Yosemite (Travel Series #1)

Yosemite was our first stop on The Road Trip That Changed Everything (also known as The Road Trip That Inspired Our Van Life Ideas...yes, okay, maybe we should shorten the title). We took this trip back in April 2017 when we moved from San Diego, CA to Asheville, NC -- quite obviously taking several detours along the way through Northern California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, and Colorado. That's a fancy way of saying "we wanted to see as many National Parks as we could out West before we headed to the opposite side of the country." We took a full month and half and camped most places (we only had Nick's VW Jetta back then, stuffed to the brim with ALL of our possessions) and it was glorious. And occasionally cramped and constantly caffeinated. But hey, that's what the best memories are made of, amiright?

Anywho, we started in California with the famous Yosemite National Park. Now, considering that Yosemite is magnificent and awe-inspiring and mythical and jaw-dropping, we could go on about it all day (and night, and week, and month). But, in an effort to save you (and ourselves) from miniature novels, we're just going to share our favorite memories (The Highs), our most memorable challenges (The Not-So-Highs), and the best tips, tricks, & lessons we picked up along the way (What We Learned). And then we'll spam you with our photos because they're can never be too many pictures of beautiful places (and because we didn't take dozens of photos of El Cap for nothing...right...?). We'll also structure the rest of our travel posts this way so that they're easy to read without taking up too much time. We know you're very busy and important.

So without further ado...

The Highs

Renee: The raging waterfalls everywhere; Crying when I finally saw Tunnel View in person; Hiking to the top of Yosemite Falls without dying (barely made it, y'all); drinking wine by our campfire in Camp 4 every night, and meeting some amazing people with whom we are still friends (also, finding a spot at all in Camp 4 so that I could live out my Valley Uprising dreams).

Nick: Jumping in Mirror Lake (which was cold af) and the Merced River; Warm weather almost every day we were there; starting to hike the Yosemite Falls Trail in shorts and getting to the very top where we were almost knee deep in snow.

The Not-So-Highs

Renee: Thinking Nick was going to die when he jumped into the Merced River. Also, on our last night in the middle of the night, I woke up to what sounded like a vicious raccoon fight. I have never heard an animal make such terrifying screeching noises! We were obviously safely zipped into our tent, but I was awake for at least an hour expecting them to come ripping through the side door somehow (also, can I note that Nick slept through THE WHOLE THING?!).

Nick: Figuring out how to efficiently pack (and un-pack and re-pack) the Jetta; Camp 4 was partially flooded when we arrived, and since it's a walk-in-only site, we had to walk all of our gear through & around some massive puddles.

What We Learned

Renee: Steeper hikes have fewer tourists, and Camp 4 only takes cash [insert our story about frantically trying to find an ATM in the park before all of the spots filled up].

Nick: Camp 4 is only $6 per person, per night (which is a hell of a deal compared to the riverside cabins which ran about $100 per night).