Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Introducing Travel Tuesdays: Yosemite National Park - Part I

Ronnie and I absolutely love to travel.  We are always planning some sort of getaway, and gladly spend our hard-earned money on a trip to somewhere new.  Last month we boarded a plane for San Francisco to visit my sister, Katie, and her husband, Christian.   They moved to SF from NYC last summer, and while I'm sad they live so far away, I love going to visit them!  We had 3 very exciting stops on the itinerary: San Francisco, Yosemite National Park, and Wine Country.  Katie, Christian, Ronnie and I spent 3 nights at Yosemite.  Here is the recap of our amazing time there!

Trout House
We decided to rent a cabin 10 minutes from the entrance to Yosemite.  The cabin was beautiful and really affordable.  There were only four of us, but the house sleeps 10 so it would be perfect for a larger group.  When we pulled up to the house, we were greeted by Alan the peacock!

Isn't he amazing?  Apparently Alan has lived on the property for years, and likes to greet guests as they arrive!  Anyway, the cabin was perfect.  Very rustic, complete with a deck, grill, hot tub, and fully stocked kitchen.  After we settled in and unpacked, we headed off for our first hike!

Lower Yosemite Falls
Our first "hike" was really more of a walk.  It was late in the afternoon, and we had been driving for about 4 hours, so we planned on driving into the park and doing a quick 1.5 mile loop to see Lower Yosemite Falls.  The drive through Yosemite was absolutely breathtaking!  It was a great preview for the spectacular views we would see during our time there.  We parked at the Yosemite Valley Lodge, and headed out for our hike.  Yosemite falls is an incredible waterfall.  Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls, as well as the middle cascades, combine to make the largest waterfall in the United States at 2,425ft!  The Upper Yosemite Falls hike is about 7 miles round trip.  We skipped that because it was already 6:00pm, and we had a big day of hiking ahead of us tomorrow.  It was the perfect warm-up for our trip, and it was an amazing site to see.

The Panorama Trail
 The next day we woke up early, ate a hearty breakfast, packed up our backpacks, and  headed back to Yosemite Valley Lodge for a big day of hiking.  The Panorama trail is a 8.5 mile decent from Glacier Point to Yosemite Valley.  We made a few detours to see some sites along the way, and ended up making it a nice 10 mile hike. 

We boarded a tour bus at 8:30am which drove us up to Glacier Point.  We heard all about the history of Yosemite National Park from our guide.  When we arrived a Glacier Point we were greeted by some truly amazing views.

We took some great photos from Glacier Point, made one last bathroom stop, and then we were off!  

The hike started out very smoothly.  It was not very steep, just a gradual downhill decent.  We saw beautiful views of Illilouette Falls, and enjoyed each others' company.  

Then, the uphill portion began!  About 2 miles of the Panorama Trail is uphill.  It was a great work out, but there was definitely a lot less talk and more action at this point.  We regrouped after the uphill climb, then carried on all the way to Nevada Falls.

Nevada Falls was an amazing site to see!  It's hard to believe that all that water comes from snow melt, and that the falls are completely dry by the end of the summer!  Nevada Falls was the perfect place to stop for lunch, and to soak our tired feet.

After lunch, feeling fully rejuvenated, we started the very steep decent to Vernal Falls (of course, stopping for one last shot of Nevada, first!)

The steep portion started out like this:

and we thought it would stay this steep for a mile or so and then even off.  Ha!  The trail got much, much steeper.  So much so that I put the camera away and focused on not taking a digger down the mountain!  You know those people who claim that hiking downhill is harder than hiking uphill?  This must be what they're talking about.  The next few miles to Vernal Falls were tough, but worth it.  

Vernal is yet another incredible waterfall at Yosemite whose water comes completely from melted snow.  After Vernal we finished the 1.5 miles through the Mist Trail to Yosemite Valley.  

 On this hot day, the Mist Trail felt fantastic.  We got completely soaked!  The only downside is the trail continues to be very steep.  Steep trail + slippery wet rocks = disaster waiting to happen!  It was a little hairy for a while, but we all managed to stay on our own two feet for the rest of the hike.  

Phew!  After that incredible journey we couldn't wait to get back to Trout House and chow down!  Tune in next week for the rest of our Yosemite National Park Highlights: Taft Point and Mariposa Grove.

1 comment:

  1. Ah, gorgeous pictures! This is already on my list of places I want to go but it just went up fast! Also, hiking downhill is totally harder for me haha, my knees hate downhill!