/ travel

Day 15 - Hiking & soaking

So we did manage to get up at 6am this morning. After an OKish sleep (quite cool here) we were up, ready and into the car by 6.30. The roads were so quiet with only a few people about. We went straight for tunnel view but unfortunately as the sun was still quite low it was in the worst spot for photos so had to leave that for later. We carried on driving up to Glacier Point. Along the road 3 deer ran across the road in front of us, lots of chipmunks and a few californian ground squirrels - luckily we didn't hit any. We arrived at Glacier Point (7214ft) and parked up before walking out to the viewpoint. We were the only ones there which was awesome, so could take lots of pics and have breakfast of trail mix whilst sitting on the rocks. We could see into the valley and all the famous points - Half dome, Yosemite falls, etc. Apparently this is a good place to spot bears but sadly we didn't :(. After being harassed by chipmunks for our food we decided to drive to the trail head for sentinel dome, a moderate 2.2mile hike.

We parked up and headed out to the dome which would take us up to an elevation of 8100ft. It was a fantastic easy walk, with views all around. The view of Yosemite Falls in particular was amazing. At the top was also one of the worlds most famous dead trees - the Jeffrey Pine. After taking lots of photos we walked back to the car and drove off to Mariposa Grove. Here there are hundreds of giant Sequoias, where we went for a walk to the Grizzly Giant. The trees are HUGE, and the Grizzly Giant in particular is the 25th largest giant sequoia living today. It's approx 209ft tall with a circumference of 96.5ft. It was hard to get pics of them as the photos just don't show how big they really are.

From Road Trip USA
We decided to start heading back into the valley as the car park here was already full as it was a Saturday.

On the way we stopped off at Tunnel View again, this time the lot was full and there was a queue. People were just sat in their cars eating which was kinda frustrating as most people just wanna take a few pics as this is probably the most photographed spot of Yosemite. We carried on a couple hundred yards and luckily there was loads of parking spaces long the road so we stopped there and walked back up. We both had our photos and then we got a photo taken of the both us.

From Road Trip USA
After a quick stop we got back in the car to go back to our tent for lunch which consisted of muffins.. The traffic started to build to a crawl, and after a while we saw signs saying lane closed as there were flood warnings. It took us nearly an hour to get through it all and in to the campground. We thought it was best to stay here for a while as it was way too busy to get anywhere.

At around 4pm we went off to the shuttle stop because we thought the traffic would be too bad to drive in. 3 buses full later we decided to give up and just drive as there was no chance we'd get on a bus anytime soon. Not such a good idea as the traffic was still really bad. We drove to the Ahwahnee Hotel, which is where Stanley Kubrick's 'The Shining' hotel was modelled on. We walked around and saw the huge fireplace and the creepy looking elevators. As we were leaving we heard some Americans chatting, saying that Prince William and Kate should come stay here on their tour.

We then went to Yosemite falls, the highest waterfall in the US and the 6th highest in the world (2425ft). We chose to do the 0.5m walk just to the lower falls as it was around 5pm and were getting hungry. This is a definite must do!! We got to the falls and it was so loud and the wind and spray was freeeezing!

From Road Trip USA
It was really busy which kinda sucked but we got some pictures before spotting people on the rocks right up to the waterfall. So yeah we decided to do the same.. which was amazing! We climbed over the rocks and were absolutely soaked through but was well worth it. Once we got back down we could finally hear again and as we were walking back to the car we were getting some odd/worried looks.

We got back to the tent to change in to some dry clothes before heading out to Curry village for some pizza. We paid $20 for a 16inch pizza. Was pretty busy here so had to eat it at our tent, with a warm beer thanks to the bear boxes getting so hot. After the feast of pizza we headed to bed early again at around 10pm. Could've spent a lot longer here exploring but off to San Francisco tomorrow which we are both excited about!!

S.