We packed up fairly early from our little piece of Lake Tahoe paradise and those of us that were up early enough had a lovely breakfast at our little hotel. After all making it to the van we made an early stop at Walmart to pick up snacks and food for lunch as Jake said we'd be having a picnic lunch when we arrived in Yosemite National Park.
We dissent have too long a drive today but on our way further into California there were a few sore heads and stomachs from the night before, with a stop on the roadside for someone a little worse for wear.
The scenery out the window was getting even more stunning as we were driving and we made a pitstop at...

Bridgeport, California:
We made a gas stop here grabbed some essentials and took in our first surrounding views and mountains of California.

The sunshine and warm weather meant you knew you were in cali. We weren't here too long, got back to the van and continued our journey. Then we made a roadside stop at...

Lee Vining, California:
It was wall to wall sunshine and a glorious day, everything you imagine cali to be!
As we started driving some winding roads we came across the most amazing scenery, Jake pulled over at ? viewpoint, where we all hopped out the van with everyone feeling much better.
Jake explained how California is in a drought and that this lake, Mono Lake, used to have a much higher water level as it is where a lot of California gets its water supply and we needed to be mindful of our water use here. This was an amazing overlook and a point where lots f travellers and truckers stop, with loads of bumper stickers stuck on the roadside barrier.

We got back in the van, continued on the road and before we knew it we were arriving in...

Yosemite National Park, California:
As we were driving in and the park rangers at the entrance gave us our maps I could tell this was going to be one of the most beautiful locations on the whole trek. We were passing lots of incurably huge trees and granite grey rock which looked incredible lit up in the sunshine. We pulled into a stopping area grabbed our lunch and walked through the trees into an opening at Tenaya Lake.

This was the most beautiful lake I've ever seen (you're going to hear a lot of that over the two Yosemite blog posts). The water was amazing, green, turquoise and blue and so so clear. These photos have not been filtered at all, this was the scenery that greeted us.

We could see some people swimming further over but otherwise there was no one around the lake, it was so quiet and peaceful. We picked an amazing spot, started sunbathing and eating our picnic lunch.
None of us wanted to leave this area, even after 45 minutes, and I was already in love with Yosemite. We got back in the van and had amazing views of the granite towering over around us with the sun peeking out from behind the mountains and then Jake stopped at a viewpoint. 

We all got out the van at Olmsted Point, another incredibly beautiful Yosemite view, the photos do not do it enough justice. We took a great group photo and you could see for miles. We could see the famous half dome in the distance. It was incredible to look down at these mountains, the view was unbelievable.

I wasn't really a hiking person before this trip but this view made me desperate to get onto the hiking that was planned tomorrow, I couldn't wait. 

We dragged ourselves away and Jake drove us further into Yosemite to Tuolumne Grove of Giant Sequoias.

Jake took us to the trailhead and then went back to the van while we all started the hike to the…you guessed it giant trees! 

Most of the group walked pretty fast and walked ahead, with a few of us taking it a bit slower to really to in what we were seeing. we spent some time walking through the middle of the Giant Sequoias and found huge pine cones bigger than our faces. 

We made our way back and all completed the hike at least half an hour quicker than it said, I wasn't as slow as I thought!

If you want to read about the hikes Yosemite and the difficulty of them and all the others on the Northern BLT check out this post I wrote about a guide to hiking with Trek America.

Next Jake drove us to another incredible look out point Tunnel View, where we could take in the view of El Capitan and Yosemite Valley.

We stayed here for a while, even though it was busy as with the perfect sunshine and clear day you got an amazing view and could see the moon (even though it was about 4pm) opposite El Cap and Half Dome in the distance from a different side to what we had seen earlier.
You could also see some of the huge waterfalls in the distance.

I knew I already wanted to spend longer here than the 2 days we had planned. These are the best views I have ever seen and Yosemite was already my favourite National Park.

We headed back to the van and started the long ish drive out of Yosemite to the hostel we would be staying at for the next two nights.
When we arrived there was split dorms, one for the boys and one for the ladies. This was the worst place for having to carry my suitcase. There was a huge hill with our dorm at the top and several flights of stairs, it took me a while to drag my case up to the room and I was the last one to make it to the room. 
It was an open plan dorm, which none of us were very keen on, but the bathroom facilities at the end of our room were nice, it was clean, and there was a lot of floor space to sort cases out and some lockers. We did notice that we were sharing with a few people we didn't know, which we hadn't done before on this trip but they were not in the room, they're stuff was on their beds.
I wasn't too bothered, but after a few conversations back and fourth because a few people were unhappy with the set up we all organised our stuff and headed back down the hill to the food / restaurant cabin. We grabbed some large tables, as the restaurant was busy due to it being the only place for food with a lot of people staying there, met back up with Jake and the lads and all ate dinner.

Then a few people went outside to play cards and we mixed with other people staying in the hostel.
As I'm not a big drinker and was really tired, me and a couple others headed back up to our cabin to get settled for the night, and to grab a shower before there were 12 people fighting over 2 showers.
We spoke to the other people staying in our room and they had already been at Yosemite for a while. After meeting them I think it reminded a lot of people that we were all doing the same thing, exploring the USA and there really wasn't anything to worry about. We heard some of their stories about places they'd been too and it turned into a really nice chilled evening. 
We also started planning how we would hike tomorrow as the few of us in the room knew we wouldn't make the big hike that most of the others were going to tackle. It was nice to come up with a plan of areas we wanted to see and to know we would be hiking alone if we couldn't manage a big hike.

We each headed to bed to get an early night because we knew we had an early start and a long day hiking mountains tomorrow.
The only downside to the open plan room was when everyone else piled back in quite noisily and we were already in bed, no one came back too late though and everyone wanted to get a good nights rest for tomorrow...

ITINERARY (LISTED):                           Welcome To Yosemite NP - Granite Cliffs
ACCOMMODATION:                            Yosemite Bug Hostel - Midpines, California

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