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28 Feb 2020

California Adventures: A Magical Time In Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park

If I could re-do our trip to California, the one thing I’d change would be to spend longer in Yosemite National Park. This place was unreal. UNREAL. Being there was like spending two days lost in a painting. 

We left San Francisco at the crack of dawn and travelled to Yosemite with the company Incredible Adventures who essentially drive you to the park and then pick you up again the next day (or the same day/day after, depending on how long you stay). They also booked our accommodation for us which was super handy as accommodation books up fast in Yosemite. 

Our first stop on our way into the park was Tunnel View. You guys. This. View. There aren’t many places where photos don’t even begin to do it justice but this is one of them. Seriously, it didn’t look real. We excitedly picked out some of the key sights; El Capitan, Half Dome, Bridalveil Falls – we were here. We had two days to soak up as much as Yosemite as possible and we were really going to try; this wasn’t a time for sitting still. 

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park

Once we’d driven into the heart of the park, we kicked off with Yosemite Falls as it was closest to our drop-off point. We did the Lower Yosemite Falls trail which is an easy one-mile loop and gives you spectacular views of the waterfall from the bottom; you can get right up close (and suitable sprayed). 

We then headed to a shuttle stop to get to Half Dome village and, honestly, I almost kept tripping over my own feet as I gazed open-mouthed at the beauty around us. It was stunning

We stayed in the Half Dome village in a tent cabin – camping with a real bed and door essentially. When we checked in, there was a half-hilarious, half-terrifying video of a bear breaking into a car which was essentially the park’s way of saying for heaven sake use the bear box. The bear box was a locked metal box outside the tent for all our food and toiletries (anything a bear could think was food) and, quite frankly, I was practically giddy at the thought of camping somewhere where there were real life bears. Probably not a normal reaction no? 

There was a toilet nearby and plenty of blankets for when the temperature dropped during the night. When you looked up, you could see these awe-inspiring granite cliffs towering above and you just felt tiny. I wouldn’t have wanted to stay anywhere else; I loved being in the heart of the park and feeling like we were sleeping outside.

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park

We spent the rest of the afternoon doing the Mirror Lake Trail. This was another easy, but longer, loop to Mirror Lake which does exactly what it says on the tin. The trail starts with a warning about entering mountain lion territory – again, I was seemingly weirdly excited about this prospect – and then takes you through the woods. The lake wasn’t as ‘mirror’ as we would have hoped, thanks to a breeze, but still extremely beautiful. On our way back, we saw a chipmunk and a deer wandering around seemingly unbothered by humans. Sadly not a mountain lion or bear in sight.  

The Half Dome Village has a small food court so dinner was pizza sat outside and laughing at the cockiness of the squirrels and huge birds trying to steal food. When darkness descended, we made sure to step away from the torch lights and check out the night sky in the wilderness; the stars were incredible. 

The tent was cosy, although the blankets were a necessity in the middle of the night, and we were woken up by the sunlight streaming through the canvas the next morning. 

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park

Our plan for our second and final day in Yosemite was the Mist Trail; a five hour hike up into the mountains to Vernal Falls which is, quite literally, breathtaking. The hike is gorgeous but when you reach the bottom of the waterfall – oh my. We ascended up an extremely narrow and slippery path. We got absolutely drenched in the spray and there was a lot of concentration on not slipping and tumbling to certain death but all the rainbows peppered throughout the mist made the whole experience bloody glorious. The views at the top of the waterfall were stunning and the sight of a squirrel stealing an entire bag of apples from a woman’s bag almost just as entertaining.  

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park

By the time we got back down the mountain, we had just enough time to grab an ice cream and take a walk through the park back to our pick-up point. 

There was something mythical and magical about Yosemite. If you’re heading to California, do not miss it off your list. 

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park


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