We could only afford the $200/night yurt for one night, so we checked out in the morning and drove out to the “end” of the valley near the Upper Pines campground. The goal was to hike one or both of Vernal and Nevada falls, an area of the park we had not explored at all on the last visit.
The day almost got derailed when I dragged the car across a rather large but inconspicuous rock in the parking lot. I didn’t see any oil leaks, but it is possible that the life of the oil pan was reduced slightly by the mishap.
Vernal falls is the first falls heading up the Merced river out of Yosemite Valley. It’s steep, but paved up to a bridge where you can view the falls, so it gets a lot of foot traffic. The trail to the falls itself was a bit more rugged, but there were still a lot of people, particularly as things slowed down right around the falls. The slower moving also meant it was going to be nearly impossible to get through without getting pretty wet from the falls. We both had raincoat options with us, and it was a relatively warm day so it wasn’t really an issue. Continue reading
We knew that Yosemite was going to be busy even though it was early in the season, every information website we found told us so. But, they have first-come camping at Camp 4 that we thought we’d get in line for when they opened as we had done at the Grand Canyon. So, we got up early, dumped the tent in the car and headed up to Yosemite.
We pulled in just before 9:00 when they opened only to discover that the line had apparently started some time before. We got in line anyway. The story from the others in line was that there were 69 spots and numbers had been given out up to 65. Counting, we were somewhere in the low 70’s in line. It appeared they were assigning spots as people checked out for the day, so we would have had to wait until 11:00 or so just to see if we could get a spot. This forced the big splurge of the trip in booking one of the Yurts in Half Dome Village for the night at almost $200 / night.
There is no way the Yurts or staying in the village was worth $200, and honestly, I wouldn’t recommend it. The biggest benefit was access to the showers (also accessible for $5 regardless of campsite), which was admittedly nice since we had camped the two nights prior. The benefits to having established a place to stay was that we weren’t going to have to drive an hour or more out of the park to find somewhere to sleep that night and we were free to actually make use of the day rather than stand in line to play the odds on getting a camp site. Continue reading