Storytime + Tips
I've been seeing and saving photos of Yosemite for the longest time, waiting and wishing to make a trip up there to see it all in person. Oh my gosh, has the wait been worth it. I just got back home from my 4-day trip to Yosemite and I'm still drooling over the majestic scenery.
Day 1: Welcome to Yosemite!
My mom and I drove from San Carlos to Yosemite, entering the park on HWY 41. We opted to stay in Fishcamp (a place we initially thought would be a good idea, but soon turned into a bad idea. More details in a second.) Fishcamp is located 50 minutes south from The Valley. We stayed in a little one bedroom, one bathroom house tucked away in the woods. The fridge didn't work and the place was overall a bit grungy. But, we sucked it up. We had each other and we were surrounded by pine trees, fresh air, and a quiet atmosphere. We enjoyed our time together as we basked in the sun on the deck, drinking our mango black tea.
After unpacking and relaxing a bit, I told my mom I needed to go to Glacier Point at sunset for obvious reasons (it's magnificent!) We ate our dinner and hopped in the car for a 50 minute drive to Glacier Point. Now remember when I said it was a bad idea staying so far away outside The Valley? Heres why:
If you get car sick or you're a sensitive person, the drive to Glacier Point or to The Valley from Fishcamp is a non-stop winding road for 50 (or 90 minutes.) Getting sick in the pitch black forest with no phone service and only one way out is a scenario that could potentially happen to you, so be warned.
If you feel like you can conquer the road, go to Glacier Point at sunset. It wasn't hard to find a spot to park and it wasn't hard to find a place to use the restroom as the parking lot is lined with them. Walking up the path, a magnificent view of Half Dome is revealed before your eyes. It will give you chills and make you weak in the knees. I have never witnessed such an incredible view in my entire life. It made me feel so small and insignificant. I got lost in it's beauty.
Day 2: The Valley
After driving back from Glacier Point after sunset, we made an immediate decision to book two nights in The Valley to save ourselves from that winding drive. We got lucky and were able to book a place at the Yosemite Valley Lodge.
We spent the second day (late afternoon) getting situated in our room and with our surroundings. We explored a bit around the meadow behind our room (between Yosemite Valley Lodge and the Merced River.) We also admired Yosemite Falls every time we walked outside of our room.
For Starters - Where We Ate:
-Yosemite Valley Food Court: The food is good, not great. I opted for the veggie burger and the regular cheese burger for lunches. In the mornings, I got the Basecamp Breakfast which included eggs, toast, potatoes and sausage or bacon.
Rating: 3 out of 5
-The Mountain Room Restaurant: Excellent food! Do yourself a favor and order the salmon with whipped potatoes and beefsteak tomatoes (or woodland mushrooms.) You won't be disappointed! I had this both nights for dinner and left with a smile on my face and a happy tummy.
Rating: 5 out of 5
Half Dome from the Meadow:
At night, my mom accompanied me as I watched the sunset hit Half Dome from the meadow. I came here because I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to practice my starry night photography. It was so special, while we were sitting in the grass, a momma dear came right up to us, about 3 feet away! All I have is a low-quality iPhone photo, but I just have to show you!
As the sun began the set, the bats began to fly above our heads. They were so small and cute. It was really exciting seeing so many and hearing them all chirp to one another.
Finally, the sun set and it was time to snap some pictures. Bare with me, I'm still such a beginner at this whole "photography" thing. If you have any pointers for night photography, send em over to me. In the mean time, here's a pic I snapped.
Day 3: The Longest Day
I woke up at 5:30am, right before sunset, because I wanted to experience the meadow with no one else in sight.
Protip: Wake up EARLY to start your day to avoid the heavy tourist traffic. Trust me, don't let a few yawns get in your way of this.
Infamous Yosemite Instagram Picture:
I also woke up early because I wanted to stag the infamous Instagram Yosemite picture, let's be real. This path is located in the meadow I've been talking about.
Around 9:00am, my mom and I were on the shuttle to Mirror Lake. It was a little busy by this time, believe it or not. By the end of our shuttle ride, the shuttle was completely full of people. Anyway, I'd seen photos of Mirror Lake and I was really excited to see it in person. It's a very easy 1-mile hike to the lake. However, the lake was really low and didn't quite amount to the photos I had seen. None the less, it was still beautiful. Unfortunately, my photos weren't good so I don't have one to show you guys!
Lower Yosemite Falls:
After our hike, we ate and walked to Lower Yosemite Falls. It's about a 10 minute easy walk from the Yosemite Valley Food Court to the lower falls. The path leads you right to the falls, so close you can feel the mist on your face. You can even play in the water running down from the falls. Keep in mind, it is incredibly packed with people in the afternoon. My best advice is be patient with everyone - people will walk in your way and walk in front of your photo and wander aimlessly in front of you.
After we return back to the room around 3pm, I hit the hay and took a very long nap.
Right before sunset, I drove up to Tunnel View. I hit sunset a little late, so be sure to leave about 40 minutes before sunset to get there in time. It's about a 20 minute drive from The Valley. It's a truly spectacular view and it wasn't too crowded.
Day 4: Time to Say Good-Bye!
Our trip has come to an end and it has been such a lovely experience. We packed the car bright and early in the morning in order to get out of the park before everyone else. With this trip, my love and appreciation for nature deepens. I'm still constantly thinking of that view from Glacier Point and the intense feeling it gave me as I peaked over the cliff into the valley. Thank you Yosemite.
Last minute tips:
- bring bug repellent spray!
- pack lots of water bottles and keep them all full! We had 3 that we always kept full.
- because you're at altitude, you will feel more fatigued. stay hydrated!