We’d never been to Yosemite National Park before last summer and I can’t even explain how excited we were to go. Knowing how popular it had become though, we were mildly apprehensive about the crowds, lines, and permits that might taint the outdoor experience for us.
Luckily, we had a bunch of locals who had spent their childhood exploring Yosemite with their families taking us on the ultimate first timers tour. We rarely saw other people, but didn’t miss a single one of the sights we’d set our eyes on.
First things first. Base Camp. Our guides had reserved a spot in the Tuolumne Meadows campground, which to us as approaching motorists was no different than being on the valley floor. We quickly learned though that they’d plopped us right down in a wilderness oasis, at high altitude, far above the long lines of minivans and port-o-potties. Off to a perfect start.
From there we immediately started hiking. Being in our first National Park in a while, we wanted to see all that Yosemite had to offer. We set our sights on Elizabeth Lake . A quick hike from the campsite, we immediately immersed ourselves in the sprawling beauty of the mountains and gentle streams. The views were stellar and the vibe pure tranquility.
The next day we decided to hit the Yosemite Valley. We didn’t want to get lost in the hustle and bustle of weekend Yosemite, so we took a different route. At the guidance of our guide we instead hiked to the summit of North Dome. The ridge directly across from the world famous Half Dome. This choice resulted in completely empty, beautiful, and unforgettable views of Half Dome. It was our group of friends and millions of year old rock formations, thats it.
On our final major excursion we hiked Lembert Dome . A really light trek compared to our previous hikes. Pro tip: bring a bottle of champagne and celebrate your easiest summit, it makes it all the more fun.
If you have the chance to visit a National Park this year, visit Yosemite. If you have a chance to visit Yosemite, try out Tuloumne Meadows. If you do that, you’re going to have an amazing experience.
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