Friday, April 20, 2007

Vacation: Yosemite

My little family of three just got back from a trip to Yosemite. I thought a review of the area would be nice since it is one of the top three National Parks to visit in the United States. Good reason was unbelievable. If you ever have a chance to get over there, do! Please do. You will most definitely not be disappointed.

Here are some tips:

Lodging. We stayed at the Tenaya Lodge, which I highly recommend. It was very comfortable, the service was excellent and the restaurant and grill provided convenience to any visiting guest. They offered boxed lunches {and actually packed the lettuce and tomatoe separately so you didn't find a soggy sandwich hours later} for day trip hikes and vegetarian chile that ranks among my favorites. The rooms were spacious, the housekeeping timely and again the service extremely helpful for out-of-towners. The only downfall we experienced with the Tenaya Lodge was the distance from the Yosemite Valley. The Tenaya was only one mile from the actual park, but from the valley {where Half Dome, El Capitan and the Falls lay} it was about a 25 minute drive. It didn't prove to be too big of deal, except that the road was filled with twists and turns so if you get carsick, bring your anti-nausea patches. If you plan on camping, there are some excellent camp grounds right along the river flowing throughout the entire park. Camp 4 is where the hardcore climbers are {some that free climb El Capitan!}, Wawona campground is a great one to pitch tent if you are looking for seclusion, anywhere in the valley and you are surrounded by people with lots of things to do. They have continuous arts and crafts, kids group hikes and bike rentals. If you are looking for a nice hotel in the valley, I recommend Ahwahnee hotel. I think we'll stay there next time simply for the ease of staying down in the center of the action.

Gear. You'll need some hiking/outdoor specific gear if you plan a trip to Yosemite. And all of that depends on which season of the year you visit in. The waterfalls go crazy in the spring {when we went}, they are dry during fall and summer and iced over in the winter. If seeing Vernal, Bridevale, Yosemite and Chiluanga Falls is your reason for going, plan on a spring trip. You won't be disappointed. But, know that the weather can change in an instant as well. The first two days we were there, it was a beautiful sixty degrees. The last day? 30 degrees and snowing. Be prepared. Keen shoes are excellent. Patagonia fleeces are great layering pieces. Prana capris are worth the money and Nalgene bottles are a must. If towing a baby along, please purchase a Kelty Kids backpack. So worth the dollars spent {although we were gifted it}.

Hikes. We hiked all three days {only a short one to Lower Falls on the snowy day} and were never disappointed. The one great thing about staying at Tenaya is that you are close to the Mariposa grounds which house the nations largest sequoias. We did a 5.5 mile hike that day and I think it was my favorite, even over Vernal Falls. We saw some gigantic trees and it was slightly less "crowded" than the valley. When faced with a tree ten times your height you have to look up speechless, amazed at the creation before you. It's amazing to say the least.

Overall, highly recommended. Please, if you go, let me know!


  1. My husband and I are trying to plan a trip there this summer. I went when I was little, and my husband went two years ago on his way to hiking Mt. Whitney, but we have never been together and it is so beautiful I can't wait to go! Thanks for all the advice on lodging and hikes! How did Avery do during the longer hikes?

  2. Missy, this is great. Brad and I really want to do a Northern California trip soon. Dose the lodging you chose have pretty good rates {compared to others, quality considered}?

  3. Avery did REALLY well on the hikes. Again, the Kelty Kids carrier, which I should link to was an excellent buy. She actually fell asleep in it for a good 45 minutes. She liked it as we were outdoors, it was warm and tons of trees and birds to look at.

    The Tenaya Lodge was less expensive than the Ahwanhee which was our initial motivator to go with that one. We got it for $140/night which wasn't bad to us. I think the Ahwahnee was $200/night. Depends which season, but if you can schedule in late spring/early summer you can probably get a bit of the falls and good hotel pricing.

    I'll have to do a post on the most popular {and great} hikes.

  4. Okay, I am dying for a trip to Yosemite now! Alan and I need to do that someday in the not too distant future. Izzy loves being outside and I imagine she would enjoy it too. So wonderful that Avery loved it so much. Wow, I want a Kelty carrier now. We just don't hike in the UK! What is the max age/weight a child can be carried in one? What model do you have? Maybe you should just post on this? :)

    My cousin Lani got married at Yosemite and the wedding party/guests stayed at the Awahanee hotel. I was too pregnant to fly unfortunately.

  5. I LOVE your site and it was fun reading about your Yosemite experience because I've been nearly every year since 1995! :) We LOVE it! We camp for a week in Lower Pines Campground and never get tired of going back. It's a beautiful, magical place.


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