Feb 16, 2015

Weekend in Yosemite

We have a rule that no three-day weekend goes by without us doing some kind of getaway, even if it's very local. We went to Mt. Shasta (link to photos) for snowshoeing over Martin Luther King Weekend and this weekend we headed south to Yosemite. One of the great things about living in Silicon Valley is that you are only three hours away from a world famous National Park.

Except when there's traffic, then it's about 5 hours away...

...but we finally made at 11:30pm and immediately dug into red velvet cake. Brandon surprised me with this cake from my favorite bakery, Susie Cakes.

Susie Cakes Valentine Cake

We have a go-to B&B, Sierra Mountain Lodge, which offers really affordable off-seasons rates (with no breakfast). We stayed in a new (to us) room, the Garden Suite and while we really loved all the natural light, the walls were paper thin and the family beside us had two kids that like to party in the wee hours of the morning. Otherwise, it's such a great little B&B with all the amenities you could need and some pretty spectacular views.

On Saturday, we headed into Yosemite Valley and quickly realized that everyone else in California was taking advantage of the free weekend in the park. It was packed. We visited Mariposa Grove of Giant Redwoods, which unfortunately was in a state of ruin after some wildfires. The park will be refurbishing the area over the next two years.

Mariposa Grove - Yosemite

After a quick stop for bathrooms and snacks at the Vistors Center, we headed up the mountain to Vernal Falls. Marked as strenuous on the map, it didn't seem to scare off many people. The trail was full of hikers, so we decided to veer off on the longer (and less steep) route to escape the crowd. It was a good move because the view from up there was incredible!

Vernals Falls 2

After miles of hiking (mostly uphill), we were starving. Instead of waiting hours for a table at a nice restaurant, we opted to spend Valentine's Day with some take out pizza, our pajamas, and Bridesmaids on cable. Way better than any fancy restaurant.

Sugar Pine Pizza Valentine Cake

Brandon was rather concerned about the pizza though, thinking they cheated us out of a full large size to make it heart shaped. He may have been right because we polished this baby off in less than 10 minutes. No exaggeration.

The next day we stayed clear of Yosemite Valley, but did a hike just within the park limits called Chilnualna Falls. It's about 4.2 miles straight up the mountain, but luckily, the switchbacks helped it from being too steep. It was such a beautiful day though and surprisingly warm. Winters in California do not disappoint.

Chilnualna Falls

Dipping my feet into the icy cold mountain water after a hot and grueling hike? Worth it.

We practically ran back down the mountain to stuff ourselves yet again (we hike to eat) at South Gate Brewing Company in Oakhurst. It's probably a sin not to drink beer in a craft brewery, but since we aren't drinkers at all, I think we get a pass. I did get the beer battered chicken strips though and they were amazing.

The trip was finished with SNL 40th Anniversary Special, more red velvet cake, and nine hours of sleep caused by pure exhaustion and a food coma. Can't beat that.


  1. Sounds like you had a nice weekend! We were actually thinking of heading down to Yosemite last weekend too but decided to stay local! If we had though, we too would have been at that B&B as I looked into it per your rec!

  2. That cake and pizza look awesome! "We hike to eat" haha! I like that ;) Looks like you had a great trip!! Gorgeous pictures, as always!

  3. So I just checked out your travel page and saw that you have been to Yosemite a couple of times so I thought I would read your posts about it! We went this year for the first time and it was amazing! Of course, I was six months pregnant and had a kidney stone while we were there so we did much less hiking than you guys have done there, haha! I want to go back someday and do more hiking!


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