As I mentioned, Carrie and I had 5 days “off”. We planned a camping trip to Yosemite and Rock Creek. We took recommendations from a few different people, looked at a map, planned it loosely, and just went for it.
We left on Friday afternoon, picked up some snacks and wine, and hit the road for Yosemite.
As we were driving, I said that this was a perfect example of the saying, “The journey is as important as the destination”. The roads overlooking the mountains, colored by fall were just beautiful.
When we arrived at Yosemite, I was awestruck. I was hoping to see some fall foliage, but what we got was fall foliage at its best.
We saw the Half Dome upon arrival to the park.
And we snapped a bunch of pictures. It was already getting dark by the time we arrived, and since it was a semi- impromptu trip, we didn’t really bring substantial food nor had we made a reservation. We stopped for a quick pizza in Yosemite Valley- something we were both craving since we haven’t had pizza in over 2 weeks (criminal, isn’t it!?) We then went searching for a campsite only to discover every site was booked. Trying to keep our cool, we just drove around looking for empty sites, only to be kicked out of 3 by late arrivals. Luckily 2 very nice guys, a father and his son, let us crash on their site for the night. They were really funny and we had a good time around the campfire that night.
In the middle of the night, Ross, our friend who lives in LA, met us. We really didn’t see him ’til morning, when we decided to set out on our first hike.
Ross brought his dog, Barkley, who made it up a 4 1/2 hour strenuous hike.
The views were incredible, needless to say.
The smells while climbing were amazing. Tea- like? Or mint? We couldn’t put our finger on it. We also saw some pretty awesome trees
Unfortunately, when we reached our highest point of the hike it began to storm. We made our way down, carefully, only slipping once (:() and grabbed some sandwiches and hot soup. We were pretty exhausted and very hungry.
We were mad at ourselves for leaving our rain tarp off of the tent to dry it out all day. The tent would no doubt be soaked when we returned. Waaaa.
Luckily, there were some very nice people in the park who decided to cover our tent for us, presumably before it started down pouring, because our tent was (THANK GOD) dry when we got back to the site. I wish we knew who it was to thank them! We were unable to make a fire that night, and decided to hang out in our warm cars and go to bed early.
The rain did not stop all night. We woke up sore as can be, even Barkley was walking funny. We had to loosely put the tent in the car, grab a bite to eat, and say goodbye to Yosemite (and Ross and Barkley) in the rain.
We took Tioga pass from Yosemite to Rock Creek Park. While we were driving through the mountains, the gloomy, grey weather actually made for a perfect backdrop for the outstanding colors on the trees. Breathtaking, I’m telling you.
On our way we stopped at Mono Lake, a place that Daniel has photographed a few times.
And we made it to Rock Creek, also on the later side, but thankfully without any rain. We set up camp, made a fire, opened some wine, and just relaxed, praying for no rain!
Unfortunately, (again), we woke up in the middle of the night to the sound of rain drops hitting our tent. Yup.
We woke up to freezing weather, and saw snow not far above us. As we made our way to the cafe to grab a mug of hot tea, we noticed snow flakes on the windshield. Yup. And then we saw this:
Snow was coming, and it was coming fast. We decided to just make the best of it, and set out for a hike anyway. Thankfully we had brought the right gear, even though in our minds we didn’t think we’d need any of it, and it was simply a “just in case”. Goes to show, always pack more than you need!!!
This was this first snowfall of the year over here. And it was gorgeous! Remember that Tioga pass I mentioned? Well, we got the last day of it, since it closes as soon as snow falls. Lucky us, right!?
All bundled up, we made our way through a snow cloud and into one of the most beautiful settings I’ve EVER seen.
Do you know who John Muir is? We didn’t until this trip, but his name is everywhere! His story is quite amazing, and he is such an inspiration!
Everything was covered in snow, including these beautiful leaves.
On the hike we saw and crossed many streams of flowing water. The streams increased in depth as we went on and the snow continued to fall and melt. Beautiful how nature works, isn’t it?
Every 20 minutes or so the path would open up into huge lakes.
It was so pretty with the reds, oranges, yellows, and greens of the leaves, the browns of the tree trunks, the white snow, then the bright blue water.
The snow was so fresh and it was the best packing snow…
And as Carrie said, a skier’s dream.
Look how clear the water was!
After noon, when the sun was full on, the snow began to melt faster…
And the puddles grew. We made our way back to the tent…
But not after snapping a million pictures of these Aspen trees that I am SO obsessed with!
Look how that one tree has oranges, reds, and yellows on it!
And the shape of the leaves are something special—
Can you just die looking at these colors!?
I thought this tree was really cool too.
And as I said, driving was a site on its own.
Our campsite, as you saw already, was right next to a beautiful creek, surrounded by color changing leaves.
Our next-site neighbor was a guy named Kevin and his beautiful chocolate lab, Mocha. Kevin was awesome. He made our trip at Rock Creek no doubt. We met him the first night when we arrived, and he came and sat by the fire with us. He told us that if we wanted to, we could fish the next day. We were SO in.
So fishing for rainbow trout we went…
Learned how to cast the line, and reel it in…
And beginners luck…I caught a pretty nice sized trout!!!
Look at that guy!
Honestly, the hardest part was getting a grip on it! So slimy and slippery!
To check one thing off my bucket list, I not only caught the trout, but proceded to gut it…
And clean it…
And eventually we grilled it over the fire and ate it! Just plain— SO delicious. When you have something THAT fresh, you realllllly don’t need to add anything to it! YUM!!!
We spent that last night as close to the camp fire as possible, while snow was falling onto our heads. I literally went fully inside my sleeping bag that night, mummied myself in, and anticipated the morning.
When we woke up, our tent was snowy. And I couldn’t wait to hop in my jeep and turn on the seat warmer. Ahhh.
Kevin also showed us a local hot spring— just what we needed! A Jacuzzi made by nature. So nice. And we met 2 more people while in there. Everyone has such interesting stories to tell about travels, sporting, and just life in general.
We dried off, and hit the road for our last stop- Lake Tahoe. Carrie’s favorite restaurant is there, and it wasn’t that out of the way to stop. We were a bit early, and it was (surprise surprise) raining, so instead of walking around the lake we caught a move- The Social Network. I’m pretty sure we smelled pretty bad so we made sure not to sit directly next to any person there ;). And then we went to a very nice Italian restaurant, where we again probably looked a bit out of place. But a crusty warm bread basket and a hot dish of eggplant parmesan were just what the doctor ordered.
We got back to the farm, which strangely now feels like home (isn’t that funny how that happens?!), unpacked, set our tents out to dry, and went to bed. Happy to be in warmer weather again, and without the fear of bears eating me, it’s time to get back to work.
Oh! We saw another food-related street sign on the way somewhere…