Friday, August 23, 2013

Yosemite National Park, CA

So, Yosemite...

We arrived at Yosemite just as the last bit of daylight disappeared, and we knew we were in trouble. We had been warned that when it comes to camping in Yosemite, no reservations means you might end up with nowhere to sleep.

For the next two hours, in the dark, we played a game called let's drive around as many campgrounds as possible just for all of them to say "at capacity". It wasn't a fun game, in case you're wondering. Throughout this process we spoke with some rangers and fellow campers and the general consensus seemed to be that we should pull off to the side of the road and set up our tent for the night. In certain areas you're allowed to do this, as long as you follow a few rules and are a specified distance from the road. The downside to this was the lack of toilets and, in my opinion, increased risk of a visiting bear since we'd be in a less-developed area.

We decided to check out just one more campground and were lucky enough to snag one of the two last sites. A woman named Tricia pulled in right behind us and we realized she'd been following us in and out of campgrounds, on the same mission. We decided to share one site amongst the three of us, leaving that last spot open for one more fortunate camper. After a quick feast of Trader Joe's snacks, we all retreated to bed, then lingered over an oatmeal and coffee breakfast the next morning as we shared travel stories -- it definitely turned out to be a great night.
For a brief part of that next morning, we drove through campgrounds in an attempt to snag any freed-up non-reservation campsites. We seemed to get too late of a start for this to be successful, so we decided to cut our losses and just enjoy one day in Yosemite, rather than staying for additional nights.

We set off to hike to a "secret waterfall" that we had read about, and after an easy 2 mile-ish hike we found ourselves at a secluded waterfall - it felt like a scene out of the Bachelorette. We stayed there, enjoying the crisp, chilly water for a while, and there were only a handful of other hikers that came to the area while we were there. Pure bliss!

Next up on our one-day tour of Yosemite was a drive through the Valley, for a good look at El Capitan and the surrounding meadows. As we made our way through the heart of the Village, I was amazed at the amount of lodging, the full-blown grocery store, and the banking center. Compared to villages we'd visited in other National Parks, this one definitely seemed to be the most city-like of them all.


Find more National Park posts here and more California posts here.

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