Sunday, August 5, 2012

Travelling - Yosemite National Park

I've got another Travel post to share with you all! This time, I've written a little review of Yosemite National Park, and the Green Tortoise Adventure Travel Bus.

As with my trips to Portland and San Francisco I went to Yosemite this past May. It was something that I had hoped to see in my time out west, but realistically I didn't know if it would happen. After finding out my Grandpa had been there many years ago and loved it, I knew I had to make sure it happened. Thankfully, I found the most awesome way of seeing it, the Green Tortoise Adventure Travel Bus.

I signed on for the Yosemite 2 Day (3 nights) trip right away, and I was not disappointed. Aside from the actual Park being amazing, the food was good, the drivers were fun, and the whole trip felt pretty seamless!

Its important to note that this is no ordinary travel bus/tour company, it is super unique and awesome. The bus is set up so that there are no normal seats inside but instead there are some bench seats and a big mattress in the back, along with some bunk beds. Its pretty hard to explain in words though, so I've added this video from the green tortoise site:

The general layout of the 2-day trip I signed up for was this:

Leave around 9pm and sleep on the bus overnight 
Arrive at Yosemite early and stop around 8am to make/eat breakfast 
Head into the Yosemite park for 9ish to hike all day!
Meet back at the bus to head to the camp ground around 4pm (the camp ground is not in Yosemite Park, but the drive there is only about 30 minutes and it is an absolutely beautiful drive)
Make/eat dinner and hang out around the camp-fire till you fall asleep! (if you don't have a tent you can sleep on the bus, but you must bring or rent a sleeping bag)
Head back to Yosemite for another day of hiking
Meet at the bus around 3pm to drive to see the Giant Sequoia trees!
Hike around the Trees for an hour and a bit
Meet back at the bus and drive to a near by park to make/eat dinner
After dinner you get the option of visiting the oldest bar in California!
Head back onto the bus around 12am before driving back to San Francisco (we arrived back in SF Monday morning around 6:30am)

Me and some new friends eating the Saturday morning breakfast together (and enjoying the coffee!)
The first day I (along with some new friends) hiked up the upper Yosemite falls trail (round trip estimated to take 6-8 hours). I only made it up about 2/3 but most of the group made it up to the top. What I did see of the trail was absolutely amazing. I don't like using the word regret, but I really do regret not going the whole way to the top of the trail! I was afraid I would feel so sore the next day, but in hindsight I know I wouldn't have!! Oh well, I'll just have to visit again to finish the hike. If you don't enjoy long hikes I would still recommend this trail, but I would suggest stopping at Columbia Rock. The views at Columbia rock (about a 1.5 hour hike round trip) are really beautiful, and well worth the effort.

View from Columbia Rock
At the beginning of the Upper Yosemite Trail
I think this is about half way through the trail
The second day we decided to hike the Vernal Falls trail (round trip estimate to take 3 hours). I'm happy to say that I did make it to the top of this trail, and I am so glad that I did! The hike was relatively easy until the final incline. The trail takes you very close to the falls so you get pretty soaked from the mist, and the stone stairs are covered in water. We were lucky to be there on a super hot day, so the mist was a welcome break from the heat, however I did find it a bit scary walking along the wet stairs. Even though I was a bit scared, I'm so glad I went all the way to the top. As expected the views were absolutely beautiful, and the rest at the top of the falls was perfect!

Almost at the top of the falls!
Trying to save some friends from toppling off the top!! 
After returning to the bus after the amazing hike, we headed straight for the Giant Sequoia trees! I had been looking forward to seeing these trees for soo sooo long! They were absolutely amazing, and seriously huge. I could have stayed and stared at them for quite a while. My only disappointment here was that there were so few. I had been imagining a forest full of massive trees, but due to logging (a long time ago) there are only about 10-15 left on the main trail. They almost look funny dispersed between the normal sized trees.

Me with the amazing trees!
Finally after all the hiking and tree visiting and beer drinking (forgot to take pictures of the bar!) we hopped back on the bus to head back to San Fran. I will admit, when I first saw pictures of the bus, and realized we were all sleeping so close, I was kind of nervous. But by the end of our 2 day adventure it felt like we were all old friends! Piling in the back to go to sleep on Sunday night felt totally normal and there was plenty of room for everyone.

A somewhat fuzzy picture from the very back of the bus
Bottom line: this trip was amazing in every way and I would highly recommend it to anyone!

To see my post on Portland, Oregon click here
To see my post on San Francisco click here
To see all other travel related posts click here

1 comment:

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