We departed Orange County for our first of two extra long driving days, about 10 hours. We did take an extended break for lunch at Red Robin and a visit to Target. After LA, we went through some mountains and then suddenly everything went flat and it became a rather boring drive until finally we hit the mountains again.
We stopped for dinner at the closest town to our hostel, not knowing if there would be anything closer. Our hostel surprised us, however. There was a great little dining hall with a little cafe/restaurant, lots of seating, a shelf full of games and, maybe best of all, free Wi-Fi. Our dorm itself was co-ed with 12 beds, air conditioning, 2 toilets and 2 showers. Not bad at all.
Early the next morning, we got up and headed deeper into the park. This was a spectacular drive.
Originally, we (AJ) had wanted to hike Half Dome - a 10-12 hour hike, ending in scaling a huge rock face. But it requires a permit and hundreds of people apply for a small number of permits each day. So we went into the village and decided to hike the 4-Mile trail, which is supposed to end in spectacular vistas of Half Dome and other mountains. We started the climb, up, up, up through a forest that could have been in Ontario. It was a tough climb and not all that interesting. We weren't sure we could do 6 hours of that just to see the sight at the end, so we went back down and chose the "Mist Trail" - a 4-5 hour hike that had lots to see all along the trail.
Like all of them, it was an uphill climb and it was tough. But we stopped when we needed to and saw some beautiful, smaller waterfalls along the way. The first break was at the bottom of Vernal Falls, a pretty bridge and lots of people. Many families take this trail and stop at this point. But we climbed on.
|At the bottom of the falls|
|Vernal Falls, Yosemite|
|I did it!|
|View from the top|
Since we did a bit shorter hike, we were back down earlier than expected so we did another quick and much flatter hike to see Yosemite Falls.
I think the cool thing about this park is that they've got something for everyone. There's a campground or a hotel, there's insane rock climbing and lengthy hikes and short flatter ones that are still amazing. I would definitely recommend it. I am also kind of glad we didn't get the Half Dome permits, I don't think I could have made it.
Next, follow us West to San Francisco and then down the coast.