May 20 – May 29
Yosemite is obviously a ginormous park with tons of very difficult day hikes, but fortunately we can’t leave the pups for more than 7-ish hours at a time. A 5 hour hike is plenty for me, so it works out great. We luckily squeezed the trailer into a spot at Indian Flat campground about 45 minutes from Yosemite Valley. We jam-packed our stay, hiked, saw the highlights and a bear (from a distance)! I can’t imagine how crowded it gets later the summer, because there were already a good amount of people in the Valley and on our hikes. We hiked up to Nevada Falls, drove to the Tunnel View look out, hiked Sentinel Dome. We had a full range of weather while we were there, beautiful blue bird days, rain followed by spooky fog. All were beautiful and I’m glad we were able to experience a few different versions. I throw the word magical around a lot, but it is really fitting in Yosemite. Those waterfalls. It’s magical.
Even though we were delayed in getting started, our timing worked out really well since the road that cuts through Yosemite, Tioga Pass, opened up while we were there. The opening date varies based on snowfall the previous winter. We were staying on the west side of Yosemite, but there are lots of campgrounds on the east side. We successfully made the 2 hour drive across with the trailer and found a GEM of a spot in Lee Vining. The last 10 miles or so before arriving at the campground were the steepest we had driven with the trailer. Once we turned into the campground it started smelling like burnt rubber and smoke was spilling out of the front driver-side tire. It cooled down and was totally fine, but we are now better acquainted with the “engine brake” and “tow mode” settings on the truck.
In our short time on the road, we have learned that problems are rarely without a buddy. As we were setting up, we realized our battery power wasn’t working…no lights, no water pump, no ceiling fans, no good. We’ve replaced fuses before, but that didn’t seem to be the issue this time. It looked like the wires had been burned. The small bolt holding it together had come lose and every time the trailer was jostled around, it was sparking. Lee Vining is super remote, but we couldn’t have been luckier because there was a tiny general store five minutes away that had the longer bolt and nut we needed to prevent it from coming loose again. Crisis averted. After all of that, we decided we would stay for a full week, through Memorial Day weekend. We were parked right along a rushing creek with a mountain in the background for $7 a night! One of the best deals of the trip for sure. We went on so many beautiful hikes in the eastern Sierra Nevada mountains each with its own crystal clear alpine lake. Lakes on lakes on lakes. It was hard to leave, but we wanted to fit in one more park before driving to the coast.