We recently went to Yosemite and YES, it is worth all of the hype. Big time. I CANNOT wait to go back.
Sam visited Yosemite while in high school, but the rest of us had never been. We decided to make a weekend of it while Sam ran 15+ miles with some ultra runner friends along the ridges. We rented a fantastic large home in Oakhurst via Airbnb which I highly recommend.
It was a beautiful home. We were so comfortable there; I highly recommend Heaven’s Gate.
We pulled kids out of school early on Friday and made the 3+ hour drive with a mandatory stop at Cafe Rio for Sam and I to get our fix of the Barbacoa Salad (why would you ever order anything else at Cafe Rio???) with a mint lemonade for the road. Ahhhhhh. So much satisfaction. We got settled into the house and while kids played we stood out on the deck watching the sunset.
The main reason for our trip to Yosemite was so that Sam and two of our friends do a 15 mile run along the ridges of Yosemite. They are total rock stars.
They headed out early Saturday morning for what amounted to a four hour run (enormous elevation gains and tricky trails) while me and the kids did some sightseeing at Bridal Veil Falls.
At one point Sebastian slipped on a rock and fell into some ice cold water but other than THAT we had no other mishaps. We finished up our easy hike/walk with some pizza left over from the night before (hurray to leaving the pizza box in the van!).
I’ll be honest: before we visited Yosemite I didn’t GET the whole “Yosemite is amazing” thing. Everyone I knew who had gone was literally obsessed with their overall experience which made me a little suspect. I mean, how great could it possibly be…right? Well, I have recovered from my earlier incredulity and am now officially obsessed with Yosemite as well. That moment on the drive when we first came into the valley floor BLEW MY MIND. El Capitan? Unbelievable. Half Dome out in the distance? Even MORE unbelievable.
We did a two hour open air tram tour of the Valley Floor and I HIGHLY recommend it. Sam had just finished running 15 trail miles and we have two little kids with little legs; the tour allowed us to take in the beauty and still get gorgeous photos when we wanted to. If you are new to Yosemite, please consider this tour. It was chilly but we were packed in close together with sodas and snacks so it was perfect.
ALSO. I feel like we get a little shafted here in the Bay Area with a lack of fall foliage (this coming from someone who lived on the East Coast for 28 years) but Yosemite more than made up for it. I want to always come back to Yosemite in the fall after seeing the foliage.
On our last day we did a hike to Sentinel Dome. If you want to go to the very top of the rock (for the best view) it is a little challenging, but only for a short while. And it is totally worth it for the incredible view of Half Dome (the main photo for this post was taken from Sentinel Dome).
After having a difficult 2017 with Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis and finally getting some new meds to work, climbing to the top of Sentinel Dome was really special to me. Standing there next to Sam with all of Yosemite spread out around us felt like a personal triumph during a year that has not always felt very triumphant.
I can’t wait to go back to Yosemite again. I am officially hooked. I am angling for a 2018 spring trip and of course a return fall trip. Hurray for national parks and the beauty that isn’t far from our backyard. We are so blessed to live near this extraordinary area.