Sunday, June 26, 2016

Travel Diary: Yosemite

Taft Point.

The first weekend in June, we took a quick trip to Yosemite.  We arrived on Thursday, and headed home on Sunday afternoon.  It was a weekend full of sun (it was in the 90s), hiking and millions of mosquito bites.

Day 1: Whit's car left early morning in order to get in some bouldering at historic Camp 4.  Mal and photographer Rene worked a half-day, so missed out on the climbing but arrived in time to check out lower Yosemite Falls. If you aren't much of a hiker, Lower Yosemite Falls is is an impressive waterfall that you can view via a 0.5 mile paved walkway that is wheelchair-accessible.

Day 2: It is high season in Yosemite, so we wanted to wake up early to get on the trails before they got too crowded.  We had originally hoped to do Half Dome, but were unable to get permits :(.  Instead we hiked the Mist Trail up to Vernal Falls and Nevada Falls.  The mist is NO JOKE.  We saw a couple people putting on ponchos and we thought they were being lightweights.  But then we got completely drenched (karma).

First leg of the mist trail.

Vernal Falls.

When we got to the second leg of the trail (after the first stop of Vernal Falls), we missed the mist.  It was just straight-up granite stairs that were excellent and reflecting the sunlight to make us hot.

Once we got to the top of Nevada Falls, we had an amazing view of the valley framed with rainbows in the mist of the trail.

At Nevada Falls.

In the evening, we went searching for Artist Point to catch the sunset.  The trailhead is located next to Tunnel View.  This is part of Yosemite's wilderness area, and is not as well-travelled as most of the other trails.  After our lack of a detailed map and no signage, we ended up walking up to Inspiration Point instead.  The view is similar to Tunnel View, but without the crowds.  We missed the golden hour, but the view was still pretty great (it's hard to get a bad view of Yosemite). This is also where we got the majority of our mosquito bites. Like eaten alive. Through our leggings.

Inspiration Point.

Day 3: We were fluctuating between 4 Mile Trail and Taft Point, and finally decided on Taft Point and Sentinel Dome.  We were originally unsure because Yosemite Hikes said that Taft Point was only a 4 Star view...which is WRONG. We are so glad we did this hike.   There are so many great things about this hike:
1. It goes through the trees (there was even some snow left) which provided some welcome shade.
2. It is relatively flat, making it a nice, casual hike.
3. The view is 5 STARS.

Taft point.

View of Yosemite Falls from Taft Point.

Once you get out to Taft Point, it is full of rocky outcroppings that will give you vertigo if you look over the edge. It is a different view of the Valley then you normally see, which was refreshing.  

Another cool thing about Taft point is the Highliners.  We were lucky enough to arrive right in time to see one do his first walk after setting up.  He made it all the way across on his first try (which he said he never does!).

After Taft Point, we continued on to Sentinel Dome. Sentinel Dome was a nice place to sit and take a break, there was nice breeze and panoramic views.  

On Sentinel Dome with a view of Half Dome in the back.

View of Yosemite Falls from Sentinel Dome.

In the evening, we drove up to Glacier Point (another accessible, no-hike view). FYI there is only pit toilets here, which are VERY well-used. Gross, but is important to be aware of beforehand.  We treated ourselves to popsicles here from the store here (okay, two popsicles each :x).  It is also very crowded here, but the view is pretty spectacular, especially during sunset!

View of Half Dome at Glacier Point.

Day 4: After breakfast, Whit went bouldering, while Mal and Rene went to check out Tuolumne Meadows and Tenaya Lake

Tenaya Lake was refreshingly less crowded than the rest of the places we visited.  The bottom of the lake is granite, so you could easily wade out into the water. 
Tenaya Lake.

We wanted to walk along the trail, but the water was waist-high across the stepping stones so we had to pass. 
Tenaya Lake trail.

The snow is still melting, so Tuolumne Meadows had water snaking through.  If you look at the photo below, you can see all the cars parked on the right hand side to view the meadows.

Tuolumne Meadows.

Some notes about lodging: We stayed at the North Pines Campground. Whit reserved it months in advance, and even then it was almost full.  The campground was centrally located, and the bathrooms were cleaned daily.  There are no showers on site, so you actually have to go to another site and pay $5/shower (pricey, even considering that they give you soap and a towel.)

1 comment:

  1. Wow, soooo beautiful! I would love to do that one day. need to add it to my list of trips.
    And loving all your looks! Perfect for a weekend exploring!