Yosemite National Park in 8hrs

So when I booked my camping tour I was quite excited about the opportunity to explore Yosemite but it has turned out there will be a lot less time than advertised in fact I only have 8 hours in total. Definitely not the best but luckily there’s a bus system similar to the Gran Canyon so I can try to make the most of the day.

Even though I still find the shuttle bus systems in US National Parks one of the oddest things I’m highly thankful they exist. They saved my Grand Canyon adventures when I was very ill and now they are the means by while I can make the most of my short time in Yosemite.

So having spent the previous evening planning out short walks from shuttle bus stops and figuring how much is possible I start with a quick wander from the main base where we’ve been dropped at Yosemite Village. From here an easy walk talks me to a good view point for the Yosemite Falls which are really quite beautiful and en route I even manage to make a friends with the native wildlife.

A friendly deer in Yosemite Village
Yosemite Falls

After a quick bus journey I head out to the base of El Capitan. One of the most famous climbing spots in Yosemite National Park its also is pretty impressive just to see. With only limited time I do a quick walk along the water, a very quick loop path and of course a little off the path wander but take plenty of photos before getting back on another shuttle bus and off to my next stop. Not quite exploring the American wilderness but can definitely appreciate the views and just from this spot alone I have fallen in love with Yosemite.

El Capitan
In awe of the mountain range

So the next bus ride takes me to shuttle spot 17 and the Mirror Lake trail. This is my only proper walk of the day and though it’s a well defined trail I feel a little more out in nature that sitting in the shuttle bus or walking a paved path. The trail goes through forest paths, open plain sections and along the edge of a river (which I eventually have to wade cross to continue the route) all in the shadow of Mount Watkins. I think I’ve clearly picked a good walk to give me a feel of the variety of Yosemite and when I arrive at Mirror Lake it lives up to its name giving beautiful reflection of the landscape.

Mirror Lake reflecting Mount Watkins

My last hour in Yosemite is spent in the other big accommodation spot, Curry Village while awaiting out minivan to come collect us and return us to our campsite outside the park. Though such a short visit to the National Park is really quite a shame I feel I made the best I could of my 8 hours. Only thing is, being such a beautiful place made it so much more disappointing that I could not take longer to explore. Yet another adventure added to future travel plans. Next time there will be at least a week spent at Yosemite National Park and lots of hiking involved.

Tomorrow’s next stop on the camping tour is actually not camping and in fact a hotel in San Francisco. I wasn’t much of a fan of San Francisco the first time who knows maybe the second time round will be better.


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