Yosemite National Park: Bobcats, Waterfalls & Views on Views!
WHEN DID I GO: August 19, 2017
WHY DID I GO: USA Road Trip - checking out Cali before heading home to Seattle!
HOW LONG WAS I THERE: About 5 hours or so
WHERE DID I STAY: Acorn Campground, New Hogan Lake, Valley Springs, CA
The bobcat. Before we talk about anything else, the bobcat was amazing! Literally right after I parked my car I started walking toward Yosemite Village to check out a map and use the restroom. As I was walking along, a crowd started gathering by the side of the trail. I kind of rolled my eyes thinking that they were excited about a deer. This had literally been the story of my trip so far. People getting excited about ANY animal they saw. It could be a squirrel or a deer and they would stop to take pictures. But in this case, I was mistaken. I looked over and in the clearly was this small cat crouched down in the long grass eating something. It was a fricken bobcat! So I dropped my bag, got out my camera (and the big zoom!) and started snapping as many pictures as I could. The cat didn't seem to care that there were at least 30 people watching it or that it was less than a 0.25 mile from the most populated place in the National Park. It just sat their eating it's snack. Then, it sat up and looked around for a period of time before trotting away down the trail, passing more awe-struck pedestrians as it went. It was incredible! And the pictures are still some of my favorite pictures I took the whole trip!
Yosemite Falls. I was a little tuckered out and sore from my Lake Tahoe hike today, so I opted to start my day off with an easy hike to lower Yosemite falls. It was basically a flat, paced half mile, but I was fine with that! I love waterfalls and I'd seen upper Yosemite Falls on the way in, so I was really excited to see the lower falls up-close. It was really pretty. There were a lot of people, yes, and it was damn near impossible to get a picture without people in it. But anytime I can snap photos of a waterfall is a win for me!
Simply exploring. This is one of the only times on this whole trip that I let myself just explore. I didn't go in with a map or a plan about what hike I wanted to do and what things I wanted to see. I didn't know anything about Yosemite really before I had gotten here or what there was to see or do. And to have that relaxation and that go-with-the-flow ease finally after what had essentially been two full weeks of go-go-go was really nice. So if you're planning a road trip or a national park adventure, make sure you give yourself some time to simply explore.
Moments of solitude amidst the crowds. Yosemite was crowded. Thank you to the random lady we met at Bryce Canyon who had mentally prepared me for that. There was traffic getting in, it was hard to find a parking place, some of the attractions were pretty crowded. But, you know, I was amazed at how easy it was to find solitude. I went out to this little spit of land adjacent to the river and just ate lunch in complete peace and quiet (with the occasional raft floating by and providing me entertainment!). Between that and hiking to some of the more distant parts of the part (instead of busing), I was really able to enjoy the nature, the good weather (which didn't turn until I left!), and of course the beautiful views. So, if you're in Yosemite and getting sick of people and crowds, just walk away from Yosemite Village, really in any direction and just go until you find a beautiful, quiet spot and enjoy! :-)
Missing Half Dome. Chock this one up to simply not being prepared and/or not wanting to do this hike by myself, but if I had been a better planner, Half Dome would have happened on this trip! However, I'm putting it out there right now, that I WILL be back to this gorgeous place and I WILL hike Half Dome in the future!
Note long enough. If I could do Yosemite over again, I would skip Sequoia and the Redwoods and just spend more time here. I would hike up to Upper Yosemite. I would do Half Dome, I would raft the river. I would do so many of the hikes that I thought about doing, but didn't have time (or frankly the motivation). This is a place to come back to for sure, and if you're going I suggest you spend at least 2 full days if not more.