Hey beautiful souls!
Yesterday was so amazing on the coast; I feel like it’s going to be hard to top it but what better place to challenge that than Yosemite National Park! It’s not pronounced yoze-ah-myte…it’s yo-sem-it-tee! Today is a scary day for me because the forecast was calling for 30-50mm of rain a few days ago which could potentially ruin my plans. Currently it is showing 2-4 mm of rain so I am just prepared for a wet day. I did tons of research for today. Some roads are closed which may change things but I am going to stop at the Visitor’s Centre and get the scoop before I start driving through the mountains. It was also very helpful talking to my roomie last night at my Airbnb who actually works at Yosemite!!! She told me the scoop on all the current road conditions. One thing that is very important to know about these National Parks in the Sierras is that winter driving can be a hinderance to seeing what you want to see. It snows so much here…this year specifically is the most snow they’ve had in a very long time. Some roads won’t be open until June! There are a couple of things that I wanted to do but can’t at this time of the year (such as Glacier Point!). Also, check the road conditions website before you go and see if snow chains are required for your visit. There are some roads that you cannot drive without them and some that you are required to have snow chains just in your vehicle in case you need them (even if you have winter tires, 4×4 or AWD). I checked before I left and they are not required currently which is great. I know that for rental cars, your insurance is voided if you put chains on your tires so I’m glad I didn’t have to worry about that today. I didn’t look into it too much but I do know that there is a shuttle bus service around the park if you don’t want to drive and/or find parking everywhere. I however enjoy the freedom of my own vehicle! Here is my driving plan for today… it’s only about five hours minus stops and hikes. The shortest driving day for me yet!
I gassed up and grabbed some breakfast (free at my Airbnb) and hit the road. Today is going to be amazing! The mountains make me so happy. I keep thinking that three days ago I was in the desert, yesterday by the ocean and today I’m driving up mountains. California is fabulous.The drive was absolutely gorgeous. Everything is so green at this time of year! The drive in was really slow due to a lot of construction. I think there were some rock slides and potential flooding to some of the roads so a couple one way traffic lights were set up. I cannot believe how many waterfalls there are around every corner! I am in heaven.
The first big stop was Bridal Veil Falls. It was SO misty. I got soaked. It was so worth it though. I wish I had an umbrella with me but a baseball cap and a windbreaker did the trick. It was a quick uphill walk to the viewing point. I had to keep wiping off the lens of my phone so there were no water spots.
The next stop is Tunnel View. It’s breathtaking. This is my favourite view in the whole park I think. You can see Bridal Veil falls (where I just was), El Capitan (a huge mountain that people rock climb often) and Half Dome. Everyone visiting the park seemed to be here! It was so busy and impossible to take a picture without anyone else in it. I stood for about 10 minutes and took in the view and spied another girl travelling alone. I asked if she wanted me to take her picture then rooked her into taking mine after :D. Secrets of the trade! Tell me this isn’t one of the most fantastic views you’ve seen. It’s a million times better in person.
I kept driving around and got some more good shots of El Capitan and a waterfall that I cannot for the life of me figure out the name of. I feel like it’s Lower Yosemite Falls but I could be wrong (sorry!)
I got a little ‘blah’ feeling. I don’t know how to explain it considering the beauty I was surrounded with. I was trying to explain it on the phone with my mom tonight. I had seen basically everything that was on my list already and it was only about 1:00. It started to rain and I all of a sudden got cell service so I literally sat in my car for about an hour and just turned my brain off and browsed social media while being in a bad mood. I think I was tired plus annoyed with all the people and also exhausted from the long days I’ve been stretching out. Can anyone else relate!? I guess we all need some down time every once in awhile. I decided to wait on my hike for now and go find some food and a beer. I found the Majestic Yosemite Hotel (previously called the Ahwahnee- the fanciest hotel in Yosemite. It was super cool actually! Here are some cool facts I researched about it today. It was built in 1927! It was renamed in 2016 due to some issue with the US government. The inside of the hotel inspired the movie The Shining. I wouldn’t know because I won’t watch scary movies! The Queen has been here as well as JFK, Reagan, and Obama to name a few. I heard a little girl saying that Abraham Lincoln visited here but I looked it up and he died in 1865. Go back to school, kid! 😛 Okay enough with boring you. This is the beautiful hotel and my delicious beer- Hazy Little Thing IPA by Sierra Nevada. Highly recommend.
My final stop of the day was the trail to Lower Yosemite Falls. Walking up the trail you could see the Lower AND Upper Falls and it was SO beautiful. Even with the rain, I was just loving it. My mood improved immensely with that delicious drink. It was another quick and easy hike. Side note- these aren’t really hikes, like I have just been wearing runners. I haven’t needed to take out my hiking boots yet although on the way back from this trail I figured I should have switched just for the waterproof feature!
I left the park then headed to my stop for the night near tomorrow’s destination- Sequoia National Park. It was about a three hour drive since leaving the park took forever. The road was so loopy and slow but at least the misty views were gorgeous. My Airbnb is very cute (and cheap- only $47 CAD for the night). The hostess is so adorably nice. She gave me a big hug and made her son play his guitar for me before I hid in my room to sleep all night. I’ve been super lucky with cheap accommodations so far this week!
I am so grateful I am on this trip! I didn’t realize how easy solo travel would be. I’m sure going to a foreign country is a lot different but I’m totally open to it in the future. I hope you are enjoying following along on my trip!