Our Yosemite Adventure…
I seriously can’t keep up with writing daily blogs so you’re going to have to deal with this new format!
Day 44 – Thursday 7th July 2016
We always wanted to incorporate a rental vehicle into our trip around America, and a few months ago we decided to break the bank and put a deposit on a Jucy Campervan. We opted to pick up in San Francisco and drop off in Los Angeles, with the intention of taking an extended route between the two over the course of six days. Today was our pick-up day!
We checked out of the hostel at 10am and took an Uber straight to the Jucy depot to get our van. We arrived only to be told that we weren’t supposed to be collecting until after 13:00, but thankfully the lady behind reception done us a favour and let us take off at 11:30. After a quick stop at the dollar store for water, washing up liquid and kitchen roll, then a not so quick stop at Walmart for food and beer (the important bits) we were on our way.
We had a campground called Sweetwater booked for the night, just outside of Yosemite National Park. We Googled it and found directions online, then set off on our way! The drive took about four hours but didn’t seem long at all. We set everything up upon arrival (made the bed, started to get food out of the fridge etc.) and then went to the manager to check in. It was at that exact moment that the success of our day took a nosedive towards catastrophe and crumbled in front of us. It turns out that there are two places called Sweetwater Campground on the outskirts of Yosemite, and we’d booked one but arrived at the other. It was entirely my fault too!
The manager told us that the drive was only about two and a half hours from one to the other so we packed up again and followed his directions, only to find that he was talking complete and utter rubbish and that the drive was more like seven hours! Seriously. After a while the sun went down and we found ourselves driving around Yosemite National Park in the pitch black, at elevation of <5000ft, unsure of whether it’d be scarier to be able to see over the edge of the cliff that we were driving or not. We got lost another three or four times on the way, and started getting very impatient. If only the bloke would’ve told us how long the drive really was we could have just sacrificed what we’d spent on our reservation and stayed at his place.
It wasn’t until gone 01:00 that we finally arrived at our campground, well after hours, with no idea where to park up. We backed the van into an empty spot and went to bed after an absolute disaster of a day, with a note in the window saying ‘arrived late, very sorry’. The back seats of the van fold out into the shape of a double bed so we basically spent the night in the back of a van but couldn’t care less after over twelve hours on the road. The only positive we could take was the clear night sky and pretty stars above us (says Abbie). Surely the next day could only get better?
Day 45 – Friday 8th July 2016
As with any camping experience we’ve had before, waking up early is inevitable. Not ideal after going to bed at 01:00 but kind of expected. The campground had no running water but the Jucy has loads of cool features like a sink, fridge, stove and utensil box, which meant that making breakfast was a doddle. We had sausage, egg and bacon, with a cup of tea of course, which Abbie was super proud of herself for conjuring up so early:
After that, because of the lack of running water, we washed in a stream amongst crayfish, which is probably the most traveller-y thing we’ve done so far. Then we drove back in the direction of Yosemite, because although we spent about two hours there yesterday, we didn’t actually see anything because it was dark, and we didn’t stop because we had a campground to find.
On our way, just as we joined a single carriageway about fourth miles from the closest gas station, the gas light started flashing. We didn’t panic, but did assume the worst. Thankfully luck was on our side this time and we made it to a gas station with minutes to spare (if that).
After filling up we passed through a town called Oakhurst, about fifteen miles from Yosemite, where we found High Sierra campground by chance and booked ourselves in for the night. We carried on to the park but arrived quite late in the day so only had a chance to do a few bits. We stopped on the and at the Yosemite Falls viewpoint, before taking off as the sun went down:
With the intention of returning again in the morning we went back to our campground, this time to sleep in the super cool rooftop box bed – literally a bed inside a box in the roof of the van.
Day 46 – Saturday 9th July 2016
We knew that today was our last chance to do as much as possible at Yosemite so we had breakfast early and hit the road. Our first stop was at Washburn Point, where Abbie made a pretty spectacular claim about how she loves when nature makes her feel so small. It took a second for me to work out what she was on about but then I looked up to this:
I was astonished. Everywhere you looked was something new, from trees to mountains to cliffs to waterfalls. That’s not all though, from there we headed up (yes further up) to Glacier Point where it got even better:
Glacier Point offered some of the same views at Washburn Point with an extended view of the valley below, another of the waterfalls, and the meadows which we drove through to get there.
After Glacier Point we drove for about an hour just to get down to Tunnel View, our next stop on the way. Again the scenery was out of this world, you could look out at nature’s vast nothingness without hearing anything but the trees rustling and birds flying overhead. I took a surprise photograph of Abbie taking a photograph which came out pretty well:
Our last trip of the day was Bridalveil Falls, which you could walk right up to if you chose to climb the rocks. We did so for a bit but stopped when it started getting too slippery and dangerous:
It was also getting quite wet from the mist so we decided to make our way back to High Sierra from there, where we had ourselves booked in for another night.
It was a shame that we didn’t have time for more. Due to the current drought one of the main things on our to do list, Mirror Lake, was pretty much dried out, so we didn’t bother. That hasn’t knocked our opinion though. I guess you can never do everything, but we left happy with what we’d done.
Two of our best friends Dan and Karen got engaged at Yosemite just over a year ago, and it’s very clear to see why Dan chose this place to propose. It’s without doubt one of the most beautiful places ever!
Anyway we hit the road again tomorrow, so there will be another post in a few days I guess…