Joshua Tree National Park - August 2016

When Annaliese, one of my roommates, told me that her family was going to visit Joshua Tree National Park and invited Mike and I to join them, we were quick to jump at the chance to take a break from the tiny house build and get away for a day. We spent the morning in the park exploring short trails, escaping the heat by catching the views in the back seat of the air-conditioned car, and sweating our butts off. Sights included lots of giant rocks, even more Joshua trees, 100,000,000,000  honeybees, and a few lookouts.

 

We look forward to camping in the park in a cooler month in the future and spending the whole night stargazing!

Yosemite National Park - June 2016

We're always eager to jump on an opportunity to get out of town and go camping, so when our friends Casey and Kellian mentioned that they'd be interested in a trip this summer, we didn't hesitate!

We planned the trip for the end of June right before our tiny house trailer arrived so that we could focus on the trip and enjoy ourselves without the added stress of the build. That also meant that we wouldn't be able to stay at our favorite campground, Bridalveil Creek, because it's a seasonal campground and doesn't open until July. Bridalveil Creek Campground is located on Glacier Point Rd between Yosemite Valley and Glacier Point. Bridalveil Creek Campground is the perfect camp spot for waking up early and watching the sunrise at Glacier Point, just a short 20 minute drive from the campground. It also has spaced out camp spots that don't make you feel like you're sleeping in the same tent as the people next to you. We almost opted for a different location for our trip like Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon or Big Sur, but I was able to snag a camping reservation at Crane Flat Campground last minute which allowed us to get a fresh experience in the park.

We headed out around 5am on a Sunday morning in order to get as much daytime as possible for our first day in the park. Check in was at 12, so we had some time for the obligatory stop at Tunnel View before heading to our camp spot. 

Crane Flat Campground is located west of the valley, so in order to get to it from the south entrance of the park we got to drive through the west side of the valley and up to Tioga Rd. Despite the close proximity of each campsite, we were not disappointed by our location or the specific camp site we booked ahead of time. Once we set up camp we were able to cook some lunch before heading back to the valley for some hiking that included some spectacular views of Upper Yosemite Fall.

We spent the next portion of the first day exploring the valley and dipping our feet in the Merced River.

thumb_DSC_2205_1024.jpg

After settling back at camp we hunkered down for an early night in order to get enough rest for our first full day in the park.

thumb_DSC_1938_1024.jpg

We headed out on Monday morning to the north side of the park following Tioga Rd to Tolumne Meadows where the trailhead to Cathedral Lake began. Mike and I were sure that we had seen the best of Yosemite on our last trip where we spent our time on the Mist Trail and the south side of the park, so we were very surprised by the gorgeous drive that took us through jaw-dropping landscapes that were unlike anything we had seen before. Some of our our favorite moments from the trip were the spontaneous stops at various waterfalls right off the road. 

thumb_DSC_1729_1024.jpg

Our round trip 7 mile hike to Lower Cathedral Lake included a lot of incredible views and a stunning alpine lake resting below the cathedral peaks. 

thumb_DSC_2300_1024.jpg

On our way back to camp we stopped at Olmstead Point for sunset, but opted to climb the large dome across the road from Olmstead Point in order to get better views.

IMG_2182.JPG

The next day was focused on Glacier Point Rd where we began at Glacier Point with fresh coffee and toasted bagels overlooking the east side of the valley with a great view of half dome. We ended the day with a visit to Taft Point, one of our favorite vistas in the park.

We took our time hiking back to the car with a stop at a stream to refresh ourselves before our 5 hour drive home in 100 degree heat.

To say we enjoyed ourselves would be an understatement! Casey and Kellian were a blast to spend time with and are a couple of the most easy going people - perfect camping buddies! Here's to our next adventure.

-Jen

 

Yellowstone National Park - August 2015

A few months ago we looked at the calendar and began to ponder a trip to Canada with a couple of friends.  As the summer grew shorter our plans became a little more specific but nothing was concrete and we hadn't done any concrete planning until about a week before the trip. We decided to camp for a few days in Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada and reserved our campsite.

The night before we set out for Canada we realized that two of our passports were expired. We opted to trash our Canada plans and head to Yellowstone in the morning without a campsite reserved. Luckily we were able to snag a campsite during the drive to Wyoming and enjoyed four exciting days in Yellowstone. Here are a few highlights:

Yosemite National Park - July 2015


...full of God’s thoughts, a place of peace and safety amid the most exalted grandeur and eager enthusiastic action, a new song, a place of beginnings abounding in first lessons on life, mountain-building, eternal, invincible, unbreakable order; with sermons in stones, storms, trees, flowers, and animals brimful of humanity.
— J o h n M u i r

When we thought through all the different places we could roadtrip to, Yosemite was always at the top of our list. We had seen pictures and had our own expectations, but nothing could prepare us for the magnitude of the reality of every aspect of Yosemite. John Muir's quote above gives a better explanation of the impact Yosemite can have on a person.