A Crazy Day Trip to Yosemite

When Brian and I say we are going to stay home for the weekend to rest and run errands, we usually end up getting cabin fever, and rarely follow through with that plan. Often, we end up doing a local hike, or going on an adventure to chase a good coastal sunset. However, this time around we ended up doing something pretty insane.

We drove 4.5 hours from San Jose to Glacier Point in Yosemite, hiked all day, stayed for sunset, and drove home. It was an epic day to say the least.

It all started with a post on social media announcing that the Glacier Point Road was opening for the season. I jumped at the opportunity to drive up to one of my favorite vistas in the park, and spend the day hiking. After work on Friday, I casually joked that we should go for the day, and Brian exclaimed, “Let’s do it!”

So, we spent the evening getting our gear ready, and went to bed early so that we could be on the road before dawn.

At 5:30 a.m. we were headed south on the 101, eating breakfast burritos, and squealing with excitement.

By the late morning we arrived to a crowded parking lot, I guess many others were also excited for the road to open. After spending some time taking a few photos, we were ready to hit the trail.

Photo: Julie Boyd

The first leg of the trek was to hike from Glacier Point to the top of Sentinel Dome. It was a quick, quiet 1.5 mile ascent through pine forests. As we got closer to our destination, however, the trail intersected with the shorter route from the Sentinel Dome parking lot, and thus our solitude was lost. We climbed a snowy slope to the top of the granite dome, and enjoyed 360-degree vistas of the park. While many people sat on the north face to view Yosemite Falls, we climbed around the backside, found a quiet spot with a view of Half-Dome, and enjoyed the lunch that we packed.

Photo: Julie Boyd

Afterwards, we headed back down, and hopped on the 2.1-mile trail that lead to our next stop: Taft Point. Another crowded route, this trail was also still marshy and filled with patches of melting snow that were dying more slowly under the cover of pines. Eventually, the trail meets a long, open cliff-face, and in the distance you could see hikers gathered along the edge of the point.

Photo: Julie Boyd

We walked around the area, scoping out different shots, but there is a reason why everyone takes the same one on the diving board-like edge just past the official point guardrail; it’s the best shot. So, we waited for a break in the crowds so that we could have a go at it, and then headed back. This time, however, we elected to take the Pohono Trail to return to Glacier Point.

Photo: Julie Boyd

This was definitely our favorite part of the day, as we only encountered three other groups along the trail, and two of them were headed in the opposite direction. In addition to the solitude, the views along the way were breathtaking.

Photo: Julie Boyd

Once we arrived back to Glacier Point, Brian and I put on some warmer clothes, had a snack, and then camped out to await the sunset. While the sky did not develop the colors I had hoped for, some puffy clouds still made the scene beautiful. It’s tough to find a bad view of Half Dome!

Photo: Julie Boyd

With growling stomachs, we said our goodbyes to Yosemite and headed to Oakhurst. At nearly 10:00 p.m., it’s the closest town with food options still open, and we happily scarfed down a couple of burgers before heading back to the Bay Area.

We arrived home at around 12:30 a.m., making our excursion about 19 hours.

While we might be completely crazy for making such a long drive for one day of hiking, it was probably one of my favorite days in recent memory. In retrospect, we probably should have camped, or gotten a hotel room in Fresno, but we can always do that next time.

Instagram: @boundtoexplore

Website: www.boundtoexplore.com

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

Julie & Brian

Bay Area based couple making travel work with full-time jobs. Follow us on our adventures as we make the most of our time off by exploring our beautiful planet. www.boundtoexplore.com