Lexi and Hiro's Round The World Journey 2008-2009 travel blog

amazing view of the yosemite valley

watch out for bears

our tent

the view took our breath away

half dome

near our tent

it changed its appearance every 5 mins

walking a trail

Hiro in a meadow

beautiful river

giant sequoia tree, massive!


We hired a car from San Francisco to visit one of the most beautiful national parks in the US, Yosemite. We were a bit worried about driving on the right side of the road, but it wasn’t actually too hard, although Hiro nearly drove into the left side a couple of times… Anyway we enjoyed the 6-hour drive to Yosemite with beautiful scenery of deserted American land and rocky Mountains. The hardest thing was to get out of downtown San Francisco with heaps of one way streets, but thanks to the GPS, we got out of the city eventually. Americans drive quite fast, I would be the slowest car on a freeway if I was driving at 110kph. You need to be driving at least 120-125kph to be in a flow comfortably.

Once we got in the park, it just took our breath away. It is the most picturesque place in the US we’ve been so far, if not in the world. The Yosemite National Park covers 1,200 square miles, boasting big shouldered granite monoliths, beautiful waterfalls, meadows and river. We booked in a tent cabin in Yosemite Valley, surrounded by the huge cliffs with a massive half-dome shaped rock. We found out that it was going to be -6 degrees at night and we weren’t equipped with winter clothing. Thank god that we were able to be upgraded to a tent with a heater. I think we got the last one as we saw other people asking for a heated tent, and they were told there weren’t any left. Even with a heater in our tent the freezing wind was coming through inside and it was pretty cold at night. However waking up to the splendid monoliths over us was absolutely amazing.

Bears are around in the park, and we were told at check-in not to leave any food in the tent or car. Just outside of our tent there was a bear-proof food storage box where we can put all the food, drinks, toothpastes and other stuff with scent. There are more than 100 cars a year that get their windows smashed by bears. We didn’t see any while in Yosemite, but Lexi had to get Hiro to come with her to go to the bathroom at night.

Unfortunately, on the second day we didn’t have good weather, it was raining, snowing and hailing, but it didn’t ruin the beautiful scenery. We drove around the valley (as much as we can because a few roads were closed due to heavy snow) and stopped to take photos. I just don’t have enough vocabulary to express how beautiful this place is, so please have a look at photos, but just know it is 100 times better than what it looks in the photos. Massive monoliths are just sitting there quietly but its colour and appearance change very quickly. It was covered with deep fog, then 5 mins later it looked completely different with a bit of sunshine coming through the cloud. A conifer forest covers the whole valley and a stream of crystal clear green coloured river running through it.

On the last day we visited a forest of giant sequoia trees. As we drove up to the entrance we were stopped and told the car park was full. The ranger told us that we had to go back 8km to the village and take the bus into the park. Welcome to America. It would have been so much easier if they put the sign up or something at the village so that we don’t have to drive back to the village where everyone drives through anyway. So we just parked our car at the foot of the entrance and walked the 3km into the park. However it was quite a climb up, it took us almost one hour, but the worst part was, half way through, cars started to come up behind us, meaning they opened up the route again! The ranger guy could have told us that it would be open again if we waited a bit. Damn. Being half annoyed and half tired, we kept going up the hill, but every cloud has a silver lining. Just before we got to the forest, we walked in to a little path to find the biggest sequoia tree, bigger than the ones in the actual preserved forest. It was just massive and definitely the biggest tree that we both have ever seen in our life. Sequoia trees are the biggest living things on the planet. It felt so sacred and somehow even scared to be near it, but when you actually touch it, it was rather soft and smelled awesome, it made me feel calm and peaceful, just like being mother’s arms.

We would recommend anyone going to the US to visit Yosemite if possible. We loved it, and sure you will too. It is beautiful, magnificent and life-changing. Just make sure to pack some warm clothing. Now we are driving back to the coast, then down the “big sur” to LA!



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