It’s just over two years since our first national park trip to the Grand Canyon and we thought we would cap off our 2018 parks plan with a visit to Yosemite. Before we knew Mary was pregnant, we booked a campsite in Yosemite for Labor Day 2015. After a quick consult with the doctor, we cancelled the trip due to the elevation and potential shortness of breath for Mary. So this trip is over three years in the making for me and Mary. It will also be our longest trip in one park to date, spending 5 days, 4 nights, in Yosemite Valley.
We booked a campground in the Upper Pines campground five months ago. For those that know about the campsite reservation process for Yosemite, it is highly competitive. Five months before your desired camping date, their is one day each month the reservations open up for the five month advance. During the peak months, they typically sell out within minutes. For our October reservation, it was the same, we were both logged in at 6:55 AM and ready to go at 7AM. By 7:05AM we had our site and most others were booking up quickly.
We wanted to get a site within Yosemite Valley because the elevation isn’t as high as some other places, making it a bit warmer. We also wanted to be there so we could explore it and surrounding trails for 4+ days uninterrupted. After all the driving in Olympic, we are pretty pumped to have limited car time, besides the 7+ hour drives to get there and back.
We’ll be driving up and stuffing the van with all our gear. We’ll also be bringing our bikes and kids trailer which we scored off of Craigslist for $50. We’ve read that traffic around Yosemite Valley is horrendous, so hopefully we’ll be able to park the van and bike from trail to trail. We’ll look pretty funny with the Kelty Kids Carriers on our backs, but whatever, who cares.
Major factors to consider with the kids are pretty low. The temperatures look to be in the 70s and lows in the mid 40s. Our tent, Exped sleeping pad, and bags should keep everyone warm at night. There are black bears in Yosemite, so we’ll need to keep an eye on the girls while they play, but hopefully the campsites nearby don’t have their food out and animal accessible. Another issue we had to deal with in Washington was a late sunset, like after 9 PM. Now that we are into fall, we won’t have a problem putting them to bed at a reasonable time and it getting dark soon afterward.
Because we are focusing on Yosemite Valley, we hope to get to camp, set up and bike around and ask for suggestions. We know we’ll check out Bridalveil Falls because it will be one of the only waterfalls running this late in the year. But after that, we’ll ask rangers or get some tips from all of you! This is going to be a great trip.