Sunday, July 22, 2012

Road Trip Day 12: Yosemite National Park

El Capitan
We had a long drive today, as we made our way north towards Yosemite National Park. It was hot out, so probably a good day to be in the air conditioned car driving to the next destination. We decided to go to Yosemite because I had never been there and Jen had only been there briefly when she was younger. There is a famous hike called Half Dome that we were planning to conquer the following day, so the goal for today was to get to the park, find a campsite, and check out where we had to go within the park to complete our hike.

East entrance of Yosemite National Park
Yosemite N. P.
It took us about 6 hours on a state highway that was positioned between Death Valley and the Sierra Nevadas. It was an interesting drive, but uneventful, which is always a plus when driving so far. We entered Yosemite on the east side of the park and it was beautiful. It is a huge park, with lots of wilderness area. The fire bans weren't as strict here, so it was definitely more green than the Grand Canyon or Zion had been. It took us about an hour to drive across the park and find a campsite that was still available. We ended up staying in the Tamarack Flats Campground. It was three miles off the main road, down a winding, one land road, way back in the trees. It was actually kind of creepy, but the campground was filling up quickly, so we grabbed a spot, set up camp, and headed to the Yosemite Visitors Center to check out everything.

Half Dome
Lower Yosemite Falls
The Visitors Center was another half hour or so through the park, but we got there, took a short hike to Lower Yosemite Falls, and got some great pictures. We also had some great views of Half Dome, which just got us even more excited for the following day. We stopped into the lodge to ask about the hike and figure out where the trail head was...and we met one of the national park workers. Many of them have hiked Half Dome multiple times, so it was a good was to find out what we were in for. After hearing his explanation of the hike to Half Dome, I was scared. I know I'm not in top physical form, but I also know what I'm capable of...this made me really nervous! Oh well, we were that was that!

From there, it was getting later in the evening, so we decided to head back to camp, have some dinner and get our packs ready for the next morning. Knowing that the hike would take us 10-12 hours, we wanted to get an early start, so it was an even earlier bedtime. Good night!

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