Author: Becky Sizelove
Author: Becky Sizelove
What comes to mind when you think of the grandest land in America? For me, it's always been California, where mountains meet oceans and chill is a way of life. On the way to my semester abroad to NZ, I had an eight-hour layover in San Francisco. I ventured out and fell in love. I also swore I'd be back some day. Eight years later, my husband and I trekked from San Francisco to Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Park, over to Yosemite and back to San Fransisco in ten days. It was thrilling.
Our top spots for San Fransisco were the Painted Ladies, Baker Beach and 16th Avenue Tiled Steps. We were able to squeeze in Lombard Street on our last day and we were so thrilled that we could. The views were epic! This city mesmerized us both and we can't wait to go back someday soon!
Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Park
These two National Parks are side by side, which means you can see awe-inspiring canyons and colossal thousand-year-old trees all on the same day. We landed in King's Canyon at night so we decided to watch the sunrise at Panoramic View. It was one of my favorite memories of the trip. We then went to see General Grant and did the Giant Forest Loop. I was amazed to learn that fire is essential to the growth of sequoia trees. I love our National Parks - you can learn so much while connecting with nature!
We started our first morning in Yosemite at Glacier Point. That same afternoon, we hiked to Taft Point where I conquered my fear of heights to sit at the edge of the most epic viewpoint of Yosemite Falls. After we had our fill of Taft Point, we took the more difficult trail 'round the back of Sentinel Dome (not sure what the trail was called but the views were amazing and sometimes the trail just totally dropped off the edge 😶) - we climbed a snowy Sentinel Dome to see amazing panoramic views of Yosemite. From there, we hiked the easier trail back to the parking lot where we realized the shuttles were no longer running. As luck would have it, a kind man from Texas gave us a ride back to Glacier Point just in time for the most magnificent sunset. Needless to say, our first day was jam packed and so amazing. We chose to travel to Yosemite in June because that's when the best waterfalls happen. What's fabulous is that the waterfall flow this year is the best it has been in years!
After our big ten mile hike on the first day, we took it easy with a pool day and then a day visiting Tunnel View, Lower Yosemite Falls, Cook's Meadow and Valley View on the second and third day. On the fourth day, we were thirsty for another hike. We chose the Mist Trail. This trail transports you to another time and it was my favorite hike of the trip. After passing Merced River, we climbed amazing stone steps Vernal Falls. Mist Trail clearly got its name for a reason. We were drenched by the falls' mist! The sights were worth it, though. We continued our hike past Emerald Pool to Nevada Falls. I was lucky enough to see rainbows at the end of each waterfall! We also visited Mirror Lake after our Mist Trail hike - I sure am glad I hiked the extra couple miles to see it. We ran into a lovely deer on our way back to the shuttle that evening. I felt so honored to be able to see such stunning pieces of nature throughout that day. On our final day, we rode horses through the forest just like John Muir did back in the 1800's!