Last week, I spent the majority of my time hiking around Yosemite Valley and though it’s not the type of vacation that’s filled with ice cream cones and colorful walls (like this trip) it was completely amazing. I don’t talk about it much here, but growing up we would do outdoor family excursions pretty frequently. And it was really nice to be back in Yosemite for a few days to remind myself that there is more to this world than typing away on the computer.
This trip was different than any one Jeff and I had taken there before because we stayed at one of the lodges… Jeff had a conference to attend (yep, a tech related conference inside a national park), so I tagged along. And I had plenty of time to wander around on my own and take pictures, in between group activities.
But I’m getting ahead of myself because before we even made it to the park, we started taking pictures. The scenery was too good to pass up. We stopped in Copperopolis (yep, that’s a real city) to hang out in the wheat fields for a little bit. The sound of the wind going through the grass was pretty awesome. Definitely got me excited about the trip to come.
A couple hours and some very steep terrain later, and we were in Yosemite. I fell asleep in the car (like I always do), but Jeff stopped to take a picture of the sign as we came in.
We pretty much hit the ground running from the get-go. But rather than give you the play by play, I thought it would be better to give a few recommendations for things to do and see instead.
So, if you’re headed to Yosemite in the future, here are a handful of things I’d recommend. There are plenty more things, but it’s too many to list, so here’s a handful to get you started…
Glacier Point – You can see the whole valley floor from this spot and it’s seriously amazing!
Hiking along the Merced River – There are plenty of trails along the river and it’s an easy walk, which you can cross over and head to El Capitan. You can also do some rafting on the river. I think in the spring it’s only open for that kind of thing on the weekends though.
Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls – This last trip we just did the lower and it was super easy and fun. There’s a trail off the beaten path, left of the bridge, where you can climb up closer to the falls. There was no one else there when we went, so it felt like a little secret spot. So fun.
Vernal Falls – We didn’t do this on this particular trip, but I’ve been twice on past trips and it is definitely worth it.
Ahwahnee Hotel – My dad recommended Jeff and I visit, but I didn’t think much of it. We ended up having some extra time, so we checked it out…If you like colorful Persian and kilim rugs along with giant fireplaces (like ten people could stand inside them fireplaces), definitely check this place out. It’s pretty pricey to stay there, so I recommend just walking in for a visit on a rainy day when you don;t want to be outdoors.
So that pretty much does it for this trip.
Big thanks to Poler for sending a ton of gear for our travels. I basically lived in the birch jacket (gotta have layers if you’re headed to Yosemite, the weather can be a little bit unpredictable) and got more than a few compliments on the camera cooler bag.
Complete source list, in case you’re interested: Poler Camera Cooler Bag // Poler Rolltop Pack // Madewell Chambray // Black Hi-Rise Jeans // Poler Birch Jacket // Black Hat (Similar) // Poler Huntsman Beanie // Blue Plaid Flannel (Similar)
Have you ever been to a national park? What’s your take on outdoorsy vacations like this? Do you leave feeling recharged or exhausted? Would love to hear your thoughts.