Claire's Weekend Escape to Yosemite

All of our team riders have started heading out on adventures this summer. Claire tells us about her weekend road trip to Yosemite:

After a long winter I am ready to explore the outdoors with warm weather and good friends. To start my 2012 summer off right, we drove out to Yosemite National Park.

My boyfriend Merrick and I left Tahoe at 7:00 am to drive 184.89 miles to Yosemite. After meeting up with a couple of friends we finally reached beautiful Yosemite. The views were breath taking; waterfalls in every direction you look. Massive rocks that tower above you, with a green valley below. With a long day of driving the four of us were eager to put the hiking shoes on and hit the trail. We parked the car and took the free shuttle to Happy Isle where the Mist Trail began. The Mist Trail is 1.5 miles to Vernal Waterfall. Once reaching the top of the falls, we relaxed in the sun for about an hour till we decided to ascend to the top of the upper section of Vernal Falls. After the steep switch backs, we were right below Half Dome. The four of us spent a while looking out over the top of the powerful falls. An hour before sun set we headed back down to the Yosemite Valley. Since we arrived late we were unable to find any camping spots. We were forced to drive 45 minutes to Indian Flats where we paid $40 to camp along Hwy 104L.

6:30am I woke to the sounds of the river and rushing cars. This motivated me to pack up and get my day started. Merrick and I drove back to Yosemite to try and reserve a camping spot and hope for someone to cancel so we could camp inside the park. After putting our names on the list we decided to hike the Upper Yosemite Falls trail. This trail was 3.5 miles that had steep switchbacks that led to an amazing overview of the Yosemite Valley and the falls.

I recommend that everyone take a weekend trip to Yosemite and hike these two trails. After descending the Upper Yosemite falls trail, our legs were so tired. We went back to the ranger’s office to see if we got a camp site; unfortunately there were only 15 cancellations. We were 18 on the list. So we took a bus to the trail head of Mirror Lake. This was a mile hike on a paved road, an easy walk that followed the creek. When we reached the Lake, half dome was towering over us. We relaxed by the water for a while discussing where we were going to lay our heads that night. We were going to try one more time, but the ranger's office was closed. Luckily, we ran into a couple who just decided to give us their site. Merrick and I ended up getting a free camp site all to ourselves. We grabbed a bottle of wine and made s'mores... a perfect way to end the day.

We woke up on Sunday around 8:00am, packed up our gear, and slowly drove out of Yosemite stopping along the way to take pictures. It took us about an hour and a half to reach hwy 395. We made one last stop at Mono Lake before returning to Tahoe. Mono Lake is an unusual lake in California that has saltwater instead of fresh water. It is alkaline, with a pH of 10, and almost three times as salty as the ocean. The seagulls feed on Brine Shrimp at this lake.

3:00pm we finally arrived back in South Lake Tahoe; drove directly to Zephyr Cove, one of the beaches at Tahoe, and fell asleep in the sun.

I hope you all make it to Yosemite this summer! – Claire Hewitt-Demeyer


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