Friday, August 4, 2017

California Road Trip: 48 Hours in Yosemite!

I've never been shy about sharing my love for Yosemite National Park. When asked my favorite national park, Yosemite is my answer. That's high praise from someone who had only been there once. But my trip there 15 years ago, with kids in tow, was so memorable - we climbed the mist trail, slept in (the then) Curry Village, saw a mama bear and her cubs and swam in a swimming pool underneath a granite bolder - that I couldn't imagine it being any better.


The money shot


For our Northern California road trip last fall, I wanted to include Yosemite. I know it's hard to get to, and that the waterfalls wouldn't be flowing at that time of year but I felt like I would be closer than at any other time so I had to make it work.

Day One
The rain started about an hour away from Yosemite. And it didn't stop for the entire day. On the bright side, the waterfalls were really flowing. We visited a few of the falls - getting soaked to the skin - watched the movie at the visitor center, ate pizza at the Curry Village snack bar (actually the only place we found open), and did the Yosemite drive loop. We had hoped to do the Tioga Road up to the Pass but it was closed. Womp, womp. So by late afternoon I felt we had made the most of the very rainy day and we were ready to call it a day. 


Couldn't keep the raindrops off the camer
















Day Two The next day dawned bright and sunny. We did a short hike in the Tuolumne Grove to see the giant trees - Mariposa Grove was closed - and headed straight to Tunnel View after that. And wow, it didn't disappoint. I think it may be one of the prettiest views around. Then we drove into the valley for quite different views from the day before. A picnic lunch at the bottom of El Capitan - what a spot to picnic! - came next. We heard that Tioga Road was open again so wasting no time we drove up it. More killer views - I'm so glad it was safe to open the road again - I would've hated to miss that! 




Yosemite chapel




I could've just pulled a chair up and sat here all day




Clouds are rolling in





In my happy place





So that was our two days in Yosemite. Too short - as with all travels, especially road trips - and always the promise to return. And the $64,000 question - is Yosemite still my favorite national park? Yes! In retrospect, it was awesome to see the park in the rain - and take in it's moodiness - and then the next day in the sunshine. It was a good visit.

Where we stayed

I usually plan my travel way far in advance. But this trip was a bit more last minute. By the time we looked at places to stay in the park, most of them were booked - except Curry Village and all they had available were non-heated tent cabins. I've stayed in Curry Village in June and it was quite cold at night so I thought we would be really cold in October. There is a new(ish) Lodge - Tenaya Lodge - which looks very nice but the price was high for just rolling in and sleeping and heading out again the next morning. So we booked a camping cabin at Yosemite Pines which is a commercial campground about an hour from the west entrance to the park. We thought we could sit on the front porch and enjoy the outdoors with a picnic dinner. Unfortunately, the rain put a damper on that. This cabin was sufficient - though very tiny - with a fridge/microwave, bunk beds and a double and a teeny, tiny bathroom. But that's really all we needed. I would say though that I was glad it was only for a night. I'm not sure how well it would go for longer than that.

How about you? Where is your favorite national park? Have you been to Yosemite? Have you stayed at Tenaya Lodge?


This post is part of a link-up with: Travel Photo Thursday at Budget Travelers Sandbox, The Weekend Wanderlust Travel Blog Party,Weekend Travel Inspiration at Reflections Enroute and The Weekly Postcard at Travel Notes and Beyond!









22 comments:

  1. Yosemite is my favorite park too (and I have been there once but it is enough). Funny since we have a new boss which relocated from Virginia. We told him he has to visit Yosemite and his reply was: "What is that?" We couldn't believe he didn't know about the park. #TPThursday

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    1. Gah...how could he not know Yosemite? Maybe he's not into visiting National Parks - any of them - at all?! Thanks for visiting, Ruth!

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  2. We visited California and Yosemite for the 1st time in May and yes, I can definitely say it's a favorite. I'm still partial to my Great Smokey National Park, but not by much!! We had threw small kids with us and, unfortunately, Tolumne wasn't opened yet so another adult trip is definitely on my radar.

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    1. I hope you make it for your adult trip when Tuolumne is open! I think Yosemite is always worthy of a return visit - mine just took longer than I wanted! Thanks for visiting, Amanda!

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  3. We visited Yosemite a few years ago for a friend's birthday celebration and stayed at the Wawona lodge. It was during a fire, so instead of rain falling from the sky it was ash... a very strange time to visit. #theweeklypostcard

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    1. What a great birthday celebration - except for the fire and ash, of course! That would be a unique time to visit! Thanks for visiting, Hilary!

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  4. In answer to your question, yes we've been to Yosemite and it also has a special place in our memories. The squirrels, deer and the huge boulders are what I remember the most. My children had never seen a squirrel before that trip.

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    1. I'm glad you made it to Yosemite and have good memories of it! Thanks for visiting The Unpaved Road!

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  5. I did a day trip to Yosemite National Park a few years ago on a trip to the US. It was a magical day and we vowed to return to see more. I would say my favourite National Park in Australia is Torndirrup National Park in South West Australia. The scenery here, although lacking waterfalls and tall mountains, is stunning.

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    1. I've not been to Australia but my daughter visited the Blue Mountains National Park and Royal National Park and her photos were stunning. Maybe someday! Thanks for visiting, Kathy!

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  6. Wow you went when the water was really flowing! When we went it was Decemeber and cold and the falls weren't very large. Thanks for linking up with #TheWeeklyPostcard!
    (www.caliglobetrotter.com)

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    1. I'd love to see the park in the winter! I'm sure it's beautiful in all seasons though! Thanks for visiting, Lori!

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  7. Wonderful photos! And the best things in life are ALWAYS on unpaved roads!

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    1. Thank you! And the blog was named by a friend of mine after we had two adventures on unpaved roads - so I thank her for that! Thanks for visiting, Melinda!

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  8. It's been a long time since I've been to Yosemite. Your post and beautiful pictures reminded me what a great park this is. Thank you for joining us for #TheWeeklyPostcard

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    1. Thanks for hosting the link-up - and for visiting The Unpaved Road!

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  9. What a shame about the rain on Day 1, although it looks like Day 2 well and truly made up for it. We visited Yosemite many years ago with our boys and loved it. I think it might have been the first US National Park we ever went to.

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    1. We did ok on Day 1 but you're right - Day 2 well and truly made up for it. Another good visit in the books! Thanks for visiting, Lyn!

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  10. So beautiful. I haven't gotten up there yet but really need to take some time off of work and make the drive up. #TheWeeklyPostcard

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    1. Hope you make it - it's not easy to get to but well worth it!

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  11. What a wonderful adventure in Yosemite. The views are amazing and I can see why thats you happy place. Thanks for sharing 😃 #WeekendWanderlust

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    1. Thank you - and thanks for visiting The Unpaved Road!

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