Yosemite July 2020
More National Parks! The perfect place to spend a social distancing vacation. Because of Covid-19, Yosemite had been closed for a few months, and had just reopened mid-June. The campgrounds remained closed, and to enter the park you had to make a reservation online in advance so they could keep it at 50% capacity. A lot of hoops to jump through but worth it. At times it felt like we were the only people in the park! Now, it's a big park, so I'm sure we were not, but having trails all to ourselves at times was amazing.
We arrived late Thursday night into SF and spent the night at an Airport Doubletree. Everything was closed (restaurant, all amenities, no breakfast offered) it was really only meant for us to crash at- but the fire alarm went off at 3am so we did not get the best sleep.
Friday morning we started the drive to Autocamp in MidPines- about an hour outside of Yosemite Valley. The drive took about 3 hours, we stopped for bagels (nothing to call out here, very average bagel spot). We received an early check in at Autocamp around 11am (normal check in is 4pm) so that really helped us settle after a long few days of traveling. We dropped out stuff off at our very cool Airstream on the property, and then headed into the town of Mariposa to grab some groceries from Pioneer Market (about a 10 min drive from Autocamp). In our Airstream we had all the basic cooking utensils plus a cast iron skillet, a microwave, sink and a mini fridge- so we didn't have much room for a ton of food, but we didn't need much. We basically just picked up breakfast items (eggs, bacon, english muffins) and some snacks for the hikes (granola bars, cookies). Each Airstream came with an outdoor table/chairs set up and fire pit with grate- so most of the cooking was done over that, and the water was drinkable from the sink in the Airstream. After loading up on groceries- we took free rental bikes from Autocamp and drove into Yosemite Valley. We parked at the Curry Campground parking lot, and biked up to Mirror lake- walked around there, and then biked for around 2 hours through parts of the Valley floor- up to Yosemite falls and back. After our bike ride we cleaned up back at the Airstream and went into Mariposa for outdoor dining at the 1850 Brewery. Their churro donut dessert was crazy good- and Joe liked their beers on tap.
Saturday: This trip was not designed for sleeping in. Being July and all, by about noon it was already over 100 degrees- so we woke up before the sunrise, and attempted to make breakfast over our fire pit while the sun came up. After we headed back to Yosemite and tackled the Mist trail to Vernal Falls to Nevada Falls, and looped back down the John Muir trail (round trip 7 miles). Took us about 4 hours total- moderately strenuous - really great views of the waterfalls and valley. Back to the Airstream by mid-afternoon, we took a power nap and then hung out at the Autocamp's pool (such a nice pool). For dinner we ordered take out from Savoury's in Mariposa, brought it back to the Airstream and ate under the trees.
Sunday: Another crack of dawn campfire breakfast, and back to Yosemite. Today we tackled the Four mile trail (which is actually 5+ miles one way, and we went up and down, so clocked in at about 11 miles total). All switchbacks on an incline, then a decline, so pretty tough but the view at Glacier Point made it worth it! We actually finished this hike is less than 4 hours- we were hustlin, but took around an hour at the top to just enjoy the views, use the bathrooms, and check out the gift shop. At the Glacier Point lookout you get that picture perfect view of Half Dome, the valley, and the 2 waterfalls we climbed to the top of the day before. On the actual hike, you get incredible views of the Upper and Lower Yosemite falls in the distance, as well as El Capitan. Totally worth doing this very tough hike! You do have the option of just driving and parking at Glacier Point- but what is the fun in that?! After the hike, a repeat of Saturday- naps, pool and take out in Mariposa for dinner- this time at the Pizza Factory. Not the best pizza I've ever had, cheessticks were pretty good. Cali is not known for their pizza though! Being from Philly, I'm totally a pizza snob.
Monday: this was the long travel day back to SF- left at 4am - got back around 7am.
Yosemite was just awesome. Tons of hiking options and perfect weather (if you like it hot, and hiking in the morning when the trails were shaded and cooler was definitely the move). And Autocamp I just loved. The Airstream was so cozy and comfortable, and the pool was just what I needed after long hikes. California never gets old.