Ahhh, the great outdoors.
The Yosemite was definitely a National Park we intended to visit. I had heard about it, and read extensively about it. But the closer we got, the more unlikely it looked due to the forecast. Rain, rain, rain. And when we checked the weather for the dates we had planned, snow storms had been forecasted!
I only had a sleeping bag and thought it was rated to 0 degrees, I had no mat that would withstand the chill. I had earlier found that the desert floor at night was almost too cold to sleep on. So we thought better of it and canned the trip.
That is, until I woke up one day and headed to the kitchen where Rachel was sitting. She excitedly told me that there was just one day where the weather looked good enough to camp or explore. And within the next 2 hours we had booked accommodation and headed out the door to our next adventure.
Rachel looking shorter than normal.
The road leading to Half Dome on the other side of Yosemite was still closed due to snow. So we took our time exploring the snowier side of Yosemite.
No humans in sight! Thank you, road closure.
There was a hiking trail nearby which we hiked. Snow, covering the ground as far as the eye could see. It made for a trickier hike, which in turn made it more interesting!
Rachel for scale. Also, waiting for me to catch up.
We headed off towards our motel as soon as it got darker. The next day we rose early in high spirits for the drive that would take us to the other side of Yosemite. We stopped at some point, admired the scenery, and took photos.
I clambered to this rock, which was almost in the centre of the river. Good thing my balance is pretty good - the slivered edge of the rock didn't provide much grip.
Little did we know that the day we intended on going was a free entry day. So by the time it got there it looked like this:
Cars, cars, everywhere.
We spent hours trying to find a park - eventually giving up, parking and taking an hour to walk to the start of the trail. Frustrated, we walked towards the trailhead, taking slightly differing routes, until we reached the trailhead.
Immersing oneself in nature is so calming.
The upside of being so late to the trail was that everyone had begun filtering back to their cars. The sites were less packed with tourists and the walks were relatively more peaceful. We finally got to Mirror Lake and took this picture, devoid of tourists, in the dimming light:
The Yosemite makes me look like a good photographer.
I ran out of superlatives. After this restful walk we didn't even mind meandering back in the dark, or being told later that bears had been sighted on the trail! I managed one last photo in the dusk:
And then the zombie apocalypse began. Kidding - but zombies in this picture wouldn't be amiss.
Next up, Portland and Seattle!