Sunday, May 3, 2015

A weekend at Yosemite : some advices and animals !!!

We already visited some National Park, but we had still to visit one of the major: Yosemite ! We took the occasion that my little sister Concombre to spend a weekend with other french post-docs from UCSB: Damien and Jean-Charles. I was not super confident due to the bears, but I have to say that it would have been bad to not enjoy this wonderful park!


What to do at Yosemite ?

The park is vast and you would have to stay at least one week to enjoy it. Nevertheless, we didn't have one week and we had to accept to spend only one week-end. However, it is enough to have an insight of the park and, above all, to give you the envy to come back!!!

Contrary to other parks like Joshua Tree, Yosemite is most of all a leisure place and  you can find many different activities like golf, fishing, rafting, equitation, and even skiing in Winter! We didn't have the time for all of this, so we only enjoyed the mountains (and this is far from enough !).

Our article was too long (yes, too many pretty things to picture !!), so we splitted it in two parts. You can have more information about the trails and viewpoints we went to by clickin on the following link : Some ideas to have a great we in Yosemite !.


How to prepare a stay at Yosemite ?

I may say : start to prepare it !!! Usually, I am ultra (too much) prepared, but this time, we went there by throwing our plans together. I have to admit that I didn't take attention to the possible trails and how avoid the bears. In addition, we stupidly thought that we would easily find a spot in a camping area. Except that... ,when we arrived at the camping area at 1 a.m., it was full and we almost slept in the car!! Quite frankly, Damien was for it, but me, after watching the following video, much less...



It is forbidden to sleep in the park outside of the dedicated area ayway (not for no reason, in my opinion), and I didn't want to tempt fate by sleeping just outside of the park. We went back in the closest city (1 hour and half driving...) where we found an hotel that was only one last room for 5 persons! Too bad for the fun to wake up in the middle of the nature, but at least we slept !

Where to sleep ?


Well, if you do not want to have the same stressing time than us, you have several options:

  • Camping : I will take more time to talk about this option, since that was what we planned at the beginning. Yosemite's camping areas are very organized and you will find there a parking spot, some spaces to do a BBQ and even boxes which will protect your goods and foods from the bears. Some areas are steep-sided but others are really splendid and I am keen to go back there to try them! You can try to go in the camping areas that don't require a reservation (Camp 4, Bridalveil Creek, Tamarack Flat, White Wolf, Yosemite Creek, Porcupine Flat and Tuolumne Meadows), but this is risky during the peak season (especially if you arrive late like us...). If you decide to play safe, you can reserve a spot in the following camping areas: Upper Pines, Lower Pines, Wanona, Hodgdon Meadow, Crane Flat, Tuolomne Meadows. Otherwise, while every Yosemite's camping areas are full, you can also camp in the Stanislaus' forest.
  • Backcamping : If you want to do a long stroll or if you just like to camp surrounded by the nature, it is also possible to camp outside of the camps. To do so, you just need to ask for a permit to the ranger (for more information about the conditions, this is here)



  • Hotels : The hotels at Yosemite are very expensive and have to be reserved in advance. However, they really have character et can allow you to enjoy the landscapes without trimming your comfort ! You also can choose a less expensive option (the one we had to use) and sleep in an hotel outside of the park.

How to plan the program ?

I think this is wise to plan in advance a program or, at least, to begin the stay by passing by the visitor center. Indeed, distances are huge: for instance, a round trip from Tuolumne Meadows to the Visitor Center takes 3 hours driving! The best is then to plan what you want to do without forgetting to count the time to get to each place.

How to travel within Yosemite ?



During the peak season, I advise to use the free buses in Yosemite Valley. Indeed, this is easy to drive within the park but this is complicated to find a parking space!! You may also walk (be careful with the distances) or ride a bike (some trails are specially designed for bikes).

Some animals in Yosemite !!!


  • Jays
 Steller's jay !!


  • Squirrels
acrobat squirrel
gourmet squirrel (who tried to steal my sandwich !!)
Lovers :-)
What ? A paparazzo again??
Well, I will pose then :-)

  • A groundhog

The groundhog goes out of the car...
...climbs...

...and put the chocolate in the aluminum paper!!! ( only French people can understand this joke since it is extracted from an ad from the 90's)

  • And deers !!




For the story, we also saw a coyote, but by the time to realize that was one, he ran away (we thought that was a dog without his/her owner...). On the contrary, no bears!!!

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