I shared some photos on Instagram of my weekend in Yosemite National park with Amy and her husband, Andrew, but I feel like it wouldn’t be the same if I didn’t share a few blog posts about our weekend in the Sierras. There are a few hundred photos between the four of us (don’t worry, Alex was there, too!) so narrowing them down to one blog post is impossible, so I decided to share more photos in future posts.
Amy and Kam go to Yosemite
Who: Amy, Andrew, Alex, and Kam
What: Camping, bouldering, hiking, and plenty of photo-taking
When: August 9-11, 2013
Where: Yosemite National Park in California. We camped in Crane Flat Campground, visited the Valley floor, wandered around Camp 4, hiked the 4 mile trail, ate ice cream at Glacier Point, and drove more than we’d like to think about
Why: Alex and I planned 3 trips to Yosemite earlier this year and as we put in for 6 people to be at our walk-in campsite, we invited Amy and Andrew (before Alex even met them IRL) to spend the weekend with us. Also: Why not
Alex and I were on the road at 4:16 a.m. on Friday even though we told Amy and Andrew we would be heading out around 9:00 a.m. We’re liars. Alex and I live about an hour and a half south of their house and with Greater Los Angeles between us and our destination, we knew that an earlier start would be our best option. I feverishly DMed Amy about a few kitchen items we forgot to bring while Alex drove most of the way to the park. We only stopped a few times to get breakfast and to get some gas, and we made it to the park at 10:18 a.m. – and didn’t have any reception to tell anybody of our arrival.
Amy and Andrew didn’t get to our campsite until about 4:00 p.m. that afternoon, so Alex and I essentially had a whole day without them. We drove directly to the Valley floor and began navigating our way to various bouldering spots highlighted in the Yosemite Valley Bouldering book Alex picked up. We ended up in Camp 4, a popular campground for climbers during the cooler months (a.k.a. not summer) and tried our hand at some problems on Little Columbia and another set of problems closer to the Yosemite Falls trail. We gawked at the famous Midnight Lightening route on Big Columbia and entertained the other tourists with our giant crash pads strapped to our backs.
There are so many people in Yosemite this time of the year that I was dying to return to our usual Tuolumene Meadows, which isn’t as saturated with tourists and nature walks…also, it is much cooler at the higher elevations. Thank goodness I was stuck getting a campsite in Crane Flat Campground – it was much more relaxed than the sardine-can-like campsites in the more popular Valley.
A little about our campground: Getting reservations for camping spots in Yosemite National Park is harder than getting Comic-Con San Diego passes. No, really. It’s a virtual let-down as everything sells out in a matter of moments and the seed of “this place is soo far!” is planted into my head as I reserve a space at some random campground that may as well be outside the park. I’m so happy we didn’t get anything in the Valley. Crane Flat Campground is about a 20 minute drive from Yosemite Village and is located near the entrance from San Francisco. It’s across the street from a gas station/small store, and is at the junction that leads toward Tuolumene Meadows and Highway 395 (which leads to our favorite place: Mammoth Lakes). As I reserved our site, I was nervous that we would be on top of our neighbors so I opted for a walk-in site…which means you aren’t camping right next to your car, it’s about 100 feet away from you. In our case, our cars were up a hill and we could barely see them from our site – perfection. We didn’t have a neighbor on one side (that we could tell) and the neighbor to the other side left after our first night…oh, and our site backed up against a beautiful meadow that just happened to have a few deer hanging out in at at all times. Yes, this is Yosemite, so we had a bear locker, a fire ring, and a picnic table in our site. The campground had flushing toilets, ample water spigots, recycling and trash bins away from campsites, and some ranger activities. It was awesome.
On Friday, we showed Andrew how to boulder a bit. Our campground had so many awesome boulders and so we played on a few small ones in our campsite. We had vegetarian chili for dinner and sat around the campfire chatting about blogging, music, and our plans for the next day.
Saturday was a long day — we woke up early enough to enjoy a small fire and hot breakfast. Alex brought his aeropress to make coffee for the group and I embarrassed myself by eating the cheese-filled sausage Amy brought…super un-ladylike. We decided that the best way to get some great views was to head out to Glacier Point and tackle the popular 4 mile hike (clever name, right?) that goes from the top of the canyon to the Valley floor. The views were awesome and the weather was perfect as we headed down to the vista point about 1.9 miles from the trailhead. The group was interested in finishing the hike and being cheap, I volunteered to hike back to the trailhead to get the car and drive down to the Valley to pick everybody up (there is a shuttle that will take you from the bottom to the top and vice versa, but it is $25 per person). Amy kept me company, but I’m sure she would’ve loved to see the views on the way to the floor rather than trudge up the switchbacks. At least we got some ice cream at the top.
After hiking, we needed food so we braved traffic to get into the Village to see if there was anything reasonable — I found a kids hamburger for $5 since Alex laid claim to the quinoa salad we brought. We spent more time in the Village since Amy & Andrew didn’t get to see much of it the day before and we didn’t really have enough daylight left to start another hike. When we made it back to our campsite, we played Cards Against Humanity and relaxed until it was time to eat. Dinner was spicy ramen with plenty of vegetables – so good when the sun goes down and you need something to keep you warm!
Sunday morning was all about cleaning up and getting out early enough to enjoy a nice hot breakfast outside the park. After what felt like the longest drive ever, Alex and I pulled into Denny’s and hoped Amy and Andrew didn’t think we were crazy — crazy smart, maybe! Our waitress was adorable, the food was hot, and we finally had reception. What can I say? Having both Amy and me away from our emails the first weekend we opened up registration for 30 Days of Lists was a little scary!
Do you enjoy camping with friends?
Have you gone on trips with people you’ve met on the internet?
What I’m wearing in the photos, because somebody may ask: From the top: black tanktop (I think it is this one from Walmart – I own 2 and they’re amazing), Omni-shade shorts from Columbia Sportswear (can’t find them online but these are cuter), Marshall Waterproof hiking shoes c/o Keen Footwear, purple I02 Fusion hoodie from Columbia Sporswear, REI Aldervale Rol-Up Pants, jade Dryflex Double Cross tank by Stonewear Designs, Clearwater CNX sandals by Keen Footwear, Evolv women’s drip tanktop