Lucie Loves... Travel // California road trip ~ part three: Sublime Yosemite sights
Day 6 - Friday // Yosemite
With Napa Valley memories still making us smile, we drove approx. 200 miles to the next stop on our California road trip, Yosemite. And what a drive it was! Roz even managed to learn how to pronounce Yosemite!
It had been almost 9 years since I’d last visited Yosemite National Park, with my ex and my trusty Mamiya C330. I took this shot below.
As a photographer, I was so excited to come back. This time around I’d brought my 5D MKIII DSLR camera.
If you, like me, studied photography as a degree, you’ll have learnt about Photographer and Conservationist, Ansel Adams and his sublime landscape photography, capturing the incredible beauty of Yosemite in his large format prints.
“At one with the power of the American landscape, and renowned for the patient skill and timeless beauty of his work, photographer Ansel Adams has been a visionary in his efforts to preserve this country’s wild and scenic areas, both on film and on Earth. Drawn to the beauty of nature’s monuments, he is regarded by environmentalists as a monument himself, and by photographers as a national institution. It is through his foresight and fortitude that so much of America has been saved for future Americans.” ~ President James E. Carter
By the time we arrived at our campsite, Evergreen Lodge, we were completely exhausted and couldn’t wait to relax for the rest of the evening.
On our way to Yosemite, we’d decided to try and do a bit of a digital detox for the 3 days while we were there… So, before starting, we binge-used their free wifi to iMessage, Instagram, Tweet, Facebook and Whatsapp our loved ones.
For lunch we had Elk soup (which was actually rather like chilli con carne…) and chicken burgers, and proper conversation, sans wifi.
We spent a bit of time chilling on the deck outside of our cabin, reading our books and talking. After a delicious nap, we woke up just in time to catch the sunset. It was then time to head over to the main site to make S’mores (marshmallow and layers of chocolate squished inside two Graham crackers) by the campfire. It was so bloody wholesome!
Still keeping on track with our digital detox, we decided to get a bottle of wine from the Evergreen Lodge shop and head back to our cabin to play 36 questions that lead to love.
Obviously, be best mates, we didn’t want to fall in love, but it couldn’t do our friendship any harm to find out a bit more about one another. I thoroughly recommend it! We learnt so much about each other. From how we’d been brought up, to the tough times we’d gone through that have shaped us as adults, to how we tick as individuals. And basically, connected on a deeper level, by just being ‘present’.
It counts for a lot not having to share your conversation with someone and their computer or iPhone screen. And I know, I’m probably the biggest culprit! Sorry, guys.
Day 7 - Saturday // Yosemite
“When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.” ~ Ansel Adams
Today we planned to go hiking! True Yosemite style. We piled into the car, blasted out Whitney Houston’s Greatest Hits album on full volume and wailed our way to Yosemite Falls.
We were really lucky as our visit to Yosemite coincided beautifully with National Parks Week April 16 - 24, so entry to Yosemite National Park was completely free!
Parking at Yosemite can be a bit of nightmare, so after driving around in circles for a bit, Marcos decided to park rather creatively, and secured us a spot.
For anyone thinking of hiking up Yosemite Falls be sure to take enough water with you! It gets really hot walking from April onwards, and you don’t want to run out half way up (like we did!)
We were overtaken by pregnant women and men carrying babies on their back – obviously seasoned hikers (unlike us!) 11,111 steps we walked. That’s the equivalent of climbing 79 flights of stairs!
Roz and I didn’t quite make it all the way to the top, but Marcos, determined as ever, did! He even bumped into a friend from BFC while we were up there, sweating like pigs.
After a long walk, we headed down to the shop to buy cold ciders and ice-cream to celebrate our hard work. Perfect! We even bought matching Yosemite prints to remember our visit when we got back to London.
Yosemite is not a place to go if you’re after crazy night life, but it is perfect for being able to truly unwind and make the most of the outdoors.
Day 8 - Sunday // Yosemite to San Luis Obispo (SLO)
With 1 hour and 40 minutes of Mariah Carey’s finest warbling, as the soundtrack to our drive, we left Yosemite after breakfast to head to our next stop, San Luis Obispo aka SLO.
It’s a long way too – a solid 5 hour drive. One stretch of road between Yosemite and SLO is 85 miles long! Not great when one of you desperately needs a wee…
We decided to take a break in the journey and stop off at Kettleman City. This is the sort of place where you find In & Out Burger… or, alternatively, you can satisfy your hunger with a 1200 calorie salad from Quiznos Sub! FFS! I mean, surely that isn’t legal?!
On arrival in Kettleman City, after hours of driving through winding roads and mountains –which Marcos wearing my hat to protect his head from the blazing sun, we finally stepped out of the air conditioned car (yep, we’d had to put the roof up on our convertible Mustang) and into the scorching 93′F heat. We were greeted by such a lovely gay man, who, on spotting our car, squealed with delight in a high-pitched voice:
“Oh! You Europeans are soooo swanky!”
After grabbing some food, we drove the remaining 1.5 hours to San Luis Obispo and our hotel for the next couple of nights, The (infamous) Madonna Inn– the funnest pinkest hotel you’ve ever laid eyes on!
Want to find out more about our Californian adventure?
Keep your eyes peeled for the next instalment of the #LucieLovesCali road trip, as we experience all The Madonna Inn and SLO have to offer, before we head on down to Los Angeles.
Have a read of our full Lucie Loves11 day California road trip itinerary.
- Part 1 - San Francisco
- Part 2 - Napa Valley
- Part 3 - Yosemite
- Part 4 - San Luis Obispo (coming soon)
- Part 5 - LA (coming soon)
- Part 6 - Coachella (coming soon)
As ever, big thank you to Pop Chips for picking me as the winner of their Get Popped competition, to win these flights to California.
Read my winning blog post here: http://lucieloves.co.uk/post/132832162104/lucie-roz-roadtrip-cornwall-popchips-peugeot108
Photography © Lucie Kerley