Yosemite: Camping + Backpacking

Camping

Total Stay: 2 days

           My boyfriend Manny and I celebrated our 2 year anniversary in Yosemite. It takes about 4 hrs to get there from Los Angeles.  Yosemite was such a relaxing and meditative trip. We did a combination of camping on our own and backpacking with a guide. This was my first time in Yosemite as well as my first time backpacking. Overall, it was an awesome learning experience just connecting with nature and of course my boyfriend. The first two days of our trip we camped on Crane Flat which is approx an hour and 20 min from the entrance (LA side). It sounds far from Yosemite Valley, where the traffic and most popular campsites are but its really not. You get to see the beauty of the park with almost no one around. We actually booked this camp site last min. TIP: For last min camping search on http://www.recreation.gov/ either early morning or late at night. For some reason that seems to work for me and I was able to find a spot. If you can't find anything at all then they also have campsites that are first come first serve, so no reservations needed. These consist of Bridalveil Creek, Yosemite Creek, Tamarack Flat, White Wolf and Porcupine Flat.

"El Capitan"

After setting up our campsite in Crane Flat, somebody got lazy.

MmmMmm...Carne Asada tacos w/ guac and grilled veggies for dinner. Who said camp food isn't good?

So the first day we set up, relaxed, prepared dinner and explored around. The next day we decided to wake up early and head to Vernal falls via Mist trail. You can start your hike via The Mist Trail at Happy Isles in Yosemite Valley. This trail is pretty moderate as long as you take plenty of water you'll be fine. I just went last month, which was summer time the weather was great, but the waterfall was a bit dry. It was still very stunning, noisy and wet, but during peak season the waterfall has a lot more water. Also hiking up the giant staircase you'll catch mist from the water by the time you reach Vernal Falls you can be drenched. You can also keep hiking up to the Top of Vernal Falls.

Taking a dip in the Merced River. I love how the river is not crowded with people and you get your own little space and alone time with nature.

Look at those Sequoias! I literally walked barefoot all the way back to our campsite. While my boyfriend Manny was crying about getting prickled by little sticks haha...

Goodnight Yosemite!

Backpacking

So I've always wanted to backpack in the wilderness on my own, but lets be real, I don't know how to survive in the wild. Especially knowing there are bears out there mmm.. No thanks! So we decided to backpack with a company called Outdoor Adventure Club. Here's the link if you want to check them out https://outdooradventureclub.com/. I would totally recommend them for any beginner backpacking trips. You are assigned a guide and they teach you the fundamentals of backpacking along with what you should pack in your bag pack, food storage, disposing of food, how to find a good camp spot in the wilderness etc. Oh and your guide cooks breakfast, lunch and dinner camp style. I honestly really felt like I was in the wilderness, wild style ha-ha. Which was what I wanted our experience to be. We climbed mountains, swam in the lake and did all sorts of nature fun stuff, check out my Yosemite backpacking highlights below...

May Lake Trail Head

Now here is where our backpacking trip begins. We are all packed and ready to go! We started off at The May Lake Trail head, which starts at the parking lot of May Lake. We hiked about 2.5 miles to get to our campsite which was right by the lake.

Here's our amazing guide Mike making some lunch for us, he's such a hippie. The cans / small barrels that you see on the sides and the one he is sitting on, are actually our bear canisters. They are where we kept our food safe and away from the bears. They weighed about 10 pounds and we carried them in our bags.

The stunning May Lake, I really loved this place it was so serene. The water was freezing though, but after a sweaty hike you'll want to jump in. Just find a nice rock and off you go!

Thai tofu wraps for lunch before our hike up to Mt. Hoffman. I learned Mt. Hoffman is actually higher than Half Dome pretty crazy. Elevation is 10,000ft and round trip hike is 6 miles, it can take anywhere from 2-4 hours. You can start the hike from May lake. The trail is not really marked, but you can actually create your own trail. For the most part the trail consists of rocks and granite and at some points you bear crawl up rocks. I've gone hiking and done many trails, but never have I actually hiked / climbed up a crazy steep mountain. This was amazing, you get break taking views of May Lake, Tenaya Lake, Clouds Rest, Half Dome and Cathedral Peak.

Views of May Lake on our hike up.

Break time. Taking in the views of the mountain valleys.

After 3 hours we finally made it to the top of Mt. Hoffman. WooHoo! You can see Half Dome photo bombing us from behind.

Now get inspired and go plan your Yosemite Trip! I had such a beautiful adventure, Yosemite is one of those national parks that has so much to see and do. I definitely will be back soon to explore the rest of the valley, until next time...