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24 November 2014

Yosemite, Kim Kardashian & The Olive Garden Have Nothing In Common {Thank Goodness!}

After our day exploring old Californian mining towns, we headed off to Yosemite National Park. It is one of those places that people always "ooh" and "aah" about. Which makes me suspicious. After all, lots of people "ooh" and "aah" about Kim Kardashian and The Olive Garden's all you can eat bread sticks. Thankfully, Yosemite, Kim Kardashian and The Olive Garden have nothing in common. Yosemite really does deserve all of those "oohs" and "aahs" - trust me on this. If I had been eating a batch of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies while standing in the middle of the Yosemite Valley, I might have actually passed out from the overwhelming splendor of it all. Fortunately (or unfortunately), I was fresh out of cookies.

Pictures can't really capture what I'm talking about, but just look at these anyways.

El Capitan, Yosemite National Park. Crazy people climb up this.
Half Dome, Yosemite National Park. Crazy people climb up this too.
The meadow in the Yosemite Valley. My attempt to get all Ansel Adams-like with the black & white. Not quite so successful.
We initially spent one day in Yosemite, but weren't able to score a campsite as the park was swarming with weekenders enjoying the beautiful weather, so we headed off for a few days to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks (more on those amazing parks in future posts!) and then returned to Yosemite later in the week when the crowds had thinned out. 

Here are a few of the highlights of our time in Yosemite. We had an amazing time and so many incredible experiences, so never fear, I'll bore you with a few more posts on Yosemite in due course!

When it isn't raining and freezing cold, nothing beats sleeping outside in your tent. And to say that you've camped in Yosemite, nothing beats that! Usually, you have to book a campsite months in advance at Yosemite - that's how popular it is. Fortunately for us, when we headed back the second time, they had just stopped taking reservations the day before so we were able to score a campsite for two nights. There is something to be said for traveling in the off-season. If you're interested in camping, it costs $20 for a tent site at the Pines Campgrounds, which are centrally located right in the valley. The place to be, for sure! If you're looking for something a little bit cheaper and don't mind sharing, you can pay $5 per person, head over to Camp 4 (pictured above). If might be cheap, but you have to share your site with up to six other people. Not quite our cup of tea.


If you're read our blog before, you might know that I'm a fan of beer, especially a good IPA. I found a great one called IPA 395, made by the Mammoth Brewing Company, at the general store in Yosemite. I especially love the cute little bear on the cap. That's the way I like my bears and beers. We ended up having a few pints of beer at the Yosemite Lodge on one of the nights we were there. We originally went there to hear a ranger talk on bears, but it turns out it was Game 7 of the World Series, so for some reason, we found ourselves in the bar drinking beers and watching baseball instead of learning about bears. Not many people can say they saw Game 7 of the World Series at Yosemite! It was a room full of San Francisco fans, so it was a very, very happy evening for almost everyone there. {We're Twins fans by the way and tried to remain neutral during the game.}


In a way, it is kind of ridiculous to go to a National Park and drive around in your car going "ooh" and "aah". But Yosemite is vast and one of the best ways to explore it is by car. During the high season, shuttle buses run throughout the park and people are encouraged to use them rather then create more congestion on the roads. But because we were there during the off-season, when some of the shuttles weren't running, we took our trusty Nissan Pathfinder out to explore the park. It is a great way to cram in a lot of scenic viewpoints in a short amount of time and think about what areas you want to come back to and explore more on foot. And we weren't the only ones out there. A group of cute little Porsches were zipping around the as part of some sort of rally. They looked really adorable. 



Just in case you were thinking we were incredibly lazy with all of that driving around, not to worry, we went on a number of walks. Like the hike we did to Sentinel Dome out at Glacier Point. While the hike is only 2.2 miles round trip, you do start out at an elevation of 7,700 feet and climb up to 8,100 feet. Yes, you might be out of breath after climbing up to the top of the dome at that elevation (or maybe that's just me?), but you do get some amazing 360 degree views (like you see in the picture above). We also did a 7.5 mile loop trail in the Yosemite Valley. If you're feeling ambitious, you can do the full 13 mile loop trail around the valley, or just choose a portion of it like we did. Nothing beats an early morning hike when the sun is coming up and most people are still sleeping or making breakfast. One of my favorite walks was our morning jaunt out to Mirror Lake. Only 2 miles round trip from the trail head. Great way to wake up - especially drinking some coffee your husband thoughtfully brought with him and staring straight up at Half Dome.

Have you been to Yosemite? Were you as amazed as we were? What was your favorite part?

We were overwhelmed by Yosemite National Park's beauty on 24 and 28-30 October 2014.

12 comments:

  1. First of all, brilliant post title! But are you sure you want to go to the East Coast to look for a boat? Yosemite Valley is the number one place people compare the Central Coast of BC with AND Granville Island in Vacouver makes a really nice IPA (I know. It's hard to believe but some of the Canadian microbrews are pretty good!).

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    1. Glad it got your attention :-) Although, I have to wonder why in the world I was ever thinking about Kim K and The Olive Garden! We're quite torn as to whether to look for our next boat in the PNW or out east. Now that I know about Granville Island IPA, I may have to rethink this...

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  2. I've been to Yosemite National Park many times over the years. I don't live all that far away from it either. It's a beautiful place to explore.

    Have a fabulous day. :)

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    1. You're so lucky to live close by - would love to visit there again one day!

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  3. I've only been there once as a little girl so I barely remember it, unfortunately. I have to agree with you about tent camping though-- nothing beats sleeping outside when the weather is nice! You win the "best post title" award by the way.... I just had to see what you were talking about!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by Cynthia! Bit of a crazy post title - I have no idea why I started thinking about Kim K, The Olive Garden and Yosemite all at the same time :-)

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  4. Wow, that looks incredible - lovely shots!

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  5. I'm dying to go to Yosemite. I'd love to hike and camp and just spend a lot of time there!

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  6. Yosemite is such a beautiful place (I live near SF) and look forward to returning some time in the coming year:) It looks a lot different depending on when you visit. We were just there last December around Christmas which is a great time to go if you like snow and no crowds:)

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    1. It would neat to see what Yosemite looks like during the winter with snow. We were there during the autumn - the leaves changing color were wonderful to look at. I imagine the place is also amazing during the spring with the wildflowers!

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