Yosemite was one of the most beautiful parks that I have ever been to.
Beautiful…and very, very crowded. Upon our arrival, we experienced traffic like you wouldn’t believe. Similar to New Jersey, but with one-way roads and pullouts overflowed into traffic.
“Want to check out that cool waterfall?”
“Well you can’t because thirty other people are doing the same thing.”
“Can we reserve a spot at that campground?”
“No. People start lining up at 2AM in the morning to claim a spot.”
I guess I shouldn’t be surprised considering summer is tourist season.
Our saving grace was bunking with one of Mike’s photography friends at a reservation-only tented area. We were planning to stay at the Housekeeping campground, but our private tent been flooded by all of the snow. Instead, we moved to Half Dome Village (a tourist’s parking nightmare). This place had absolutely NO parking available, which was great news for people trying to unpack in the middle of the day. So we were forced to park illegally until an actual spot was available.
Eventually, we made our way out of that hell hole and drove to Tunnel View. There you could see El Capitan, Half Dome and Bridalveil Falls. The landscape trifecta!
Sunset took place at Glacier Point, the best way to see Half Dome without having to climb it.
Plenty of spots to sit and meditate. Also a great place to take a thoughtful Instagram photo.
The following day, I opted to take the bus to Yosemite Falls. The car would remain at the Half Dome tents for as long as humanly possible.
We hiked the Lower Falls Trail with zero intention of participating in anything too strenuous. I enjoyed exploring the trail with all its tall trees, small streams, and level ground. Since that seemed easy, we decided to see what the Upper Falls Trail had in store.
The hike was fine at the beginning. It had a steep incline but it wasn’t new to us. As time passed, we decided to ask passersby how long it was to the top. We heard mixed reviews from people saying anywhere from 1 to 3 hours. I remained hopeful, not wanting to be the buzz kill, but on the inside, I was ready to roll back down the mountain.
Throughout the 3 hour hike to the top, we each played the “I can keep going, but we can do whatever you want to do” card. I think we were hoping that one of us would be the bad guy in the decision-making. The farther we went, however, the more I realized that it would be a waste to turn back at that point. So we continued our long, 5 hour journey up and down the Upper Falls Trail.
It was miserable.
By the time we got to the bottom, it was 5 o’clock. Mike’s legs were dead and I was ready to fall over. As we left the park, the only two things on my mind were a shower and food. Our legs hurt for DAYS afterward.
Next up, Lake Tahoe!