Happy last week of August, folks! Can you believe we’re already two-thirds of the way through 2017?! That may or may not have been what spurred us to break from our usual lazy weekend routine and get out of the apartment for a day trip yesterday. I posted a picture on Instagram, but in case you missed it, we drove eight hours round-trip to hike in Yosemite and it was totally worth it.
Today, I thought I’d recap our trip and give you our suggestions for sightseeing and hiking in the park! We’ll definitely be back as Yosemite is huge and we hardly saw anything overall–and I’d love to camp next time–but I really loved the trail we picked yesterday, so I thought I’d share 🙂
We got up at 6 and hit the road at 7, because the drive from the Bay Area is long. We arrived around 11 and our first stop was the famous Tunnel View, a relatively quick drive from one of the park’s western entrances off of Highway CA 120.
We took a few pictures, but cleared out pretty quickly after that. The parking near Tunnel View was packed, and we wanted to spend most of our time somewhere less busy. We drove to a secluded parking lot a few miles away from the visitor center and ate our picnic lunch while enjoying the peace and quiet.
Columbia Rock Trail
After a bit of research, we’d picked the Columbia Rock trail as our main hike. It’s relatively short (about four miles round-trip) but has a huge elevation gain. My phone recorded 54 flights of stairs climbed during our hike, or ~540 feet! It’s definitely a moderate difficulty trail.
The first part of the hike is the hardest, full of switchbacks, and I had to stop several times to catch my breath. The trail is also already at elevation, which makes it more difficult. Eric is used to that, being from Colorado, but this Minnesotan is not. Phew.
A little over a mile into the hike, the switchbacks stop and the trail becomes much smoother and more scenic. We stopped a few times to get some pictures. Next time, I’m bringing a better camera than my iPhone! It was sunny but smoky, as you can probably tell from my pictures.
The view from Columbia Rock is incredible–definitely worth the work it takes to get there!
As we headed back down the trail, we ran into a lot of people sweating and breathing hard. It warmed up quickly after noon, so I’d suggest tackling the trail earlier in the day. It’s a hard enough hike without the extra heat. It took us just about two hours from start to finish.
Then we headed home. We grabbed Chipotle along the way, and I Skyped a faraway friend once we got back to the apartment. The perfect ending to a perfect day! Yosemite marks my sixth new National Monument/Park of the year! (See Mount Rushmore, the Great Sand Dunes, Mesa Verde, and the Grand Canyon. We also visited Muir Woods with my dad & co. a few weeks ago!) I wonder how many more we can hit before the end of 2017?
What did you get up to this weekend? And what’s your favorite natural place to go nearby your home?