Sunday, March 15, 2009

Adventurous Chick Vacation in Yosemite Park!

Yosemite is full of adventurous opportunities for some serious chick bonding as you and your g-friends can choose from a wide variety of overnight hikes, day hikes as well as scenic self-tour drives. Yosemite has one of the tallest waterfalls in the United States at 2, 425 feet. If you are looking for an adventure with your g-friends you'll want to complete the full day 17 mile round-trip Half Dome hike which I will explain later.
Planning one of these vacations is a fun, bonding experience in itself. Why not shop for your hiking supplies together? It is fun trying on new comfy hiking shoes and socks, efficient hiking backpacks, emergency supplies, food and water supplies, hiking clothes and rain gear. Share bargain opportunities with each other along the way.


This memorable trip will offer physical and mental challenges. There will be opportunities to experience mind blowing scenery, personal successes and camaraderie among friends. Yosemite has something to offer everyone. There are spectacular opportunities to star gaze, grab some beers at a bar, listen to live music, stay in a rustic cabin with an unbelievably cute porch (Evergreen Lodge), pitch a tent or if you like it more upscale you can stay in the more expensive hotels and dine at upscale restaurants in Yosemite Valley. Did I mention the added opportunity to meet more friends or laid back hiker type guys that have your adventurous personality? If you plan on camping make sure you reserve your campsite a year or more in advance and look up what campsites/hikes require permits. There are some camps set far off into the back country. The cute cabin I stayed in at Evergreen Lodge is outside Yosemite Valley by about 30 minutes. I was able to reserve it with only 2 months advance, but you may not be so lucky.
The drive just to get to Yosemite park is an adventure in itself as you drive up a winding road on the edge of huge cliffs. We passed several old trucks and campers that were overheating due to the climb to the top.
I recommend reserving one day for the famous full day hike called, Half Dome. This hike is famous for its physical demands, incredible panoramic views of Yosemite and the famous steel cables that are used for the final ascent. You and your g-friends will need to be physically fit for this challenge. The hike is 17 miles round-trip with a 4,800 foot elevation change. Half Dome is 8,842 feet. The hike will take 10 - 12 hours and can be completed in one day. This incredible hike will be full of wildlife, pristine water, cascading powerful waterfalls, views of snow capped mountains and forests. Here is an opportunity to encourage you and your g-friends to be fit and healthy in preparation for this exciting hike. You and your g-friends can swap healthy energizing recipes, post training logs on-line validating your success of working out or even better train together. Here is some concrete motivation for completing that stair stepper workout or weight lifting to whip your hot body into stronger form. You don't want to be the one who complains that you are too tired to continue.
Encourage your g-friends to eat a high density breakfast and hit the trail by 7 a.m. to avoid the heat and possible crowds. The Half Dome hike begins with a strenuous ascent lasting about 6 hours until you reach the top. You'll want to begin your climb using the Nevada Falls trail and descend the mountain using the Mist trail. I'm very physically fit, but I know that had I hiked the Nevada Falls trail to the top of half dome I would have been wondering if I could complete the rest of the remaining 10 hours of hiking. You need pure concentration for each step on the steps as they are wet and steep.
After about 5 hours of strenuous hiking you'll come to a resting spot just below the final ascent of 440 feet of the vertical granite summit. It is a reward just to reach this point because you've completed the granite stairs on the sheer vertical cliffs without any handrails. It brings a whole new meaning to the stair stepper. It takes personal determination and support from others to complete this section of the hike.
You'll hear yourselves or others ponder how you'll ever make it down the mountain and you will need to begin to muster enough courage to complete the final 440 feet of the hike...trust me on this one. The steel cables and the hikers that look like little ants at the top are in clear view from here and so is the realization of the task ahead. While you and your friends encourage each other to complete this task you'll all enjoy talking with fellow hikers, hopefully eating high density calorie food ....perhaps chocolate?
Bring your own work gloves or pick up gloves at the bottom of the cables for this final ascent. Strong sturdy gloves are a must have for this hike. You'll be pulling your body weight up the mountain using the cables. You and your g-friends will have a memorable experience during this portion of the hike. You'll be sharing fears, strategy and greetings to other hikers as they descend past you. You will be grasping onto the same cable as the hikers coming down the mountain so you‘ll need to communicate to the hiker above you when it‘s safe to take the next step. You and your g-friends will experience the sheer excitement of the climb, see spectacular views, meet new people, grow closer and experience your own personal physical and possibly spiritual growth after completing the Half Dome hike.
The descent down Half Dome is just as physically demanding as the walk up. You'll be tired now and you must descend using the cables, walk down granite steps and wet rocks along waterfalls for hours. You and your friends will be enjoying all new scenery and more amazing views as you choose to descend Half Dome using a different trail than ascended on. You may find you and your friends dreaming up a rewarding replenishing meal when you finally reach the end. You'll have plenty of moments to relive as you recall this amazing trip. {mospagebreak}
There are 5 distinctly different sight seeing excursions you'll want to participate if you visit Yosemite Park: Yosemite Valley, Wawona and the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias, Glacier Point, the Tioga Road and Tuolumne Meadows, and Hetch Hetchy. Each has its own pristine, breathtaking and distinctive attributes. I was efficient with my time and made it a priority to see as much of Yosemite as possible. Using the road self guided tour guide from books I saw Glacier Point, Hetch Hetchy, Yosemite Valley, Mariposa Grove and Tioga Road and Tuolumne Meadows all in 3 days with the full day Half Dome hike included in those 3 days. You'll want to get out of the car along the way and walk to the various outlooks. If you desire to do some more hiking in these areas make sure you add on an additional day and plan accordingly. You are lucky if you have the time because it is well worth it.
You can save up to three hours of your time and money at the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias by walking to "The Giant" Sequoia tree and checking out some of the other trees you'll pass on your way there rather than taking the shuttle ride. If you are interested in some fantastic hiking in tree groves then I recommend beginning your trip at Redwood National Forest near Crescent City, CA and driving to Yosemite a day or two later. Here you'll see the tallest trees in the world. Redwood forest has some neat hiking in all of it's tree groves. Stout grove was my personal favorite as it had very few people on the short trail and a large concentration of these amazing trees all around you. You will feel like you are in an imaginary world as you walk among the towering trees. While you are there you can camp with your g-friends at an awesome campsite along the beach at Gold Bluffs Beach. The dirt road along the coast to get to the beach forces you to cross a large creek without the help of a bridge, but if our car can make it your can too. There are trails at the beach that offer unique sights. Many of the campers had open fires on this remote uncrowned beach. It had a laid back feeling with extremely friendly people. There are wild Elk herds that travel through so if you have a fear of Elk then this campsite isn't for you.
When you decide to leave Golds Bluffs Beach definitely take route 36 to Yosemite Park rather than the main highway. Route 36 will offer you and your gals another crazy adventure where you'll experience a super windy road with amazing valley views. This drive will last about 4 hours. It is an exciting drive as you never know what you will see. I experienced driving through wildfires, rock slides and had to stop for a group of wild horses walking up the middle of the road. It's also a great way to see the CA countryside. Here's some helpful advice...make sure you fill up with gas as often as possible because I didn't even see a gas station on route 36. Yosemite has only a few gas stations as well.
It may take up to an hour and a ½ to drive to the several distinct areas of Yosemite that I mentioned above. You'll need time to drive the tour, get out and see the view points and perhaps enjoy hiking some of the trails at each area. The Yosemite Handbook by Ann Marie Brown offers some great hiking descriptions, maps of the park and lodging information. I also recommend the Yosemite driving tour books so that you can see all of Yosemite and choose other areas you want to explore by foot. You can order these books on-line from the Yosemite park website.
You can do the tour of Glacier Point and also see Hetch Hetchy all in one day. You'll want to hike some of the viewing opportunities at Glacier Point. The views at Glacier Point are unbelievable. Hetch Hetchy is nice to do around 7 p.m. and on the way out of the park you'll see the sun setting behind the huge mountains. The park closes around 8:30 p.m., but in an hour you can do a hike through a huge dark tunnel and along the adjacent water bank. http://www.hetchhetchy.org/history.html From Hetch Hetchy you can get to Evergreen Lodge in minutes and enjoy your next tasty meal and favorite drink from the bar for hard earned rest.
I know you'll enjoy your chicks vacation in Yosemite and perhaps Redwood National Park! A woman working at the grocery store near the park described Yosemite best..."mind blowing". She was right. Visit http://www.yosemitepark.com/ for further fun adventurous guided and self-guided excursions available.
Written By: Bianca Brdaric "Adventure Chick"