As sad as we were to leave Mammoth Lakes, we were so excited to to move onto Yosemite National Park. Yosemite has been on our list for awhile and we had a whole week set aside to explore it.
From Mammoth Lakes we drove through Stanislaus National Forest towards Yosemite. Stanislaus National Forest felt secluded and gorgeous. It was also some of the most difficult roadway we traveled with its constant switchbacks and steep grading reaching 25%. Halfway through the forest we stopped for a walk along a river and checked out the Columns of the Giants, a geologic formation that like Devils Postpile, was formed by lava and ice. We also past a lot of small campgrounds that we put on our list for the future. Looking back, the drive through Stanislaus National Forest was the highlight of this section of our trip.
Due to a lack of BLM land around Yosemite and not booking our trip early enough we ended up at more traditional RV park than we are used to. While the park was not really our style, it had a great location just outside the park. Once we pulled up we started to notice the air to be smokey, but not bad enough to make us worried. We had heard that 2 days before there had been some fires but the park was still open. Unfortunately, we could not get any wifi or cell phone signal so we couldn’t check the news to see the status.
The next day we woke up to an increase of smoke in our campground so we headed out to Yosemite National Park to do a drive through and asset the situation. Since we didn’t plan on doing any hiking we brought Rosie along for the ride. Upon arriving at the park entrance we could tell that whatever was going on with the fires hadn’t scared anyone away, because there were big crowds ready to go in. As we drove through the smoke was manageable but our views consisted of burnt trees which was not really what we were hoping. Continuing through our luck changed for a moment because we saw a bear right outside our car! We immediately pulled over to get some pictures. Rosie even saw the bear and went nuts! Luckily for the bear we kept her in the car. Once the bear wandered off we continued further into Yosemite and the further we got the smokier things got. Eventually we had to just turn around because we couldn’t see anything through the gray blanket that had overtaken the park.
Sadly, on our second day at Yosemite we had to wear bandanas over our noses and mouths and knew it was time to move on. We packed up our home on wheels and headed to the coast to seek refuge. We decided to leave Yosemite unchecked on our list of National Parks to ensure we go back and see it in all its glory.
Yosemite lakes | Groveland, CA | $60/night
Wildlife spotted: Bears