We had managed the ultimate score, and snagged two nights in Yosemite Valley on a cancellation. The eight of us rolled into the traffic nightmare around 2:00. We had a nice spacious site and quickly worked to get camp set up. Our goal was to leave the suburban parked for the duration of our stay in the valley, utilizing bikes and public transportation.
The shuttle took us to the visitor center just moments before closing time. We wandered around a bit before heading back to the campsite for the evening. Fortunately we were on the outside of a loop in the campground and managed to escape much of the noise as night spread across the valley.
Wyatt and I woke up early Tuesday morning to hike the Mist Trail before the others woke up. We started off in the predawn darkness, ascending along the Merced River. A few other scattered hikers were out on the trail that early, but for the most part we had the walk to ourselves.
We decided to take the John Muir Trail back down to get some different views, as well as to avoid the increasing numbers of hikers likely bottlenecking at some of the narrower parts of the trail.
Wyatt and I arrived back at the campsite around 8:30 where we ate breakfast with the others. The next leg of the trip was to be a tour of the valley by bike. Extensive road construction on the valley roads contributed to some of the chaos, but we managed to negotiate our way through the crowds. We spent time at the Visitor Center and museum, Lower Yosemite Falls, and over to Swinging Bridge before heading back. We did have a tragedy along the way. Wyatt ended up getting a stick caught in his rear derailleur and consequently blew it up. He rode my bike back to camp while I used his as a scooter.
Tuesday night we went to a presentation buy YOSAR. It was a lot of fun looking at some of their rope rescue techniques.
Wednesday morning we packed up camp and headed to our next spot for the trip, Tuolumne Meadows.
See it Yourself: While most of the visitors and activities in Yosemite center around the valley, the park itself consists of 748,836 acres, of which 704,624 acres is designated wilderness. That being said, Yosemite Valley is truly spectacular and worth a visit. If planning on staying in the valley, whether camping or lodging, advanced reservations are strongly recommended.