Travel Journal: Yosemite National Park in 8hrs

So when I booked my US camping tour I was quite excited about the opportunity to explore Yosemite National Park. A American national treasure, a site of awe inspiring landscapes and natural wonderland you could get lost for days in but it has turned out there will be a lot less time scheduled in Yosemite 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 Grand 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 they are the means by which I manage to make most of my short time in Yosemite.

Having spent my previous evening planning out short walks from shuttle bus stops and figuring out how much is possible  if I hike fast, I start my day with a quick wander from the main base where our bus dropped us at Yosemite Village. From here an easy walk takes 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 deer in Yosemite Nation Park
A friendly deer in Yosemite Village
Yosemite Falls within the National Park
Yosemite Falls

With a quick bus journey I journeyed out to the base of El Capitan. One of the most famous climbing spots in Yosemite National Park and it is 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 continuing to my next stop. I certainly wasn’t exploring the American wilderness like I hoped but I could definitely appreciate the views and just from that first spot alone I had fallen in love with Yosemite National Park.

El Capitan, a popular climbing route in Yosemite National Park
El Capitan
View of the mountain range in Yosemite
In awe of the mountain range

the next bus ride takes me to shuttle spot 17 and the Mirror Lake trail. This was 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 had to wade cross to continue the route) all in the shadow of Mount Watkins. I think I clearly picked a good walk to give me a feel of the variety of Yosemite and when I arrived at Mirror Lake it lives up to its name giving a beautiful reflection of the landscape.

Mirror Lake reflecting Mount Watkins, Yosemite National Park
Mirror Lake reflecting Mount Watkins

My last hour in Yosemite was spent in the another big accommodation spot; Curry Village, while awaiting our 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 return 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.