29.06.2012 - 03.07.2012 25 °C
We had a good few days camping and hiking in the National Parks, but we didn't really spend enough time at either of them, especially Sequoia where we only spent one night. I think you’d need a good few days to do Sequoia properly and a week for Yosemite.
I was pretty scared of camping because of the threat of bears coming into your campsite. It was also so much hassle having to put everything with a scent in the bear box all the time! You had to keep all food and toiletries within arms-reach when you were using them too. We didn't actually see any bears, but Stephen did wake up at 4am on our last night to the sound of people shouting and banging pots and pans, so they’d obviously been disturbed by a bear in the night!
It was 3pm by the time we arrived in Sequoia and set up our campsite so we only had time to do a couple of short walks (to the top of Moro Rock and the Big Trees Trail) before seeing the General Sherman tree – the largest tree in the world (by volume). The trees in the park were amazing – so large and tall – and it was nice just to drive around the park taking in the scenery.
At the top of Moro Rock
General Sherman Tree
Blue sky + Green trees = Pretty
As we got back to the campsite quite late it got dark while we were cooking and so it was a bit miserable and cold trying to eat and wash up without much light! We made a little campfire and toasted some of the biggest marshmallows we’d ever seen, so that made me feel a bit better.
Stephen attempting to eat a 'Giant Roaster'
We had to get up early in the morning to pack everything away and make our way to Yosemite, which was a bit of a pain as we’d only set it all up 16 hours earlier!
After the three hour drive to Yosemite and yet another trip to Walmart (this time to return a faulty stove) we felt pretty exhausted so we didn’t do much when we arrived at our campsite. We set up our tent and drove to the store to buy some food then decided to cook some pasta to have for lunch the next day. For some reason, cooking pasta for both lunch and dinner took three hours! So again, by the time we were done cooking, eating and washing up it was dark.
Our lovely campsite
The next day we got up early to hike to the top of Yosemite Falls - the tallest waterfall in North America. Although the walk was only a 7 mile round trip, the guidebook said to allow 6-8 hours as it's a very steep climb. It was pretty exhausting but we managed to do it in 6.5 hours (including a 1 hour lunch stop) so I think we did pretty well! The view from the top was really spectacular and made it all worthwhile Going down was actually harder than going up and it really made our knees and thighs hurt!
The view from the halfway point
At the top
We had planned to do more hikes the following day but my legs were so stiff when I woke up in the morning so I just couldn't face walking again! Instead we spent the day chilling out and sitting by the river in Yosemite Valley.
Our spot by the river
I was pretty happy to be packing away on our last morning as I was looking forward to having a real bed again in San Francisco! I did really enjoy the parks, but if we went again I think we'd definitely stay in a lodge or nearby motel