Monday, November 28, 2016

Our Yosemite Camping Adventure

**WARNING: This post is FULL of photos (most of which were taken by my talented hubby).**

If you've been around my part of the InterWebs for a while, you know that the hubby and I love our adventures. Whether it is traveling to a new location for a race or camping for a week in a nearby city, we love getting out and about.


In case you didn't know, all of our family is back in the Michigan area. With the Thanksgiving holiday being a long weekend, it is hard to justify the trip back (especially when the travel prices are astronomical). We decided that this year we would load up the AdventureMobile and #OptOutside.

Originally we were thinking we would head to Zion (and my parents would come along for the journey), but apparently you have to book sites like eons in advance so everything was already full when we started to plan. As a back-up, we started looking into Yosemite. Can you believe that neither of us had been before?! With it only being about an 8 hour drive away, we knew we could make it happen!

The game plan was to camp in the park (we had a spot in the Upper Pines Campground) from Tuesday through Saturday. We figured we'd come home on Saturday as to give ourselves a little extra time to get back into the swing of things before 'real life' started again (i.e. do #AllTheLaundry, get groceries, pick up the doggy from the sitter's, etc). Ryan had to take Tuesday and Wednesday off work, but thankfully his new job was okay with that since we had it planned before he started.

We left around 5:30am on Tuesday and ended up pulling into our site by 1:30pm after a handful of pit stops (potty breaks, gas stops, lunch, etc). Some of our framily {friends who have become family} were already there and we quickly realized how AMAZING the area was!

We woke up Wednesday morning to RAIN! (I know this might sound crazy, but I think I would prefer snow to rain... Snow is easier to dust off, but the rain made everything so soggy.)  It was set to stop around 11am, so we tried to stay as dry as possible at the campsite before braving the weather mid-morning. Once the weather broke we hit up Yosemite Falls and explored around Yosemite Village for a while. There is so much to see and do (and when you have three little ones in tow it definitely can slow down the process a bit, but I'm sure I'm preaching to the choir on that one ;)). The crew started to peter out a little come afternoon, but we still got in quite a bit of adventuring before calling it a day.

Yosemite Falls (both Upper and Lower)

The majestic Half Dome

Us at the Lower Yosemite Falls

I might have gotten made fun of for my billion layers... but I stayed warm!

Us at the Lower Yosemite Falls

El Capitan is HUGE!

Deer have ZERO fear in Yosemite! They would get so close.

I was pretty stoked on my find... A leaf bigger than my head!

When we woke up on Thanksgiving the sun was shining... which is a good thing, and a bad thing... Good because that means it wouldn't be as soggy, but bad because that means the cloud cover didn't hold in any of the warmth and it was COLD! (The temps were in the 20s at night and warmed up to the low 40s during the warmest part of the day... if you were in the sun!) Unfortunately our framily had to leave that morning (a friend had passed away and since their oldest had a playoff football game on Friday they decided to leave a little early). With the change in plans, the hubby and I decided we would tackle some bigger hikes. Vernal Falls and Nevada Falls were top on the list and we knew we needed to take off fairly early because we were told it could take upwards of 6 hours for the round-trip.

Vernal Falls (I told Ryan it reminded me of Paradise Falls from Up)

Can you see those specks down there? Those are folks hiking up.

Hubby had trekking poles from his Mount Whitney climb and they definitely came in handy!

The view from above Nevada Falls

Nevada Falls (this may be one of my favorite photos from the week)

We joked that we were getting ready for our Christmas trip back to Michigan 

The hike ended up being 10.5 miles and took us a little under 4 hours (which included a stop for lunch and a billion and a half photo ops). I would say we made great time... even with the slippery ground due to ice and snow! After we got back to the campsite we decided to head back into Yosemite Village for a bit to check out some of the historical spots like the museum, theater, etc.

Mr. John Muir

Ryan said you could never have too many pictures of Half Dome...

Since our framily left, we no longer had a warm trailer to cuddle up in after dinner to play Phase 10, so the hubby and I spent extra time by the fire (and playing with our headlamp to make fun photos).

Let's just say I am a professional marshmallow maker ;) 

While everyone else was eating their pumpkin pie, we were having s'mores (with Reese's pumpkins)

You gotta give me some credit, it is hard to write it out backwards!

We added the Christmas lights from my #RnRLV 5K costume ;)

Our humble abode

We woke up Friday morning to another clear sky (read: COLD, COLD, COLD!). While we were in the village the previous evening, we found out that they were calling for a Winter Weather Advisory beginning Friday evening and were expecting 8-16 inches of snow. Originally we were planning on heading home Saturday morning, but once we got that news we decided we would pack up and head out Friday afternoon to try and avoid the weather. (The truck is 4-wheel drive and we had chains with us, but we didn't necessarily want to sleep in the snow, nor make the drive back home in the shenanigans.) With that said, Friday morning we packed up and got everything ready before heading out for a few last adventures.

We came across this area that had a TON of rock towers

Like I said... it was COLD!

We were able to fit everything in on the trip, minus Glacier Point, but that was because it was closed due to ice and snow. By about 1pm we were totally packed up and in the truck to head home. Although I HATE cutting a trip short (even if it was only $26 for the camp site that we 'lost'), we knew it was definitely the right call. (Saturday was crazy weather in SoCal, so had we stayed and drove home during it, the 8 hour trip would have easily turned into 12 or 16.)

One last Half Dome shot before the camera battery died and we made our way back to warmer weather

As you can see from all of the pictures, Yosemite is ABSOLUTELY STUNNING! If you have been, you know that the pictures don't do the breathtaking views justice. I gave the trip 4 out of 5 stars, but only because I would have loved the temps to have been 10-20 degrees warmer ;) We are already planning our next trip back... especially since I have "Hike Half Dome" on my bucket list of things to do before I turn 35.

PS Even though it was cold, I was loving the peacefulness (we've heard that in the summer it can turn into a little like Disneyland with the masses of tourists that flood the park). I would say maybe Spring or a little earlier Fall would definitely be the best time for our next trip!

Have you ever been to Yosemite?


Unknown said...

It's been years since I went to Yosemite and it looks like so much fun to experience camping there!

Helen xx

Boyu Ba said...

Wow! These photos are amazing and your post inspires me to travel to Yosemite <3

Boyu xx

Joti said...

Wow, what an amazing experience!!! And to be honest, I much prefer snow to rain as well!! This seems like it was a fantastic little trip.

Sharon Wu of Style Lullaby said...

Wow, Yosemite looks beautiful! My boyfriend and I are planning on going to visit before 2016 ends and your photos are making me super excited! xo, sharon

Lauren Ashley said...

I've never been to Yosemite, but this looks amazing! Such beautiful photos... it's amazing that your husband was able to capture these. What amazing memories you'll have!
XO, Lauren Ashley

Unknown said...

Wow this looks like such a great adventure! I need to get there sometime soon. Although I don't know if I can handle the cold temperatures. I may be able to suck it up if I am able to capture such fantastic photos like you did! Thank you for sharing.

Unknown said...

I've never been to Yosemite and your pictures are making me want to go! You captured the photos wonderfully!! Thanks for sharing xo- Mitra

Unknown said...

wow! Your photos are incredible! I used to love camping, we used to go camping all the time in Wales when I was little. Yosemite looks like it's such an amazing place, I can't wait to visit one day.

Kathleen Lisson said...

We arrived at Yosemite on "Green Friday" and stayed until Saturday afternoon around 2-ish. The snow hit us at about 3 pm on the way home, but we're from Upstate NY so we knew how to drive in snow/rain. It was a beautiful weekend! We stayed in one of the heated tent cabins, well worth the price to have heat and bear protection - and breakfast, hot coffee and pizza for dinner were just a few steps away in curry village. Glad you had an awesome trip 'roughing it' in a tent!

Chelsea Marrs said...

This looks like such a fun trip! I love camping in Yosemite, and you captured it beautifully with these photos! Especially love the crisp blue skies!

Chow Down USA

Unknown said...

i've always wanted to go, I'd think I'd enjoy it more in the summer though. looks gorgeous! said...

Your pictures are absolutely stunning! I love how adventurous you two are! Mountains and waterfalls? Yes please! Minus the camping part of course!

San said...

What an amazing trip, Carlee! And beautiful photos! I love Yosemite!

Miel and Mint said...

Oh my goodness, what a beautiful place!! We've always wanted to go to Yosemite & one day we will <3
xox Nadia