Incredible Adventures took me on a journey of a lifetime from San Francisco to the grand mountains in Yosemite National Park. Yosemite National Park was unlike any other park I’ve been to in the United States. Most of my time lands me on the coast, in the ocean, or in valley forests like Muir Woods for instance. In rare opportunities like this, I find myself in the mountains. The enormous granite mountains stand confidently behind the colourful valley. I’ve not seen mountains of this magnitude or ones made of sheer rock face before. The mountains in Canada are typically snow capped or covered with ever greens. The steep sleet cliffs amazed me as I stood in the valley below looking up at the wonder above me.
Natural wonders such as this remind me how small I am in a big world. Exploring throughout Yosemite park left me speechless around every twist and turn. Hiking in the park reminded me how lucky I am to be able to explore the world in which I live. Each destination that I visit is so different from the others. Yosemite and its grander is spectacular. Trail to trail, I was left speechless as I am often left when exploring the natural world.
The 4 hour drive to Yosemite was a breeze with Incredible Adventures as we made 2 convenient stops along the way. One at Denise’s Farmer’s Market where I bought fresh local grown nuts, fruits, and products. The second stop was at a grocery store where I picked up a picnic lunch to take to the park. The view along the way held my attention as we drove through the hills and age old mining villages to Yosemite. Throughout the drive, my tour guide Colin provided a wealth of knowledge about the areas we were passing through and the park we were about to see. It was helpful having a guide to inform me along the way rather than going to the park on my own.
I saw remnants of snow from Yosemite’s most recent snow fall as we neared closer to the park while driving in the mountains. This season my first sighting of snow was not in Canada, but in California. How ironic that I am trying to escape winter this year, yet I cannot escape the snow. Seeing snow brought back vivid memories of blizzards in Atlantic Canada. I’ll take snow in California any day over snow in Canada. Visiting the park in the fall provides an opportunity to see its iconic layer of snow throughout the park. It was an extremely warm day during my visit to the park and no snow could be found in the valley, but only bits left in the mountains (4,500 feet above sea level).
Once we entered the park, Colin took us to some amazing picture taking spots. Yosemite Falls, Bridalveil Fall, El Capitan, and Half Dome are a few of the sights visited. The views were nothing like I’ve seen before. Watching the rock climbers “tent” on the steep El Capitan (1000m) sheer rock wall on their way to the top was mind blowing. Once we got to the valley, my group was given 3 hours of time to explore the park. With the park being 1200 square miles, 3 hours doesn’t seem like a lot of time, but with an efficient shuttle system that runs throughout the park, I was able to see many of the iconic sites.
Everywhere I looked I saw something amazing. I did a few short hikes to see Lower Yosemite Falls, Yosemite Village, Sentinel Bridge, and the chapel while also taking the shuttle to some great spots with a view. During one of my hikes, I stumbled upon two painters in a field capturing the scenery on paper with water colour. One of the ladies is a park ranger and spends most of her spare time in the park painting its wonder. The Sequoia Groves beneath the jagged granite cliffs is a sight to remember. I couldn’t believe my eyes; around every curve along the path I snapped another photo.
The drive back was a quiet one. As we left the park the sun was setting behind the mountains. What a perfect end to the perfect day. The entire 15 passenger vehicle sat quietly in the dark on the way back to San Francisco. Everyone was tuckered out after a busy day in the park. I was blessed to have had the opportunity to visit this “crown jewel” of a national park. The tour was perfectly planned with the freedom and flexibility of traveling on my own.
I could have spent an entire weekend exploring the park, yet I didn’t feel like I missed out on anything by doing it in a day. Incredible Adventures did a great job of providing the history of the region, taking us to the famous view points, and giving us free time in the park, while recommending what to see in the time we had. It was an excellent introduction to the park. This tour was perfect for me where I didn’t have a whole lot of time in Northern California during my second visit. I know that if in the San Francisco area again, I would visit Yosemite National Park in a heart beat.
FYI- Did you know that Incredible Adventures is an environmentally friendly tour company? Check out their website to find out more about how they use biodiesel (petroleum-free) fuel in their vehicles! I was impressed to know that the company promotes eco-friendly sustainable tours. I’m always happy to support a green business! Anything to help the environment!
*Media coverage for Incredible Adventures