Wow, heading to Yosemite was quite the mission. Our original plan was to head straight from Santa Maria to Yosemite, but we decided to change things due to some expected snow. We headed up the coast to Santa Cruz and spent some time there, in Mountain View, and in San Francisco. We thought we might not make it out to Yosemite, but with some last minute research I deemed it a necessity to get our butts out there. We booked a hotel last minute for Sonora and got in the car to begin our 3 hour commute.
We headed out from Mountain View towards the mountains. A few hours in we branched off the main highway and began our ascent. As the minutes inched on, we gained ground and began being surrounded by trees and grass. What a gorgeous drive, and what gorgeous scenery.
Unfortunately, we did not call or look into the road conditions ahead of time and ooops, that was our mistake. But then again, not such a bad one. We ended up at the entrance along the western side of the 120. A hello was exchanged with the ranger before she spoke of the road closure not too far in the distance. We decided to keep on anyway and go until the road ended.
We were surrounded by snow. Everywhere. A white blanket enveloped the entire scenery, besides the road beneath us. It was absolutely gorgeous. All the trees were covered in this bright green moss, standing out vibrantly against the white glow of the snow.
Once we made it to the end of the road, we made a quick U turn and decided to stop off at an abandoned gas station nearby. Now, here I experienced a crazy realization. This gas station was the exact same one I drove through to get gas and a map the last venture I made into the park, 5 months prior.
But now, we met with a completely different cover; snow.
It was incredible. This place, which was completely full of life and visitors the last time around, was now completely vacant and closed for the season.
But we did not leave defeated. Instead, we decided to explore and ventured into the snow covered woods. It was a gorgeous exploration, leading us to a couple white lakes and dense forests.
After a bit of trudging and a couple moments of our feet sinking a bit too deep in the snow, we headed back to the car and drove along another road. This one too, would bring us to a gate closing off the rest of the drive from the seasonal affairs.
A parking lot called us for a U turn and we decided this was our chance to explore.
We got out of the car to read a sign and realized that we were at a trail head leading deep into the redwoods. We read the information and decided to head in. The destination being: giant sequoias; one specifically that expands the length of the trail and can be walked through by hikers.
We hiked for a bit, rarely crossing anyone on our excursion. After about 40 minutes descending the snow covered trails, we glimpsed the giants.
Myself for size comparison.
We continued along the now fenced (to protect the shallow and fragile roots) in trail a bit further to the final destination of our hike.
Within the tree were multiple carvings from the decades past. The oldest one we spotted was from 1886!
We lingered for a bit, taking everything in and enjoying the serene stillness surrounding us.
After awhile, we headed back up the trail. The hike back was definitely more strenuous and made my calves ache. Luckily, it was over quickly and with thirst, the earth provided and we ate some fresh snow along the way.
This trail hailed some features to overcome, or, well, go under.
The sun began to set on our journey out of the park. The glow of twilight resonated through our entire drive. A few moments deserved taking in, so we parked the car to catch glimpses of our beautiful surroundings.
It was a last minute plan and it was glorious, but only the beginning of our adventure in Yosemite!
Come back for day two, when we venture inside the park!