On our way back to New Mexico from a Palo Alto wedding in July, we decided to stop off and see one of the most epic national parks in the states: Yosemite. Known the world over as a superb destination for climbers, the vast valley surrounded with mountains is home to the granite giants Half Dome and El Capitan, two of the most famous rock climbing challenges.
During the summer months, the campsites down in the valley are mostly reserved ahead of time, so we camped one night at Tamarack Flat, on the north side, and then one night at Bridalveil Creek, south of the valley. The first morning, at Tamarack Flat, we spotted two chipmunks kissing on a boulder just behind our tent.
We got moving pretty early so we could stake out our second campsite before spending the day down in the valley. We were happy to find a sprawling site equipped with boulders and much-needed shady trees, where we were even able to set up our camping hammock! Since we knew we had a campsite to come back to, we headed to the valley.
For us, a highlight of the valley was Yosemite Falls. We followed a path to a viewing area, then scrambled our way through the woods and over boulders, ending at the place where the tallest waterfall in North America pounds the boulders and creates a gorgeous (swimmable) pool.
While driving back to our campsite, somewhat dazed from the awesomeness of nature, a confident coyote trotted up right next to our car for a brief photo op! I grabbed my iPhone and Kristen grabbed the Canon 7D, but neither of us were quick enough to get a crisp shot.
The next morning, we packed up our campsite with the intention of getting to our next destination, Sequoia, as soon as possible. We'd only driven 15 minutes from our campsite before we couldn't resist the urge anymore and to stopped off at a serene and colorful meadow. We spent a half hour exploring the native insects and flowers, but easily could have stayed all day.
Next time, we're bringing our climbing gear!