November 12, 2017
I’ve been lucky the last few years to have spent a lot of time in San Francisco and the bay area for work. But this was my first time out to Yosemite to explore climbers paradise. 😃
I watched Valley Uprising on Netflix a few months back, and if you are planning a trip out there, or are interested / love rock climbing… this show definitely made me appreciate the vibes and beauty Yosemite has to offer.
On a week day, it’s about a 4 hour drive from San Francisco to Yosemite and we lucked out by hiking during a few week days in October.
Apparently in the summer — traffic on the road and on the hiking trails can cause bumper-to-bumper / backpack-to-backpack traffic and makes the outdoor adventure more of a pain in the ass.
We hiked Columbia Rock when we arrived and the path of switchbacks was well paved. It was super easy and a nice way to stretch the legs after a long few hours on the road listing to murder mystery podcast Into the Dark (on a side note, if you loved making a murderer, Serial and those other intense documentaries.. this podcast for a long suspenseful drive is for you.)
Turns out, even for the 2 hour hike… I was a bit out of shape. We’ve been living “every day like its Friday” for the last few weeks… and when it came to put my body to work it promptly said “no”.
The view from the top of Columbia Rock is a beautiful perspective of Half Dome and the surrounding valley.
By 4pm, it was super hot so the hike was done in shorts and tee’s thanks to global warming and it being 75F in the middle of October.
After hiking our way down, we made our way to the most adorable historic Victorian hotel for the night. The Big Tree Lodge is normally a few hundred bucks per night, but since we were in off season, $80 was a steal of a deal.
Its technically inside Yosemite park, but still an hour away from the hikes. And they are the only location in several miles that has a full restaurant and a gas station.
We had some great Napa Valley wine, enjoyed the musical skills of a jazz pianist playing that evening and some calorie packed burgers to knock us out proper for the night.
After a good sleep, we were ready to do day two of hiking. We picked the highest rated and most popular hike — the Mist Trail for our departing adventure.
The hike was paved most of the way, and perfect starting at 8am. There was no one on the trail except us for the first 40 min.. and then a ridiculously fit run-hiker just ran past us up the 2 miles of hill/steps like it was no big deal…
We made it to the top and enjoyed the smaller falls (in mid summer, the falls are HUGE and crash down on the rocks below) however, only ran into maybe 10–15 other people through out our entire 4 hour hike.
But the highlight was really at the end of the hike, as we were walking down to the main path… we saw a bunch of tourists all staring at a rock with their cameras pointed to it!
So naturally… I just walk right on up there to see what all the hullabaloo is about… and turns out, there was a wild Lynx(!!!) standing on the top of the rock, waiting for her prey (a squirrel) at the bottom to make it’s move so she could pounce on her dinner. We also saw a ton of deer, and defiantly some bear paw tracks which was our cue to head home.
Before heading back to SF, we stopped by the Tunnel Observatory spot to check out all of your Apple device default backgrounds in real life. It was beautiful to watch the sun set.. and people typically on stuck around for a few minutes and pictures before leaving, so we were able to get a perfect spot to sit and watch.