Yosemite in two days

After Monterey, our next destination was a 3 hour detour from our coastal roadtrip inland, to the Yosemite National Park. When we were planning our trip we weren’t sure if we would have the time, but wow, we are so glad we managed to fit it in!

We arrived at the Yosemite Bug Youth Hostel on Sunday evening, which is about 30 miles from the park itself (and so about half the price), and in a beautiful spot in the woods. Monterey had been a bit chilly, so when we stepped out of the car into the 32 degree heat, it really hit us!

The Yosemite Bug Hostel

The Yosemite Bug Hostel

We hadn’t made any firm plans for what we wanted to see, but Sam kept mentioning an awesome 15 mile hike he had read about. I really wasn’t convinced until I read some of the reviews on the yosemitehikes website, and I had to agree that it sounded brilliant. One guy described it as ‘after you do the Panorama Trail your life will be broken into two parts; before the hike and after it’.

So, we made up our minds to do it straight away and got up at 5am the next day to try and avoid some of the heat.

We're going up where?

We’re going up where?

The first part was a trail called ‘The Four Mile Trail‘ which is actually nearly 5 miles and is all uphill. Starting at the valley floor, we walked steadily for about 3 hours, through beech and then alpine forests, on switchback after switchback. Once we got into the rhythm of it, it felt really good, and we only saw one other group of people the whole way up.

Keep on walking

Keep on walking

As we got higher and higher new vistas would appear around the corner, like Sentinal Dome and El Capitan, and our first look at the famous Half Dome was just incredible.

Sentinel Dome

Sentinel Dome

The views kept getting better and better

The views kept getting better and better

We turned the corner, and POW! Half Dome!

We turned the corner, and POW! Half Dome!

Half Dome and Yosemite Valley

Half Dome and Yosemite Valley

The end of our first trail was at the top of the peak, at Glacier Point, one of the famous look outs that you can also drive to. After stocking up on Gatorade and gummy bears at the shop, we looked at more spectacular views of the whole valley. The walk was definitely worth the payoff!

We made it tot the top selfie!

We made it tot the top selfie!

We then started on the next Trail, The Panorama Trail, which took us down to Illouette Falls and then up a ridge which had a detour to a fantastic view point of the valley, but no railings and a terrifyingly sheer drop, so I couldn’t spend too long there.

Sam gets too close to the edge at Panorama Point

Sam gets too close to the edge at Panorama Point

Getting up close to the wildlife on the Panorama Trail

Getting up close to the wildlife on the Panorama Trail

We climbed some more before dropping down to Nevada Falls for some sausage sandwiches and a paddle in the stream to cool off.

Nevada Falls

Nevada Falls

The Trail then took us down a really steep path on the Mist Trail to descend a seemingly endless steep stone staircase right next to the Vernal Falls, before finally, we hit the valley floor again.

Going down

Going down

I think the whole walk was about 15 miles and took us about 8 hours. We were pretty hot and sweaty by the end, but it was such a brilliant introduction to the park. We celebrated with a pint and a chicken burrito back at our hostel.

A well earned pint and burrito

A well earned pint and burrito

The next day my legs were a bit like jelly so we had a bit more of a leisurely start, before heading into the park via the south entrance in order to visit the giant sequoia trees.

The Grisly Giant Sequoia Tree

The Grisly Giant Sequoia Tree

A big ol tree

A big ol tree

The Mariposa Grove is home to some of the largest and oldest trees in the world and they are so gorgeous to walk around in. We did a nice loop around the grove to see some of the star attractions and after a few miles it got nice and crowd-free, and the Forest became wonderfully peaceful.

Peace and quiet in the trees

Peace and quiet in the trees

On the drive back to the valley we stopped at the tunnel viewpoint for some more pictures (I think we managed nearly 300 in two days here!) and then the Bridalveil Falls, which, along with Yosemite Falls, aren’t at their best in the summer as they are nearly completely dry. Never mind, we’ll just have to come back in the spring when the snow melt makes them a spectacular sight.

The vista from Tunnelview

The vista from Tunnelview

Bridalveil Falls, almost completely dry because it's summer

Bridalveil Falls, almost completely dry because it’s summer

After visiting the museum and gift shop in the village we headed out of the park, via a completely isolated bit of the river for a swim!

Cooling off in the river

Cooling off in the river

Yosemite has been one of our absolutely top favourite things we have done this year. And it’s been a pretty awesome year! It is so stunning, and even with the summer-time crowds we could easily get away into the seeming wilderness with a few lovely walks. I’d definitely love to visit Yosemite again.

I LOVE YOSEMITE!!

I LOVE YOSEMITE!!

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