Saturday, June 11, 2011


Yosemite is one of the most unreal places in the world.  You're driving through small towns of California - like Oakhurst & Fish Camp - enjoying the piney forests and small town quirks, and even as you reach the entrance to Yosemite the surroundings are still rather unassuming.  But then as you continue on toward Yosemite Valley, it suddenly changes.  And once you reach the other side of the tunnel, you understand what the hype is all about.  It is breathtaking.

Before driving down to the valley, we stopped at the Mariposa Grove and walked the trails to view the Sequoias.

Jared next to a fallen Sequoia

It may not look too crazy here...
but look at Jared in the next photo

It is HUGE

Campsite #1 that night
After hiking around for a bit and having dinner... we decided to just camp in the parking lot for the night.  All of the campsites in the park were full and any towns near the park didn't look too promising. We didn't see any signs in the parking lot that showed no overnight parking, so we thought we were okay. (I will admit that the "rule-follower" in me was a little nervous about getting in trouble - but by that time I was tired enough to not care.)  Once it got dark we started watching a movie and getting settled for the night... and then there was a knock at the door by the ranger.  He said he was going to lock the gates and we weren't allowed to park there.  Luckily he directed us to a lot not far from the entrance of the park and we camped there for the night.  Another free night

Campsite #2 that night
 The next morning we woke early to drive down to Yosemite Valley and hopefully get a campsite for that night (they get full at least 3 months in advance - our advice, plan ahead with reservations if you're headed to Yosemite).  After passing through the tunnel, this was our view of the valley.....

Yosemite Valley
El Capitan on the right and
Half Dome in the distance covered by clouds
I was sick at this point -
as if the picture doesn't make that completely apparent
See the brown spot in the middle....
that's a bear we saw from the road on the drive 
One of the falls...
let's say it was Bridal Veil, since I can't remember for sure
I'm childishly amused by burning sticks in the campfire ...
and Jared humors me with pictures
Once we reached the valley, we both had some work to do.  We put our name on the waiting list for a campsite and then worked in the RV while we waited to hear about a spot for the night.  Luckily we got a spot, so we set up camp around 4.  Oh, the great thing about taking an RV camping is that setting up camp involves putting the RV in park... and that's about it when you don't have water/electrical hook-ups.
I'm a big fan.

Notice the huge rock face in the background
 this valley is spectacular!
 Although we were happy to get a campsite for the night, we were sad to learn that the hike to Half Dome was closed.  There was still snow and ice at the top, so the cables aren't even set up yet.  The ranger let us know that ice + granite = death.  Always a good thing to remember.
Since we were initially worried we might not get to hike it since the permits were sold out when we tried about 2 months ago, we felt a little better knowing it was totally out of our hands at that point. But we mostly felt sad the Yosemite portion of the trip wasn't going as planned.  I was sick and feeling rather miserable - coughing and blowing my nose every 5 seconds.  And don't let the sunny skies fool you, the weather was cold... in the 40's during the day. :(  
Nearly everywhere we've gone so far we've heard, "the weather is unusually cool for this time of year."
I'm still really glad we went and look forward to going back sometime... when it's warm, the snow is gone and I'm not sick. 

El Capitan - revered among rock climbers
Our parting view of the valley


  1. What a great trip! Yosemite is amazing---I still remember seeing those big trees when my parents took us through Yosemite on our way to Oregon when I was about 4----that's a very long time ago.