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Must-Do Hikes in Yosemite National Park in California.
My husband and I earned a FREE trip to California because of my Shaklee business and we decided to take some extra days to ourselves and enjoy some kid-free time! We spent 2.5 days in Yosemite and hiked our hineys off since none of us had to carry kids on our backs! (See Day 1 and Day 2).
We really wanted to hike Half Dome but you have to apply for a permit and then it’s a lottery drawing to see who is allowed to go up for the day and unfortunately our numbers were not drawn (only 350 people are given permits per day depending on weather). A Park Ranger recommended to us to hike Clouds Rest. It’s harder, higher up and longer distance actually than Half Dome so we were totally all in! The Ranger also told us that the views were so much more spectacular because you were able to see Half Dome from the top as well as have full panoramic views of the Valley.
The trail starts off with a pretty decent climb right away and only You climb to a summit of 10,000 feet!! So it makes total sense that you cliiiiimb!
We were so high that there was actually still snow!!
Clayton just had to build a snowman and send a picture to the kids!
The terrain was rough in lots of places. It’s definitely not a trail for the weak. Clayton and I kept a really fast pace climbing (the projected hiking time for Cloud’s Rest is 9-10 hours and we did it in 7). I took my heart rate when we were climbing some really steep rocks and my heart rate was 154! Just goes to show we really were booking it.
Then all of a sudden you’d go downhill a bit! Such a diverse terrain hike!
Near the top of one of the mountains was this beautiful, pristine, still pond. The water was so clear – you could see to the bottom for pretty much the entire pond. The only animal we ever saw in it was a snake! Ha, go figure. We never saw any fishes or even bugs, just a darn snake!
With about 30 minutes left before the final climb up the rocky peak we finally saw some other people on the trail. We started talking to them and turns out they were from Rockford, IL! Only 45 minutes from where Clayton and I grew up! Such a small world!
The final ascend! No path just pick and chose the rocks you want to climb across. It truly is just a peak that you are climbing. Absolutely nothing on either side of you. This mountain just juts out into the sky (literally in the clouds) and you’re just up there!
I was moving right along, I wasn’t even thinking about being scared. But all of a sudden literally my body just couldn’t climb anymore. It was as if my brain took a look around and said “Holy crap!! This is high! One of you better stop you have 3 precious babies you need to get home to!” Once this thought entered my brain and I took a look around I literally had a hard time breathing. We were so freaking high!! So…I decided to stop with not much more to go. But I was 100% ok with it! I totally felt I had completed the hike.
I came down a bit to find a stable rock to sit on while Clayton continued on to the top.
More pictures of my gorgeous panoramic view! This is Tenaya Lake.
Once Clayton came back down we ate our packed lunch and totally took in our view.
This is what we climbed. At the very top is a ledge/ridge called Knife’s Edge. Clayton made it to that point but the winds were really strong, birds were flying overhead (and he could hear their wings flapping), and the ledge was no wider than his arms extended to his sides. He decided that the ridge wasn’t for him, so he left that part out.
We started talking to some men that were up there as well, one was a Yosemite park ranger for 15 years. He said that he has seen many people get up to the ledge/ridge and freak out, get vertigo and have to belly crawl off the mountain. I’m telling you, this was a freaky hike! But sooo worth it!
On our hike back down I found this clump of animal fur – I have no idea what it is from but there were bears and mountain lions where we were…so maybe one of them!
Tenaya Lake – this is the lake pictured above from the summit (top).
We then drove down to the Valley floor and walked around the beautiful fields.
Being goofy showing off the bucks in the distance.
The views from the Valley floor are just stunning. Again, the pictures just don’t do it justice.
We then caught a gorgeous sunset! The end to a perfect day!
This trip was seriously a trip of a lifetime. My pictures hardly do Yosemite any justice. The grandness of the mountains, the pristine and diverse terrain, the animals, the flowers, the views, the sunsets – there really is just no way to capture them to their full extent. So if I can encourage you in the least, go to Yosemite!! You will not regret it! …and if you’d like to earn a FREE trip to California like we did let’s chat! Leave a comment or email me and I will help you earn one too!