The second phase of our trip brought us to a drastically different setting.
Yosemite National Park
Unfortunately, Day 3 was driving to Yosemite National Park. With bad hangovers, this was a bit of a struggle, but we made it there in about 4 hours, with JJGO (Jordan Jesse Go!) making this drive much more tolerable than it would have otherwise been. I chose to take Hwy 140 into the park over Hwy 120 because I read that the roads were less technical. We stopped for Mexican food in Mariposa, just before entering the park. I also started having a very stuffy nose, which worsened as the day progressed.
Yosemite is beautiful but almost intimidating, with its towering rock walls surrounding the valley. Definitely drive up to Tunnel View (below) for spectacular views. We were originally planning to hike from Glacier Point our second day there (also incredible views), but due to the snowpack, the road wasn’t open yet, so we audibled to the strenuous Upper Yosemite Falls hike.
We stayed at Half Dome Village, in a heated tent. They also have camping grounds, cabins, stores, and a food stand. The tent was very simple: just a bed and some shelves, with a bear box outside, but the heater was much appreciated when the temperature dropped into the 30s that night.
We had dinner that night and breakfast (buffet!) in the morning at the Majestic Yosemite Hotel. Imagine the hotel from The Shining, but without all the ghosts. At over $400 a night, it’s definitely the most luxury you will experience in a national park. We felt out of place with jeans and flannels at this fancy dinner (I had no idea). I also had to excuse myself several times during dinner to blow my nose. At this point, it sunk in that I had caught a cold, and our planned hike the next day seemed less and less possible for me.
To get around the park, we used the Yosemite shuttle or our rental car, having to take a roundabout way back to Half Dome Village due to road construction.
We were able to see Lower Yosemite Falls (very short, easy hike), and the next day we took the Mist Trail to Vernal Falls and back, totaling about 3 miles. The Mist Trail is paved, but pretty steep in some spots. The views were magnificent and the falls were so close you needed a rain jacket.
Due to my cold, we ended up checking out of Half Dome Village a day early. I didn’t see sleeping in the tent as a good way to rest and get better. They had great customer service and gave us a refund for the night we were to miss.
Mike drove us back to San Francisco, where we arrived at around 5:00 PM. He headed back out on foot and got us some excellent ramen from Katana Ya. I took this opportunity to relax, let my body heal, and do laundry. Staying in for the night and watching Food Network was just what we both needed.
Our trip only gets better from here. Stay tuned for the daring conclusion!