The magical Kingdom of Yosemite

On the 17th of April we started our drive to Yosemite National Park from San Francisco. I don’t remember too much of the drive, apart from driving across a big busy covered bridge, out of San Fran, onto the high way. The next thing I remember is the very  steep, very narrow and very windy road that we slowly drove up, surrounded by high green rolling hills. This road eventually led us to the quaint little village of Groveland, which is home to the oldest Saloon in California, Iron Door Saloon.

Groveland is almost cliché looking, but in the good kind of way, it looks so much like an old western movie that you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d driven onto an old movie set and not a real life village town. With my dad’s slight obsession with Clint Eastwood and John Wayne, I’ve seen my fair share of old western films growing up. So I guess that, combined with my love for horses, has made me very fascinated about the country and western lifestyle and I’ve always wanted to see the towns in real life. So it was a real treat to drive through this place. We stopped off and had a walk around, popped into a few of the shops and the tourist info place where we bought our Yosemite National Park Pass.

We headed onwards and into Yosemite National Park, soon after entering I had one of those ‘moments’ again that made my eyes a bit wet (just dirt in my eye, I promise). We drove through this long mountain tunnel and as you come out on the other side, it’s as if you have entered a real magical kingdom. Luckily there’s a large parking spot just after the tunnel, as you will no doubt stop here to take photos and just gasp at the natural beauty that you see. In front of us was Yosemite Valley, with the grand granite mountain cliffs, a billion trees and the beauty of Bridal Veil Falls. It looks like a fairytale, I know it sounds cheesy, but trust me this place really is THAT special! Just writing about it makes me remember the special feeling inside my chest when I first saw it all.

Once we had come further into to the park we could se El Capitan on our right and Bridalveil Falls to our right, so we parked the car and headed towards the bottom of the fall. It’s only a short walk from the road and by that time our legs were well overdue a stretch. The fall was spectacular, it was roaring with water from all the winters melted snow and there were a multitude of rainbows created from the mist at the bottom of the fall. We also managed to stop off and have our first gaze at Yosemite Falls.

We had booked a tent cabin in Camp Curry for two nights, luckily we managed to get one of the last heated cabins, as the temperature dropped below zero at night. It was all a bit reminiscent of Moonrise Kingdom, with the white and green tent cabins, all neatly lined up like a little tent village. Curry Village was founded by David and Jennie Curry back in 1889, with the idea of offering affordable lodging for Yosemite visitors, which stays true to this day. It is located just below Glacier Point, which is one of the most famous viewing spots in Yosemite, unfortunately for us the road up there was still closed due to snow, so we missed out on the view from there. And on the other side of the camp you can see the famous Half Dome.

After we had unpacked, which is easier said then done in Yosemite, as you have to make sure that all the food and anything with a scent, is put into the bear safe lockers outside the tent cabins. The bears in Yosemite have been known to break into cars to steal food and they eat anything with a scent, from toothpaste to sun screen, doesn’t sound very appetising to me, but then again, I’m not a bear! So after locking all smelly stuff up safely, we trotted along to Camp Curry restaurant and had a pizza.  After eating our pizza and chilling out in the log cabin room in front of the open fire, we walked back to our tent cabin.  Not only did we see a fantastic starry sky, but it was so quiet around us that we could hear the roaring of the waterfalls in the valley – that really was something special.

You can also choose to camp in Yosemite and there are plenty of campgrounds around and we were thoroughly jealous as we walked through one of them. We so wish we’d had a tent and camping gear with us. The American style of camping is very different to the European way of camping. As with everything American’s do, it’s big and bold. They build up a proper fire, cook in their dutch ovens, have ton’s of food and supplies with them, air mattresses in their tents, pillows, blankets and anything else that will make you comfortable. Not like my average camping, which would consist of the lightest gear I can find, a small cooking stove and simple food supplies. In saying that, I think both ways of camping has it’s charm and it depends on where you’re setting up camp and how you get there in the first place. We also saw some awesome caravan’s and camper vans, or RV’s as they call them.

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