Finishing up our three day tour of San Francisco we head back to the airport to get our rental car, a black convertible Ford Mustang. Patrick was dead set on a Mustang convertible before we even arrived in the USA. At the time I just laughed at his request because it seemed very out of character for him to want that car. It turned out to be the best decision we made the whole trip.
The Eastern California countryside was not what I expected and definitely not what I’m used too. Growing up on the East Coast of the USA the scenery of spring and summer was always decorated in vibrant shades of green. Eastern California on the other had seems to live in a perpetual shade of golden yellow. The rolling hills were carpeted in long golden grasses, which contrasted heavily with the cloudless blue sky.
On our drive into the mountains we stopped off to take pictures several times because the vies were amazing. As the terrain changed from slightly hilly to straight up going up the sides of mountains we just got more excited to get to Yosemite Valley. The drive itself to the valley was very relaxing. Driving through the mountains and nature like that just gave me a sense of calm being so far away from civilization. I kept thinking about what it was like for the first settlers exploring out west and seeing the beauty of the mountains and the challenges of navigating the terrain around them. Once of the things I loved about going so far out was that Patrick and I didn’t have phone service. We were able to just enjoy each other and what was around us without having to text, call, post photos or send updates. The only time I used my iPhone was to take pictures.
In total it was about a 3.5 -4 hour drive to Yosemite National Park from San Francisco. I wanted to take a photo with the Yosemite sign, but Patrick was driving like a mad man and we were going to fast and missed the turn off. After entering the park it took us about another 30 minutes to get down to Yosemite Valley. There were lots of points to stop off and get pictures.
Half Dome in the back settled between two mountains.
When we arrived to the Yosemite Valley it was packed with people and cars! For some reason I had the idea that Yosemite was just going to be like your average state park. A couple stop offs here and there for trails and viewpoints, you pick and choose what hikes you want to go on and Bob’s your uncle. Well we spent 30-40 just looking for a parking space. Yosemite Valley was a lot more touristy than I originally imagined, and we were only able to go on one hike because all the hikes were long 6-8 hour trips. We only just arrived around 2:30 and we still had to drive all the way back out of Yosemite to to our hotel.
We decided to leave the valley around 4:30/5pm so that we had time to check in to our hotel and get dinner before it was dark. I definitely want to go back to Yosemite Valley and explore a bit more. Overall, we didn’t have enough time there to hike more trails and see a few more things that we would have like to, but that just means we can plan another trip!
To stay in Yosemite you need to book about a year in advance because all of the accommodation gets booked up in the summer months. We unfortunately didn’t book a year in advance and had to find a hotel in a town outside of Yosemite. That is how we ended up in the quaint little town of Mariposa, California. We checked into our hotel and walked down the main street to check things out. We found a pretty cool bar called The Alley and we went in to have a beer, myself a wine.
We ended up going to get pizza for dinner and it was literally the best decision. I’m all giggles after my wine and super hungry since we forgot lunch and then this magnificent pizza came out and it was the most delicious thing I had ever tasted. Patrick and I walked back to our hotel and called it a night. Tomorrow we were headed to the see the Giant Sequoias, Tuolumne Meadows, & drive the Tioga Pass!