Massive, majestic and mind-blowing

The Yosemite national park just has to be part of a trip to California. However, without a car it can be tricky to get around the park. Since I didn’t just want to see the popular valley, I decided to book a three-day tour with Incredible Adventures.

There were only a few other people on the tour and therefore we had a very comfortable trip to the park in the big van. From the start it felt like a road trip with a group of friends. There was no set itinerary and we could all decide together what we’d like to do.

Our first stop was in the Sequoia forest with the humongous old trees. We made a beautiful walk through the forest, passing some interesting spots. There was a hollow tree you could stand in, Telescope tree, and as the name implies you could look all the way up to the sky. Another tree had a big hole in it you could walk through. To add some adventure to the tour, we also climbed up a fallen tree and walked across it. Suddenly you really get a good idea about the dimensions of these trees. Even its pine cones could be about 30cm long. It had been a beautiful first day and we finished it by pitching our tents, making a fire and cooking outdoors, surrounded by nature.

The next day we had an early start. It started to get really warm when we made our way deeper into the mountains. At a petrol station we saw our first bear, walking over a tree trunk. As we got higher, to about 3000m, the temperature dropped. When we parked the van we were way outside of the tourist areas. Even though it was June, there was still snow on the ground. Here, we set off on a day walk.

The start was tough, the altitude and endless, steady ascend were killing me. At first we only saw snow in the distance, but further on we were walking through it. Sometimes you suddenly dropped a bit through the snow. Every now and then we had to cross rivers, jumping from rock to rock. After 3,5 hours of walking we arrived at a swampy landscape. We had to cross it to get to a big granite rock, like we were walking on a big kitchen top.

On the edge of the rock was a big lake with ice-cold, clear water. It was surrounded by the tops of snow-capped mountains. There was a chilly wind, but sunshine warmed us as we had our lunch on the big rock plateau. It was beautiful and serene, but we still had to make our way back. We backtracked to the car, had some hot drinks, and then drove back to our camp. Along the way we made some photo stops.

On our last day in this gorgeous park we went to the most touristy spot in the park: Yosemite Valley. Of course you have to visit the valley when you’re here, but honestly, I was very disappointed. It was so crowded and completely adapted to all the people. The waterfalls we saw were spectacular, but nature loses some of its beauty when there is a paved path to it, filled with people. I did see a bobcat and another bear, which in itself made the trip worth it.

Yosemite Falls is the biggest waterfall of North America. You really can’t miss it. There is also a visitor center with an indian village and a film. Visiting the touristic center made me really appreciate the past two days. Especially our walk high up in the mountains. It takes some effort, but on that day I saw the real Yosemite. If it hadn’t been for the tour, I would never have seen that.

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