Our Guest Traveller this week is Kim Bryce. British-born and based, Kim shares her story about her experience in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains at Yosemite National Park. Kim works for a UK-based company called Smoke Guru who provide E-Cig’s and accessories and try and raise awareness about the dangers of smoking. This is her story…
Having saved like crazy, I was more than ready for an exciting, extended holiday to the USA with my best female friend. The original plan was to start in Vegas then head for San Francisco, before ending up in Los Angeles but, on reflection, it seemed a shame we wouldn’t get to see anything but busy cities. That’s how we swapped Hollywood for a road trip to Yosemite National Park.
Unlike my friend, I’m not a major Nature lover, and comfort has always been a priority. Despite my friend angling to camp at the park, I booked beds in a nearby mountain resort in return for promising to do ‘something active’ at the park. Before leaving I went online and shopped at an awesome outdoor store to get my things prepared for the adventure.
I don’t think Brits can ever truly comprehend the sheer size of the USA. Coming from a country where you can drive from the top right down to the bottom in less than 17 hours, the miles and miles of space in areas like Yosemite are so alien. I am told that the park is not much smaller than the country of Mauritius, a fact I still can’t quite get to grips with.
It’s difficult to avoid grasping at clichés when it comes to trying to describe just how breathtaking, or even how touching it is to find yourself actually in amongst the ancient trees, rocks and mountains of Yosemite. Humbling is perhaps a good word to describe it, and inconsequential; just a temporary mass of energy which will come and go, leaving behind nature that is over 3000 years old in parts.
Having wimped out of camping on site, I agreed to take a private (easy level) hiking tour on the first day we arrived at Yosemite. Our Cathedral Lakes hike started in Tuolumne Meadows, a stunning landscape which reminded me of the closing scenes of “Little House on the Prairie”. A pleasant walk through an ancient forest and glimpses of the lovely Lower Cathedral Lake took us the best part of six hours, though some do it in four or five. We did linger after the picnic lunch, taking the chance to enjoy a leisurely vape and contemplate life as we stared in companionable silence at the glorious vistas.
Tours are a really good way to see the popular sights of an area but, although I enjoyed the hiking, I wanted to do another on something with wheels on. We opted for an open-air tram experience; I was greedy to see more of Yosemite, and what better way than when someone else is driving? The two-hour trip gave us great views of the amazing Yosemite Falls, the Half Dome, Bridal Veil Fall (what a great name), and the imposing sight of El Capitan.
If there had been time, I’d have stayed another few days and seen more, but there’s always next time. Yosemite and I definitely have some unfinished business, so I’m pretty sure I’ll be back. I may even feel brave enough to give camping in this majestic wilderness a go!
Top Five Tips for Getting the Most Out of Yosemite National Park:
- Go to the Tuolumne River – it has to be one of the most peaceful places within Yosemite National Park!
- Stand next to Bridalveil Fall – the water splashing near you in the cold sun is so refreshing and it’s amazing to see such a huge amount of water falling right above you.
- See the Glacier Point – in the Ice Age huge glaciers formed in the rocks and what is left are huge magnificent valleys in Yosemite National Park. You have to see the views!
- Stand at the top of Vernal Fall – the thin but powerful Vernal Fall was one of the coolest attractions. You can literally stand right at the top and see the water drop thousands of feet, right beneath your own.
- FINALLY, YOU MUST – get a tour around the Giant Sequoias. We took a small truck round what are said to be some of the tallest trees in the world. It’s absolutely magnificent and a must-see at Yosemite Park.