Further exploration 🏔

This is the second part of my first adventure abroad!

In case you missed it, you can read the first post here.

Day 8

We woke up in the heart of Yosemite Valley with the birds singing and the sun shining. We all got off the bus and helped to make breakfast.

Every morning and evening we would all gather round and help to cook meals and clean up together.

We were in the heart of Yosemite Valley and you could choose whatever you wanted to do. I wanted to hike up super high and see the views, so we hiked up to Yosemite falls.

Right at the start, we got this snap.

Very quickly we realised we were going to need a lot of water. We both brought maybe a litre, which we quickly realised was definitely not enough the more we walked up. Fortunately, we ended up finding streams of water that seemed clean enough. People told us not to drink it, but I drank probably 4 litres of it without problems!

Here’s me, somewhere near the top of Yosemite Falls.

I was with a girl who I met with her mom as I was going up. I was going up super fast because I’d left Jared so I wanted to get up and see the sights super fast. She was super excited and also going super fast, so her mom asked if I would take care of her whilst she went up with me. So that’s what I did! I should really have bought a hat or sunglasses… I couldn’t take a picture without an angry-looking frown! The blue thing on my shoulder was this plastic thing that stayed super cold when I added water to it. I got it from Microsoft at HackCon, but I have no idea if I am using it for its intended purpose. Who cares, it kept me cool on a scorching hot summer day full of walking.

It really was beautiful up there though.

I now realise if I went another mile or so up I could’ve had an even better view, but it was still awesome. I had to get back down to Jared anyway as I’d left him down for an hour or two by this point.

I took one final look at this amazing overwhelming view and ran down the mountain to get back to Jared. I felt absolutely elated running down the mountain, endorphins rushing, warm sun on my skin, feeling on top of the fucking world (sorta literally).

In the evening we got back on the bus and drove to the place to Hartley Springs Campground to set up camp and cook food. There, a campfire was set up and we sat around eating marshmallows, singing, y’know – the usual.

Day 9

We wake up ready to explore. The first stop was a hot creek where steam was rising from volcanic activity. It reminded me of when I was in Iceland. I still want to go back to Iceland, especially to take a dip in the Blue Lagoon. Volcanic spas are THE BEST.

It’s hard to really take it in from pictures. We took a 360-degree panorama, which you can find here.

After this, we proceeded to Mono Lake, which is a “Terminal Lake”, meaning that water doesn’t flow from it, only evaporating or seeping into the group from there. Because of this, there are tonnes of salt deposits, and the water is super salty, like the red sea. I jumped into the water with all my clothes and even shoes on. I could even float a bit which was a pretty cool experience. I still want to go to the red sea one day to experience it there too. We also visited a visitor centre and learnt a bit about the history of the area. It was… mildly interesting.

We then took a drive to the next campsite, with another campfire, games of frisbee, and then stargazing with a super clear sky. It was super peaceful – late at night, thinking about life, the universe and everything. Yet again, like the views from Yosemite falls, feeling in awe at life.

Day 10

This was another day of some hiking! We hiked up to the top of Lembert Dome, getting some amazing views of Tuolumne Meadows.

Yet more awe at nature. Also, yet more need for sunglasses. 😆

I even brought my laptop to the top…

We then headed to June lake for some swimming, before heading to the Tuolumne grove to see some super famous giant sequoia trees. If you’ve ever wanted to be inside a tree, this is the place to go. For example, I went inside the famous “Tunnel tree”

We then went on to do some swimming at June lake before heading to a tavern on the outskirts of the national park for one final social before heading back to San Francisco overnight.

Day 11

We woke up in San Francisco! When you’ve been away from civilisation for a while it feels super weird being back in the hustle and bustle of the city. In Yosemite, most of the time I didn’t even have mobile signal. You might have noticed the lack of tweets compared to the start of the post.

The tour was run by a company that also runs the Green Tortoise hostel in San Francisco, so they were offering breakfast and a shower for something like $5. So worth it after 4 days without a real shower.

After we finished eating and showering we headed straight to our Airbnb to drop off our bags. All I remember is going to watch finding dory and both Jared and I falling asleep during it because we were exhausted.

Day 12

We slept for ages because of 4 days straight with bad sleep. By this point, I’d told Jared about Mountain View, and considering we needed something chill to do, a relaxing train journey down to Mountain View and coffee seemed good.

I’d read about how red rock coffee was a go-to spot for people pitching to VCs, and whilst we didn’t see that it was probably the best people watching I’ve ever done. Literally, everyone around us was talking about technology. Not only is the train ride surreal with everyone on their laptops, so are the usual coffee shop conversations. Silicon Valley is crazy.

We decided to head back to SF for the evening at around 7 pm.

There we met up with Nick, who I met briefly at HackCon. We went to Tacqueria La Cumbre for Burritos which was hot fire flames. At the time I couldn’t take as much spice as I can now… So I want to try it again.

My 💖 Pauline may have something to do with my new found love for spice. Just the thought of Nandos Peri peri vusa makes my mouth water.

After burritos we headed to Nick’s place. I wasn’t expecting much because he’s just an intern in SF. Gentrification has influenced some super weird housing situations in SF, Nick’s place being one of them. Whilst some people are cramped into boxes with showers in the kitchen, instead Nick was living in the coolest converted warehouse ever.

Tiki bar next to the VR rig. I couldn’t forget the communist bathroom either. I think the whole place was built by the other people staying there. Somehow nick had found these people and this place for his time over summer. Pretty cool.

After playing a lot of VR on the HTC Vive setup, Jared and I headed back to our own Airbnb to sleep.

Day 13

We had made plans with Nick to rent bikes and cycle along the Golden Gate bridge to Sausalito. I figured it wouldn’t be too touristy but oh my I was wrong. I’d noticed the bikes before, but I became much more aware of them when we were in the situation of renting bikes at like $12 per hour or something. There were probably thousands of bikes on the road. It was crazy.



A post shared by Matt Burman (@_mattburman) on

It was the definition of a tourist trap. You pay by the hour based on when you return the bikes. So most people bike through SF, across the bridge, and towards Sausalito. The ride is amazing and totally worth it. But the trap is that unless you want to bike all the way back, you have to queue for a ride back on the ferry. So there were probably hundreds of people all queueing over half an hour to get on this ferry to return their bikes. Basically, paying to queue. 😭

Still, the ride was fun on the way to Sausalito and I’m still glad we did it 🙌

Reflection – making a leap

I did a whole bunch of stuff on this trip. Even though the stuff I did was cool, I think the most important thing I did was just making the leap into travelling. Since that trip, I have been to so many places.

If I never made that crazy leap to book that flight, maybe I would never have experienced all the things I have since that trip on my adventures…

5 responses to “Further exploration 🏔”

  1. Lovely photos! Sounds like a great time!

  2. Yosemite looks like so much fun! We would love to do that. And that picture on the bridge is awesome. Another thing we’d definitely like to do (last time we were in SF we didn’t have time). Ben would definitely make us bike back once he saw the queue line haha, I’ve never met anyone as bad at standing in lines as he is!
    Looks like a great trip!

    Susie | http://milehighdreamers.com

  3. Last month, we were only in Yosemite for one day, so definitely we would need more than one day to explore all of Yosemite and its neighboring spots like Tuolumne and Stanislaus. We didn’t have a chance to head to Mono Lake. I would have loved to hike up the trails when we were there, but we have senior citizens (parents) with us who no longer have much strength to hike anymore, so we stayed. One of my wishes while visiting Yosemite is to climb at the top of the Half Dome and view the entire valley and, like you mentioned, feel like you own the entire world.

    Anything related to the Golden Gate Bridge is always pricey. There are trails around the bay in which you can even appreciate a lot of the bay’s natural wonders, including the fauna (aside from seagulls). Before, my dad, brother, and I would often ride bikes at the neighborhood trails leading to the shores of the bay and have a grander view of San Francisco and the Peninsula cities right across from our view and then ride back. And they’re free. 🙂

    Glad to see you had a wonderful time here. You’re always welcome to return!

  4. Whoa the views here are so amazing! I didn’t know you could bike along the San Francisco bridge. Now I can add that to my bucket list alongside all those other tourists, haha.


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