loved Yosemite! We were there for a day last September. Stayed just outside the park in Mariposa. Mariposa was so beautiful as well! Great point about booking early! Important to remember, especially at national parks. And those cabins look so cozy and fun! I am definitely thinking about planning a trip now! Is there an off season? Your trip sounded great. The only negative during high season was the line for restaurants. I would definitely go during the May to Sept time period. Lots of ranger activities and events which adds to the experience. Cant wait to go back and try them myself.
This is an excellent resource, even without kids! This is a great post! Yosemite is a great place for kids. I remember going to Yosemite when I was 12 and I had a blast! Short and sweet. It was amazing. Everyone had a blast. We were ready to try another […]. Spending quality time with family is a good thing. Having fun with kids will make you stress-free and will give you a peaceful mind.
There are even more national park sites within reach of the bay area. Considering heading to Yosemite Valley for awe inspiring views, Sequoia or the Redwoods for a look at some massive trees, Lassen Volcanic […]. On the day that you rented bikes, did you do hikes along the way?
Or was the bike ride the activity for the day? We mostly rode bikes to areas and then would leave them to do a little hike. We left it on the trail near Mirror Lake and hiked out, then got back on later. Your email address will not be published. Everyone from young to old loved it.
It is remote but worth the extra effort it takes to get here on the few miles of unpaved road. The grandkids loved the swimming hole.
Carciuma din Batrani - Restaurant Traditional
The cave was a great adventure. Hiking was enjoyed by the adults. We had a group of 23 bunking here for 3 nights as part of a family get-away in June, and we loved it! With 8 adults and 15 kids, there were plenty of room and bathrooms to accommodate all of us. The beds were comfortable, lots of space in and outside, and no shortage of kitchen supplies. A couple of kids slept on the floor, otherwise there was enough space for everyone to be comfortable. The most popular room was the dining hall, which was used for eating, games, and as a hangout room.
We made a campfire every night under the clear night skies, BBQ'd out back, and the everyone played some ping pong matches downstairs. The house stayed comfortable throughout our stay - some used the room heaters at night to be warm, and at times we opened the windows and skylights during the day to cool the rooms. And believe it or not, we were all able to survive without cell service and wifi which is slow and spotty.
I recommend using the directions provided by Lynn and Richard, they are very accurate. The cabin is about 45 minutes from the Yosemite gate entrance. If its your 1st time, I recommend arriving during daylight hours -otherwise you will get lost. For check-out, we stripped the beds, took out the garbage,, and made sure the dishes were done. There are signs and binder with the checkout process, so its a easy-peasy process! This place is an absolute gem! It is definitely off the beaten path but that is the magic of it. When you finally happen upon the valley the lodge is like a big beautiful beacon of good times to be had!
Yet it was intimate enough to enjoy the family time. It makes you reconnect with everything and everyone around you. With all the games provided and some we brought , the fire pit, and the seemingly endless grounds to explore you will always have something to do! Pack your food! Think Costco Not only is the nearest shopping quite a drive away, but you will not want to leave once you get there becasue it is just that amazing! The kitchen is stocked with anything you need and the kitchen sink!
Bring your own seasonings though because geeze.. I could go on and on and on and on Take care of this place if you get the pleasure of visiting becasue it is a treasure. Your words touched my heart! Thank you so much for getting what this place is all about! You and your family and kids are very special too, you all connected with the beauty of this world. My family and friends stayed at the lodge for three nights over New Year's and had an amazing time.
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