“The mountains are calling and I must go.”
Recently, I had the pleasure of visiting Yosemite National Park. My girlfriend saw that I was stressed out from work and suggested taking some time off. What I thought was going to be a few days of lounging around the house turned into a surprise trip to Yosemite.
In Yosemite Valley, cell phones are useless. My girlfriend thought I would go crazy without being able to go on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, I was actually pleasantly surprised by how much not being able to use those services made me feel, well, better.
I was able to take in the vistas, the clean air and the sounds of the wilderness. I was able to listen to the rushing water from the falls and I was able to look up and enjoy the day and night’s sky.
We booked our stay in Yosemite’s Half Dome Village (previously called Curry Village). The prices vary based on whether or not you want to have a heater in your tent and believe me, the heaters work. Half Dome Village or Housekeeping is a more budget-friendly alternative to the Lodge or the Majestic Yosemite Hotel (previously called The Ahwahnee)
Yosemite can get crowded so heading off on your own can save you the headache of dealing with long lines and crowds in the more tourist-friendly areas such as Glacier Point and Yosemite Falls. Of course, you should see these as well, so if you want to see them consider heading out early. Which brings me to –
Some tips on Yosemite:
- If you are going to fly, fly into Fresno, CA
- Bring comfortable walking/hiking shoes
- Dress for the weather, Yosemite can be very cold and very hot depending on the time of year.
- There will be bugs, take appropriate precautions such as repellent or medication for stings and bites.
- DO NOT FEED THE ANIMALS: The fine for feeding the wildlife can be upwards of $5000.00 also it is dangerous to get to close to the wildlife, to begin with.
- If you are going to go on a hike, make sure to bring plenty of water: We made the miscalculation of how much water to bring when we hiked the Yosemite Valley Trail. We figured a bottle a piece would suffice, it did not.
- Use a real map of the valley: When you first come to Yosemite, you will be given a general map of the valley from Guest Services, this will help you find the shopping center but it will not help you find your way out in the valley. Go to REI before heading out and pick up a few maps, the more recent the better, and familiarize yourself with the lay of the land.
- Pay attention to signs.
- Do not keep food in your cabin or in your vehicle. The fine for doing so is also $5000.00. Food and scented items like deodorant should be kept in the provided lockers, along with a good lock to keep the locker closed.
- With that in mind, bring your own food. While food services are provided, it is expensive to eat/drink in Yosemite, bring your own food and save the money for souvenirs.
I can not recommend highly enough visiting Yosemite National Park and the other National Parks but I think Yosemite will always have a special place in my heart because it was the first National Park I have ever visited and fallen in love with.