First off I’d like to start by saying that it’s only been five months since we decided to make the bold decision of taking on the full-time RV’ers lifestyle, and to date, it has to be one of the most rewarding decisions we’ve ever made. The amount of places we’ve been, things we’ve seen, and people we’ve met, has exponentially surpassed our expectations. I don't foresee this journey ending anytime soon nor do I want it to, it will be something we cherish forever. Through my lens, I hope to encourage and influence people to travel and explore MORE.
Recently we completed 8 days of touring through Yosemite and Sequoia National Park (4 days at each). Both parks with different features, yet both are just as astonishing as the other. There’s no denying the main attractions of Yosemite, such as Yosemite Valley, Glacier Point, Tunnel View, and Sequoias General Sherman, Moro Rock, and Big Tree Trail. While these popular spots may be flooded with people, they’re worth every bit of any overcrowdedness you may encounter to see them. Almost all the main attractions can be viewed in one solid day, all walks are short and simple, and bus systems are in place taking the hassle out of driving to and parking at each location.
While the main attractions have their place, for us, the magic happens once you escape the crowds and experience Mother Nature in her entirety. As the crowds disappear and the sound of cars dissolve, once you become deeply immersed into nature, the mind takes on a different train of thought. Soaking in the vast landscapes, the imagination tends to follow suit by opening up and trying to figure out when, what, and how in the hell did all this stuff come to be. There’s a calming peace that takes over when witnessing the magnificent beauty in front of you during that time and in that space.
We did one overnight hike at both parks, for Yosemite we chose the Glen Aulin Trail to Waterwheel Falls, located in Tuolumne Meadows. The hike is a moderate 8 miles in (16 total) and follows the Tuolumne River throughout the entire hike. If you're a sucker for waterfalls as I am, this is definitely a hike for you, we saw waterfall after waterfall, the entire hike followed the flow of water as it cut through the endless amount of granite floor. I can’t say enough good things about this trail, I’m not one to want to do the same hike more than once, but this one I’d highly reconsider.
During our backpacking journey along the Glen Aulin Trail, I managed to squeeze in an astrophotography milky-way time-lapse session (see below). Let me just say that being around 8,000 ft. of elevations, with no light pollution for miles and a sliver of a moon I've never seen so many stars. It truly felt as if you could reach out and grab ahold of them, stellar.
For our overnight hike in Sequoia we ran into a situation of bad timing and bad planning. First off, I had full intentions of getting our wilderness permits for the Mineral King area. Unfortunately, during our time of visit, they just finished a controlled forest fire and overnight hiking was not allowed there during that time. With my main objective of sleeping underneath giant Sequoias, and Mineral King being out of the question, I put my faith in asking a Ranger what our best options were. He advised us to hike Garfield Grove, a short hike of about 3.5 miles in (7 total). This hike was intense, the entire way in was strait up a mountain, constant up hill. The scenery, and water was scarce, and the trail was overgrown in some locations. However, we fought through and all of a sudden we found ourselves in a grove loaded with giant Sequoias, all to ourselves. While the hike itself wasn’t the best, setting up camp, exploring, and sleeping underneath these giants was simply stunning. Being that the entire hike back was downhill, we zoomed back to the Jeep at god speed.
All in all, enough can’t be said about how extraordinary both of these National Parks are, I highly advise and recommend both. I’d like to send a shot out to our friends Dana, Kristen, Chris, and Rachel for joining us on this journey, it was truly a pleasure sharing this experience with all of you. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to ask or reply. Until next time, peace.