I had a great time in Florida catching up with my family November 7th to the 11th splitting time between the beach and working.  I flew back to Sacramento, CA on Thursday November 11th. I spent the morning Friday working on my hotel and was able to get a late checkout of 1pm.

Yosemite had been on my list to visit and with some great weather this weekend it was now or never. I had been emailing Brian, a friend of mine from work who’s sister works at Yosemite. She relayed some ideas for camping and trails that were still accessible this time of year. Unfortunately camping was all booked and there were not first come first serve campsites in the park. I was able find a motel lodge about an hour away from the park and drove there on Friday and arrived around 4.

I spent the night researching trails, catching up on work and thinking about the remaining part of my trip and made some decisions for the next 3 weeks destinations and planning my trip back. My house was going much slower than I would have liked and seemed to run into a complications at every step. This had been weighting heavily on me the last month and the chances of moving in before the end of the year faded daily. When I originally left, I was hoping to be back by Thanksgiving!! I brushed this off but had still decided  I was going back to Wisconsin in mid-December. More to come on the rest of my plans on the way back. I also found a great craft brewery 15 minutes from my motel

I arrived at Yosemite on Saturday around 10am after the 1 hour drive. Parking was pretty tight but I was able to find a spot that added about a half mile to my hike.

On Brian’s sisters recommendation I decided to hike the Mist Trail loop that stops at the Vernal Falls and Nevada Falls. The trail started as a paved trail that was pretty step and busy, the crowds started to fall of bit when the pavement ended but it was still pretty busy. The trail up was very steep with a man made stone ‘staircase’ at many of the switchbacks that alternated between the dirt trail. The climb was challenging at times and I ascended 2100 feet. The views of the mountains and valley were beautiful. The fall color changes were in full effect and added to the natural beauty.

Both of the waterfalls were stunning and it was a trail their views start from afar and have them become more gigantic as you approached them. The first waterfall was the Vernal water and was still pretty busy with people but the sight was great. The last ascent to Nevada considerable thinned out the crowd and was very steep. I along with most of the people on the trail stopped many times to collect ourselves and passed each other many times. I also need to mention the views of all the geology and the mountains walls along the way, so amazing. I finally reached the Nevada Falls after ascending 2,194 feet and it was worth it. The crowd was much thinner and the waterfall was beautiful

As I ascended down the other side of the loop trail I had to stop many times to admire the views of the waterfall fading into the distance. This side did not offer the stone staircases like the other side and was mostly dirt with some stones built to keep your footing stable.

I finished the hike doing 9 miles today by the time I got back to my car around 3:00. I thought since I had time I would stop at the visitor center and possible a mini hike at the lower Yosemite falls. Traffic was backed up getting out, which I was not surprised by, but this was crazy. It took me over 2 hours to get about 4 miles from where I had parked… but for some reason I did not care. It had been such a great day that even though I was disappointed by the backup I could have cared less. Some people were road raging as the parking lots and lanes of cars merged together and I could understand it, but what can you do?

I didn’t get back to my motel until close to 6:30 a bit tired from a long day. As I was about to get out of my car I saw a shifting and some noise in the distance and saw my first bear of my trip! I had been in bear country many times and even carried bear mace with me, but this was the first one. The bear alternated between rummaging thru garbage and dashing over to a perch on some landscaping. A maintenance person walked by to sho him away and referred to him as Russell and said he was harmless. He might be but I stayed in my car until he went away and I could get back to my room

I woke up Sunday originally planning to drive back to Yosemite valley. My legs were a bit week after yesterdays strenuous hike and I wanted to sleep in a bit. The other major hike in the area, the 3,200 foot ascent to upper Yosemite was out of the books, my legs wouldn’t handle it without some major stress. I thought about doing some of the lesser hikes but yesterdays 2 hour traffic jam was still in my head and I didn’t feel like doing that again.

After resting a bit and thinking about my next steps when I leave tomorrow I drove 30 minutes and did a shorter hike to Carlon Falls. This was a nice hike that was much more rustic. There was hardly anywhere there and it was only 1.7 miles each way to Carlon falls. There was a small scramble up some treacherous rocks and terrain at the and but the waterfall was beautiful and very calming compared to the powerful waterfalls from the day before. I took it all in for a bit before driving back to my motel.

My trip is coming to and end soon and I have started to plan out some of my last steps. I need to spend the majority of most weeks working as I am running low on vacation time, but still want to make some 3-4 day weekend seeing some sights. I know I need to be in San Francisco for Thanksgiving to see my cousins and then the following week in San Louis Obispo to visit a branch of work, and then I am going to spend a couple weeks driving back with a stop and Denver for sure and I will find some places to make some 4 day weeks out of in between.

Redwoods is on my bucket list and I am going there next weekend, I was able to find a campsite at Humboldt Redwoods park.   I originally wanted to do this before flying to Florida, but the weather didn’t make it possible, the lateness of my car being ready didn’t help either.  I decided to stay in Santa Rosa this week to work and explore the many craft breweries in the city. I am not a huge big city fan so wanted to avoid most of the bay area, and ill be there after Redwoods anyway.

TLDR: Amazing hike at Yosemite, major traffic jam getting out, bear at my motel. Outlines of the last part of my trip and way back starting to form.

Full Photo Albums

Yosemite Valley, Mist Trail – https://photos.app.goo.gl/f6Akz19NKpsvc4c96

Claron Falls – https://photos.app.goo.gl/iCPnhA8C4o1W2sNe8

Groveland (Motel Area) – https://photos.app.goo.gl/yKmSw5Gd8qYWRiUH9


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