Finally, we were on our way to Yosemite National Park! After stocking up at Walmart yet again, we started on our drive.
We entered the park around 10AM and were greeted with blue skies, green trees and giant sights. Even though Taylor & I went Yosemite last summer, we still were overcome with beauty. This is our favorite National Park!
Walking through the valley, we could hear the rushing of the waterfalls. Spring is the best time to come to this park, as the snow has just melted and all the wildlife is emerging.
Lower Yosemite Falls was a stark difference to what is was last summer; we could barely see due to the strong mist coming off of the plummeting falls! In the summer, you can climb all the way to the bottom of the falls, scrambling on the rocks. But not when we saw it this time!
In walking back through the trail behind the falls, we also came upon the Majestic Yosemite Lodge, which, until recently, was named the Ahwanee.
We also discovered a cool sign showcasing the flood of 1997, which poured through the entire valley. As you can see, the water would have been above my head!
As we headed south to our campsite in Wawona, we had to stop to get a picture at the famous “Tunnel View”. Words cannot describe these beautiful and stunning sights!
Settling in for the night, we made our campfire dinner and could hear the rushing Merced River close by. We had to make sure to put all our food and toiletries into the “bear containers”, otherwise our car would’ve been broken into by a hungry bear!
Our first stop today was hiking Vernal Falls. Last year, we hiked up to see the falls, but didn’t get all the way to the top. Today would be different!
Of course, the weather wasn’t cooperating, and it was drizzling as we made our way over the bridge and up the many steps to reach the falls. The water was coming down so strongly, we got soaked! It was so worth it.
As we made our way up to the top, we were able to see where we had just come from and how tiny the world seems from above. Continuing on the John Muir Trail, we kept making our way upwards and were able to get a view of the top of the falls. It was amazing!
After a quick snack of Cheez-Its, apples and PB&Js, we circled back to the original trail we were on. In total, it was about a six mile hike!
Because it began pouring rain (which offered a spectacular, foggy view of the valley), we watched the Ken Burns produced documentary about Yosemite.
Some quick history:
In 1864, the Yosemite Land Grant entrusted Yosemite Valley and Mariposa Grove to the state of California. It was remarkable that it went through, as it was right in the midst of the Civil War. But President Lincoln knew the importance of protecting our country to keep beautiful, natural areas from being developed or destroyed.
In 1872, Yellowstone became the first “national park”, as Wyoming was not yet a state, and the land had to be entrusted federally. This began a movement to protect Yosemite as a National Park as well, because the state began selling parts of the park to sheep herders and farmers. There was also an influx of uncontrolled tourists!
In 1890, the famed John Muir became enthralled with Yosemite, and started a quest to add over 1500 square miles to the protected park. He was extremely passionate and eventually garnered the attention of President Theodore Rooselvelt, who actually camped with John Muir in the park in the early 1900s.
In 1906, Yosemite was created as a National Park and in 1916, the National Park Service was created to preserve and protect our parks.
After exploring the Visitor’s Center (and getting our National Park Passport stamp, of course), we set up camp at Lower Pines Campground. However, it was so rainy, we could barely start a fire or set up our tent.
Since we didn’t want to get our tent muddy and wet, we ended up sleeping in our car! We’re good at improvising.
Sadly, this was our last day in Yosemite, and the last day of our honeymoon. Sad! To end the trip with a bang, we ate a fancy breakfast at the Majestic Yosemite Hotel. It was luxurious and had the best pancakes and waffles—with REAL maple syrup!
Driving out of the park towards Mariposa, we stopped at Bridalveil Fall, because it was so fitting!
Somehow we only got a picture of the gushing waterfall on our Polaroid camera….but trust us, it was beautiful! Driving out of the park toward Salinas, we sighed a breath of both sadness to leave, but inspiration for the future.
What an adventure we had. Three full weeks of exploring, driving, camping, talking, soaking in the moments, and most importantly being together. Taylor and I are beyond grateful for this experience and are already planning the next trip…so watch out, world! Here we come!