Sigh. Yosemite. What a magnificent place to host a wedding.
Our sweet friends, Bryan & Jacki were married on Friday, May 2nd at tiny chapel across from the very Yosemite Falls Josh proposed to me at almost 12 years ago.
It was such a beautiful event - the reception held at the Ahwahnee Hotel - in a quaint room dotted with sunshine yellow and creamy white floral arrangements and pure white linens, lit by candlelight and flooded with natural light from the huge picture windows showcasing spring in Yosemite. Breathtaking! Not to mention the radiant newlyweds - high on life and love. I'm filled with gratitude that we were invited.
We arrived on Wednesday - late afternoon - exhausted from tying up work, shuttling dogs to Floresville to stay with the grandparents and the usual scuffle of dealing with airports and travel...
Josh of course found the perfect craft brewery just outside the park in Oakhurst - South Gate Brewery - where we quickly made ourselves comfortable and decided to eat an early dinner (we are talking 4PM dinner...). We arrived at Arnett's log cabin at the Redwoods in Yosemite around 7 PM and our plans of UNO tournaments and enjoying the crisp, spring mountain air under the stars on the front deck were quickly reduced to a hot shower and snoring like bears in bed by 8 PM.
Early to bed really does mean early to rise. I awoke to the sound of bacon crackling... followed by the wailing of the smoke detector - clearly very sensitive to bacon at 6 AM.
Thursday was our day of hiking - and we were both so excited to get out there - even with my damn fear of bears.
A few stops to enjoy the views along the way to the Valley and by 9:30 AM we were at the start of the trailhead at Happy Isles. Our plan was to hike to both Vernal and Nevada Falls and take the scenic John Muir trail back around and connect back to the footbridge on the Vernal Falls trail. The trailhead starts at 4,000 feet and to the first waterfall, Vernal Falls, it's another 1,000 feet up along the glacial white water melt. Part of the trail is called The Mist Trail (although you don't just get misted on... we were pretty soaked).
Once at the top of Vernal Falls you can literally stand at the edge (with a barrier) and look down the falls - I let Josh take those photos with the digital camera since I'd already slipped a few times on the loose gravel and really didn't feel like loosing my footing at the top of a waterfall. A short break to enjoy the view and a couple of packs of 100 calorie almonds and we were off to lose the majority of the crowd and continue our way up to Nevada Falls. From Vernal Falls it's another 1,900 feet up with the last trek a steep incline with a series switchbacks consisting of narrow rock steps cut out of the mountain with no defined ledge or railing... I didn't look down.
Getting to the top was so worth it though - the views are awe-inspiring and with the sound of the waterfall now below us, we decided to take a nap under the pine trees.
Best. Nap. Ever.
Our growling stomachs finally got the best of us - probably the closest thing I came to in regards to a bear sighting was just having Josh's tummy growl... so we made our descent along the John Muir trail back to Happy Isle and Camp Curry. Where we proceeded to devour a pizza, hot dog, milk and chocolate chip cookie... hey it's vacation and it was after 3PM and we had only almonds in our bellies... I just find it humorous that we had the option of beer, but wanted milk instead.
The rest of the afternoon was spent recovering from the hike, sleeping in the car, and leisurely strolling around the park, waiting for the Rehearsal Dinner that evening. The dinner was held at the picnic tables at the foot of Yosemite Falls complete with brown bags filled with all kinds of goodies. It couldn't have been a more perfect way to end the evening.
Our drive was about an hour back to the cabin along winding roads so we left slightly after 8 PM and arrived just in time to meet up with good friends who were also attending the wedding the next day and were staying at the Beckett cabin just across the street.
Friday before the wedding was our relaxing day. We got to sleep in until 8 AM! Eggs and bacon without the smoke detector sounding was pleasant as well... We took a stroll with Adam and Amy to the Mariposa Grove and witnessed huge, 3,000 year old Sequoias - makes you feel pretty tiny.
I was able to squeeze in some reading on the deck under the sunshine and cool crisp breeze before the wedding and then we were off to the Valley again to celebrate Bryan and Jacki's wedding.
Saturday was a bit of a blur - lots of driving all for the sake of Russian River Brewing Company and some good ole' Pliny the Elder beer and a 25 minute "detour" because I dropped my wedding ring into a small groove under the seat of our rental car and we had a heck of a time retrieving it - which almost caused us to miss our visit to the brew pub... but we made it, had an hour and a half at the brewery, drove our happy booties back to Sacramento and flew back to ATX and passed out on our bed a little after midnight.
Whew! It was definitely a memorable trip - far too short - we plan on going back for more hiking.
Until then... a few polaroids I took while on our hike on Thursday and one from the grove on Friday morning. Josh got a ton of photos on the ole' digital camera, but I'll share those on FB.
The polaroid below is from an overlook on the way to Glacier Point. It was hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that in less than two hours Josh and I would be hiking up those two waterfalls in the photo below... so freaking cool!
On our way into the valley, you drive through a tunnel and are rewarded with Tunnel View.
On the way up to Nevada Falls - we are about 6,000 feet up at this point and the rocky stairs are about to begin again...
Making our descent - my favorite vista view of the hike along the John Muir Trail - looking towards Nevada Falls and Liberty Cap.
The trees are pretty big - too big for my little polaroid frame.