Quick trip to Yosemite

Last weekend, David and I were sitting at a country diner, enjoying the lunch break from our childbirth class. The sun was FINALLY shining, and we started brainstorming places to see snow. 


“Yosemite?” David asked. Within minutes-thanks to HotelTonight-I impulsively booked a hotel room and we began excitedly planning a last minute trip.

The next day, after a hearty breakfast at home and a trip to Target for snacks and boots, we were on the road. My past two trips to Yosemite have been camping in the summer-it’s completely different in the winter. Obviously. But I had no idea how magical it would look.


This time we drove 141 which I much preferred to driving the 4. Less crazy curves and drop-offs and SO green! Before we even entered the park, just seeing the rolling hills and the trees in the Sierra Forrest was enough of a treat to make the trip worth it.

We listened to the Axe Files interview with Dorris Kearns Goodwin on the drive, and there was something special about listening to DKG talk about Teddy Roosevelt as we entered the magnificent park.

Thankfully, David picked up chains in Mariposa because we definitely needed them. It was still pretty icy in the park, and we slowwwwly made our way through the Valley.


I wasn’t in an rush-it felt like every time we turned, we were in another winter wonderland postcard.


We spent the afternoon in the Valley, driving around the meadows, getting out of the car to walk in the snow, and then moving along. The park definitely wasn’t crowded-especially compared to summer-but I was surprised how many families were out. One family was tailgating in their truck bed and another had a full on BBQ-in the snow-at the Swinging Bridge Picnic area!


We definitely weren’t that prepared, but I did remember to pack a full thermos of hot chocolate, which stayed nice and warm throughout the afternoon and was a special treat.


This meadow-with the view of Half Dome-was my favorite. At this point it was late afternoon and the light on the snow was breathtaking.


After snacking and hot chocolat-ing our way through the Valley, we decided it was time for a late lunch/early dinner. The restaurant at Yosemite Lodge wasn’t quite open yet, so we went to the Mountain Room Lounge instead.


The food was surprisingly delicious! There’s a fireplace in the center and pretty views all around. We relaxed for a while before it started to get dark.

I was a bit nervous as we drove through the park-it was icy-but thankfully, we made it out. We stayed at the Yosemite View Lodge, just outside the park. It’s super basic and simple and just right for a restful sleep after an incredible day in the snow. 

Glad we decided to just go for it and take the impulsive trip. I love travel planning and the anticipation, but the spontaneity of this trip made it feel particularly adventurous. Grateful for our National Parks and so thankful to live so close to this beautiful park!

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