Saturday, February 13, 2016

Yosemite Weekend Getaway!

Half Dome
SMS and I had an amazing weekend!  Our initial motivation was a little sluggish since it was a last minute trip planned during the workweek but I’m so glad we pushed through and made it happen.  We went to Yosemite for the holiday weekend.  The weather was perfect.  We had the best time exploring, rock climbing and enjoying our unique experience at our bed and breakfast.

We decided to take the mellow approach and leave on Saturday morning rather than feel rushed on Friday night.  This decision was also helped by the fact that we couldn’t check into our bed and breakfast after 9 p.m. and there was really no way we would make it to Yosemite by that time on Friday.  I was also able to get in a 6 mile run on Saturday morning, which was great since I didn’t want to go three days without running.
Commonwealth Beer Sampler
At 9:45 we left and headed East.  We stopped for lunch in Modesto at Commonwealth, a gastropub with a large tap list and delicious food.  I went with a Chicken and Waffle from their brunch menu and SMS got a chicken club.  Although they had great-sounding salads, SMS and I clearly decided to stick with their Un-diet menu.  We were a little disappointed that their snacks menu wasn’t served until 3 since the reason we stopped there was for the potato chip nachos but what we had was tasty.  We decided we would try to stop on our way back from our Yosemite trip.

We took the 140 into the Park, arriving around 2:30.  Driving through the Valley was pretty spectacular.  It was crowded but manageable.   All of the off-season lodging options in the Valley were full by the time I had booked our trip so I was expecting that we would be sharing our experience with others.  
Lower Yosemite Falls with friends

First, we went to the Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls.  The Upper Falls were my favorite because there is so much water and parts of it slam into little outcroppings making the most gorgeous, turbulent spray.  It’s amazing.  We also walked over to the climbing routes a little to the right of the path to the Lower Falls.  There’s a route named Jam Crack that SMS really wanted to do so we put it on our TTD (Things to Do!) list for the next day or two.  

We also climbed a very small boulder and I gamba'd my best to climb it and conquer my fear.  I did it!  I was very happy and had SMS take a photo of the (small) triumph!
Horsetail Falls, a little early in the Firefall Effect (not very orange-y yet)
Then we headed towards El Capitan and parked in one of the turnoff parking lots to watch the sunset on Horsetail Falls.  I’ve written a separate post about the Firefall effect.  We went each night to check it out and Saturday was the most spectacular.  The sky was perfectly clear so the setting sun light was undiminished.  The spray against the cliffs and the spray upwards created an intense light scattering effect that was incredible to see.  We took pictures and just took in the scene.  I’m really glad that we sought the experience out.  
Morning View from our room's deck

Next it was off to the B&B.  I highly, highly recommend the Yosemite Blue Butterfly Inn.  Ron and Liz are the most gracious hosts and full of information about the Valley.  Ron has an incredible climbing background and was really helpful in giving us route advice in addition to several back stories about the history of Yosemite rock climbing.  We stayed in the Lotus Room, which was very spacious and had a balcony overlooking the Merced River, which had a great water flow level.  We could even hear it (slightly) through our closed windows.  The room had its own bathroom and the bed was very comfortable.  The room was decorated in an Art Deco style, which was pretty cool.  I’m not completely familiar with the style and it was great to see a whole room decorated that way to get a cohesive overview of Art Deco d├ęcor and furnishings.

  

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