“Park-ing” in California (I): Yosemite

After three nice days exploring the bay of San Francisco, it is time for us to get closer to nature and discover some of the beautiful National Parks in California.
Renting a car has never been so easy! We didn’t even have to deal with the insisting agents trying to sell you all the extras, introducing your data on a machine was everything we have to do to just get our economy car. In less than 10 minutes we are entering the parking lot of the airport and first pleasant surprise! Economy class in US means having a large car!

The first stop of our Park-ing trip is giant Yosemite. After 3.5h of driving on long and boring roads we get to Mid Pines, the closest to the park budget accommodation we found, and one of the most expensive we’ll have in our US stay, however, one of the least comfortable.

The not yet overcome jet lag helps us getting up early to go and hunt for the best pictures of Yosemite. We spend the whole day trekking in the park and admiring the colossal natural landscape: the valley, the rocks, the mountains, the waterfalls… and the weather is just great! We start with the trekking loop that goes to Sentinel Point, where you see the Capitan and the Half Dome just in front of you. Getting to the Sentinel Point top without a single person in there is an incredible feeling, the intensity of the colors and of the silence are just indescribable! We didn’t want to go to Glacier Point because it’s normally crowded and we couldn’t have had this impression there. The loop continues to Taft Point, another breathtaking site and must see in Yosemite! A giant vertical cliff on a stone plateau with some rocks pointing off, where you can take nice and impressive pictures, as long as you don’t suffer from height panic, as some of the view points have no fence. From Taft Point you get to see the whole valley with the river Merced and the beautiful fall colors covering everything. If you are lucky you can see one of the crazy guys climbing up the Capitan, but today we can’t see anyone. Of course, a visit to the tunnel view and the Yosemite Falls are another must, but less impressive.

We feel like walking a bit more to burn the “turkey with something” sandwich, as we find nothing else than turkey-based sandwiches everywhere (we feel that thanks giving is getting closer). A bit more challenging trail is the one leading to the Vernal waterfall, going up all the way and with a long and tiring staircase at the end going to the waterfall.
We are impressed by the park facilities, all the trails are very well marked, you have to put effort if you want to get lost. There are trails for everybody, easy ones and more difficult ones, depending on your fitness level. Also handicapped people can visit the highlights of Yosemite. In November not many people were there, but still you are not alone 😉 If we come back again, we’ll camp in one of the camping spots inside the park.

 

did_you_know  Did you know that…

… El Capitan in Yosemite is considered one of the most challenging climbing routes in the world with a 900m wall?

… Yosemite means “killer” in one of the native americans languages of Northern California because of a tribe expelled from the area?

… the U-shaped valley is the result of a long lasting process of huge glacier movements?

likes   Likes:

  • Taft Point and Sentinel Point loop: Go there early in the morning and you’ll have it all for yourself alone.
  • Tunnel view: Check it out at different times of the day for different views.
  • Sleeping in the park: Very well prepared camping area, probably best in summer.

dislikes  Dislikes:

  • People on the rocks close to Yosemite Fall (even though you shouldn’t go there):  Result: not a single picture without people 😉
  • No eating options out of season: In November almost all restaurants closed for the season and you end up buying turkey sandwiches in the supermarket, it’s better to bring your lunch pack.

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