As part of our Trek America adventure from Los Angeles to San Francisco (more on that later) we spent a whole day exploring Yosemite National Park in California. All it took was one day in Yosemite to fall in love with the nature of America.
Now, I know this is a city blog but Yosemite is so big and beautiful, I can’t not tell you how amazing our time was there. After travelling for so long from Vegas (and recovering from all the partying) we were so glad to spend some time away from the noise and, as cheesy as it sounds, be close to nature. That’s right, we hugged some trees.
The only hikes I’m really used to are those of a broken-escalator-in-Selfridges nature, so the sheer size and height of Yosemite meant I was in for one hell of a surprise on our hiking morning. I wore sensible trainers, but it seems hill walking was the only activity in which my choice of shoes didn’t really give me any advantage. I was still awful at hiking.
We took the Vernal Fall trail for 1.6 miles uphill, to the first stopping point at the Vernal Fall footbridge. “At least in San Francisco there’s a shopping centre at the top” I whinged, but the malls of SF really can’t compete with a stunning waterfall can they…
Some areas along the hike were flat enough to just feel a little strain on the legs, and other areas felt a lot like the wobbly stairs at the funfair – except sweatier and probably less fun (for me at least). And, since I had to stop so much thanks to my very poor hiking skills, I managed to see a lot of the beautiful views through the treetops. As we finally reached the footbridge, we were all so glad to be greeted with a gorgeous view of the bottom of Vernal Falls.
Stopping for lunch (a squashed cheese sandwich and a sweaty apple, but grateful for it) we sat on the boulders above the swirling waters and spent some time enjoying the beautiful surroundings. The first stop was enough for most of us in the group, so all but two of us returned to the bottom of the trail for some other activities.
If there’s one thing you should never pass up on in Yosemite, it’s the rafting. This was our favourite activity of the day and I’m pretty sure that if we ever end up in Yosemite again, we’ll be in those rafts before you can say “where are the best views?”
That’s what you get with the rafting – incredible views. From Half-Dome to Mirror Lake, we were completely amazed at what we were seeing. The raft route took us around 2 hours to get through, after a couple of stops to admire the tiny beaches, but you could take all day if you really wanted to. Around each bend there were new panoramas to gawp at and frantically start up the camera before the raft floated past.
We stuck to 3 people in a boat and floated along quite happily, stopping along the way to take photos and do a little bit of sunbathing. It’s so leisurely that you could quite easily just lay back and enjoy the ride while someone paddles you past the mini rapids!
Pizza and ice-cream
After the whole afternoon rafting we were so ready for food, and pizza was definitely the favourite option. In the centre of Curry Village (which incidentally has no curry restaurants, if you were wondering) there’s an outside pizza parlour and ice-cream shop, which both give you humongous portions for a really amazing price. The ice-cream is $2 for one scoop that definitely looks like two scoops, and the pizza is so delicious you’ll probably over-do it.
The fee to enter Yosemite is $20 per car for unlimited entries within 7 days, or $10 if you walk there (good luck!) or if you arrive on horseback, a bicycle, motorcycle, or on a non-commercial bus. Camping is charged extra per night and starts from $5.