If you missed my post from Day 1 of our West Coast Trip you can find it here.
Here’s our jam packed day #2! I woke up totally discombobulated from very little sleep, but we still managed to be out of the hotel by 6:30 am. We were eager to get to Yosemite and begin our Yosemite Day before the crowds since we were there during the summer; peak season.
The week before we were there President Obama and his family were at Yosemite. We had read that he had donuts from Donuts a Go Go down the street from our hotel. It gets really great ratings, but unfortunately it didn’t open till 7am. We didn’t have time to wait around so we went to the convenience store next door for some prepackaged muffins and donuts.
Our drive into Yosemite was nice; not much traffic. We enjoyed the views and we were all buzzing with anticipation to see one of God’s most amazing creations.
We arrived to the park before the attendant was there was we didn’t have to pay the entrance fee.
We stopped to get some pics and I’ll tell you its a bit overwhelming and truly breath-taking.
This made me laugh!
Once we got to the center of the park, we went to the visitor center, which was not open yet. After much walking around trying to find a place that was open, we finally found out we were supposed to go to the Tour & Activities office.
We got our tickets and realized that when Rob booked our tours a few weeks before he had booked the wrong date for one of our tours by accident. We had booked the Valley Floor Tour for that day, but had booked the Glacier Point Bus Tour for the next day which was wrong. We had planned to do both tours that day since we were supposed to leave first thing the next morning. The lady at the tour desk was unable to change it because everything for that day was booked. More on that later…
We had a little time to kill before our first tour so we walked around a little and enjoyed watching some super fat squirrels and some type of blue bird we’d never seen before!
The Valley Floor Tour is a 2 hour, very informative tour of Yosemite Valley on an open-air tram (pictured below).
There’s a Park Ranger that sits facing you, and she spends much of the time telling intriguing stories and giving tons of interesting facts about Yosemite.
During the valley floor tour, our guide talked about bears, trees, history, rock climbing, and more.
We learned about the 1997 catastrophic flood that occurred at Yosemite.
Here you see Alex standing under the sign for height reference.
This was our guide. She was awesome!
This is Tunnel View, which by the way was very, very crowded. We managed to get some decent shots without a gazillion people in it.
Just could not get enough of this amazing place! Or pics of it for that matter.
Here’s a video of some of the sites we took in during the Valley Floor Tour.
After getting off the tour we headed inside Yosemite Lodge for lunch. Then, Yosemite Tour Desk opens up a waiting list for tours about an hour before each tour, so we went to get on the it since we had messed up our original reservation. From there we hung out in front of the lodge to see if the bus was going to have room for us. They were able to take all the people that were on the waiting list so that was exciting!
The Glacier Point Tour is a four-hour round-trip tour to Glacier Point and back. We opted for the 1-way ticket so we rode the bus up and hiked down. On the bus ride up, our bus driver who was also the tour guide shared more interesting facts and stories.
So many gorgeous views
Here we go!
I plan to write several more posts about Yosemite, but just let me tell you. This nearly 5 mile hike down is no joke if you’re not in great shape. It’s super hard on your knees especially. It is imperative that you bring at least 2 quarts of water with you for each person and take time to drink it. I wasn’t drinking enough so several time I felt like I might hurl.
Eventually, I handed my camera over to Drew and he got some shots of us on the hike. For anyone who knows me, they know I don’t often give up my camera so this was a big sign that I was feeling pretty bad.
I was still managing a smile.
If you were to ask me if I would do it again, my answer would be yes. However, I would take the bus up on the earliest offered tour and make that my activity for the day. I would pack a lunch and snacks.
The terrain at times is quite rocky like this, but for the most part it’s pretty smooth.
Here’s a video of views from Glacier Point and then the parts of our 4.5 mile hike down to the Valley Floor.
When we finally got down to the valley floor, we had to walk a ways to get on a bus so we could find food.
When we were walking, we watched this girl go into nearly waist high grasses to follow these deer. Have you never seen deer before?
When we finally got down to the valley floor, we hopped on a bus towards food. We talked to some folks on the bus who told us what was still open and which stop to get off at. Luckily, there was still a pizza place open and it was near where we were staying that night. I ordered while Rob checked us in. We scarfed down some pizza and then headed over to our tent for the evening.
We had reservations to stay at Half Dome Village (Curry Village) which are tents right there in the park. That evening we got everything put into the bear box located outside of our tent and laid down to listen to a baby crying. It finally stopped and we had a restful night of sleep considering how absolutely exhausted we all were. It got nice and cold and we all ended up needing both blankets that were provided.
Here’s our tent. You’ll see the bear box to the right of the door.
If you didn’t get enough pics of Day 2, there’s a gazillion more here.
See all the posts from our West Coast trip as well as the full itinerary and even a travel booklet for the whole family to enjoy along the way!
Some other great resources about Yosemite:
National Park Service
Yosemite: The Complete Guide: Yosemite National Park (Color Travel Guide)
Lonely Planet Yosemite, Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks (Travel Guide)
Yosemite National Park (National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map)