Yosemite NP is one of the most impressive national parks in the United States, if not the world. Mark and I visited Yosemite Valley once before with my parents, in 2005, but we had mostly forgotten about its allure. That being said, when we returned to California in mid-October, the park regained a spot on our mental “things-to-do” list. We considered a weekend getaway there during our three-month house sit in Rocklin, but winter was upon us and the dog we were taking care of did not get along well with others, so we pushed Yosemite into a corner of our brains. That was until my cousin Griet and her husband Wim decided to fly in from Belgium for a 10-day vacation in Northern California. They generously treated us and Lola to a weekend in Yosemite.
Dogs are allowed in the park and on certain trails, but they are prohibited in buildings, lodges and even some camps. The only way to bring Lola with us was to stay in particular campgrounds or in a hotel outside park boundaries. In the beginning of April, it was still freezing at night in the valley, so sleeping in our tent was out of the question. The only alternative was to find a dog-friendly place an hour away from the park entrance, with another half hour added to reach Yosemite Valley, where most of the attractions are located.
We found our hotel in Mariposa (the hotels do take advantage of pet occupants by charging a steep nightly fee for them) and decided to spend three nights there, to make the most of our weekend days, each involving three hours of car travel.
The five of us left Sebastopol on a Friday after lunch. The promise of a sunny weekend – the warmest of this year so far – had everyone out on the roads to reach their destination. Instead of four hours, it took us almost six to enter Mariposa and check into our room. On Saturday and Sunday, we fully submerged ourselves in Yosemite National Park, gazing at waterfalls, walking the trails, staring up steep cliffs and down beautiful valleys and taking hundreds of photos. The absence of spring flowers, the closure of a few sites and construction in parts of the park did not deter the heaps of visitors. “Quiet” times in the park were before 10am and after 4pm.
On Monday, Griet, Wim and I explored the town of Mariposa for a bit, while Mark caught up on Wirie work in the hotel room. Then, we drove back home by ways of Columbia State Historic Park in the Southern Gold Country, which is yet for another blog post. 🙂
Have you ever been to Yosemite National Park? What do you remember of it?