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Re: Bucket List Newbie

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Bucket List Newbie
May 25, 2017 08:53PM
So... I have always wanted to go to Yosemite, see trees that have grown from the ground of their own volition. I am a native from Las Vegas and have camped around the general areas here and in very fancy campgrounds in Zion and beaches through southern California, but this will be my first real camping adventure in the great outdoors. I have a 3 night reservation for June and will be bringing my husband and 3 year old daughter. We are all in decent shape but we are not up for doing 6+ hour hikes, especially while carrying the toddler. We are also completely new to camping in bear country. Anyway, my point is, would any of you share any advice on camping as a family and things to do while we are there? Tips and tricks? A young and dear friend of mine passed away recently and this is our chance to finish off her bucket list. I hope I haven't gotten over my head! We are also road tripping from Las Vegas too and if anyone has route suggestions I'll gladly take them! We are staying in Wawona...

PS I have read the basic information on the website, but I feel more overwhelmed by it because I feel there is still too much I don't know that I don't know :white flag:
Re: Bucket List Newbie
May 25, 2017 09:42PM
Relax. It's beautiful and literally millions of people visit every year. If you are camping in Wawona you are in the southern part of the park. I would recommend that you drive to Glacier Point as a way to get started. Take your time and enjoy the views there. If you want a little exercise, take the trail to Sentinal Dome or Taft Point. Both have equally spectacular views.

I would suggest that you spend at least a day in Yosemite Valley itself. Go to the Visitor Center and look at the exhibits. Ride the shuttle bus around the Valley, stopping at Yosemite Falls to hike to the base of those falls. Take time to walk out on one of the trails into the meadows in the heart of the Valley. You'll find it's amazingly peaceful, despite the hordes of people around the edges. If you have time, go to Mirror Lake (it's not a lake, and often not a mirror, but still....)

With a three year-old, you won't be able to tackle any of the major hikes, but I guarantee that you will be stunned by the scenery. Take your time and take it all in. Take along a blanket so that you can do nap time in the meadow if you need to....

As for camping in bear country---just put anything that smells of food, soap, flowers, or perfume in the steel bear box at your campsite. That's all you have to do. Don't leave food in your car, ever, as the bears can smell it, and with a three year-old, you probably already have a few snacks between the seats of the minivan! \
You'll be fine. You'll love it.



Balzaccom

follow our adventures, read our blog, or just to come hang out at our website: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/
avatar Re: Bucket List Newbie
May 25, 2017 10:01PM
Quote
AJaneGirl
So... I have always wanted to go to Yosemite, see trees that have grown from the ground of their own volition. I am a native from Las Vegas and have camped around the general areas here and in very fancy campgrounds in Zion and beaches through southern California, but this will be my first real camping adventure in the great outdoors. I have a 3 night reservation for June and will be bringing my husband and 3 year old daughter. We are all in decent shape but we are not up for doing 6+ hour hikes, especially while carrying the toddler. We are also completely new to camping in bear country. Anyway, my point is, would any of you share any advice on camping as a family and things to do while we are there? Tips and tricks? A young and dear friend of mine passed away recently and this is our chance to finish off her bucket list. I hope I haven't gotten over my head! We are also road tripping from Las Vegas too and if anyone has route suggestions I'll gladly take them! We are staying in Wawona...

PS I have read the basic information on the website, but I feel more overwhelmed by it because I feel there is still too much I don't know that I don't know :white flag:


So you'll be camping at the Wawona Campground for three nights in June and driving from Las Vegas.

In regards to getting to Yosemite, it matters a great deal if Tioga Pass (Hwy 120) will be open by the time of your Yosemite vacation. If your vacation is in the early part of June, it's most likely (a 99% certainty) that it will still be closed. Even if your campground reservations is for late June, the chances are that for this year (2017), Tioga Pass will still be closed.

So getting to Yosemite will probably require a 7 1/2 drive (plus extra time for stops) through Barstow, Bakersfield and Fresno via highways I-15, CA-58, CA-99 and CA-41. It's not a very scenic drive, but it's the only practical route if you want to go from Las Vegas to Yosemite within one day while Tioga Pass is closed.

When camping in bear county like Yosemite, it's most important to keep all your unattended food secured inside the bear-resistant locker each campsite has even if you are still at your campsite. Do not leave any food by itself on the campsite's picnic table even for a relatively brief moment (like leaving your campsite to use the restroom or fetch some potable water). Not only bears, but other wild critters like squirrels, birds and mice will not hesitate to snatch some free human food left out in the open. Also don't leave food inside your vehicle otherwise you are at risk of a bear breaking into your vehicle in search for that food.

When driving through Yosemite, don't be those tourist that STOP IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD if they spot something of interest like a dear, bear, fox or other wildlife. That's very dangerous for you and your family and anyone driving right behind you. Instead find a safe place to pull COMPLETELY OFF the road if you want observe any wildlife you might spot.

As this is your family's first visit to Yosemite, you can spend your days doing and experiencing the classic Yosemite sights like going up to Glacier Point, doing the Valley Tour on the open trams, hiking up the Mist Trail and hiking to Mirror lake. There are many easy hikes one can do around Yosemite Valley. Do you have a toddler bike seat that can attach to your bikes? If so, bring your bikes along and bike around the eastern portion of Yosemite Valley.

A good tip I can give you about minimizing the impact (and avoiding) traffic congestion while visiting Yosemite Valley is to leave very early in the morning (within a hour of sunrise — in other words by 7:00 AM) on the days you're driving in from Wawona to Yosemite Valley (about an hour drive). That way, you'll be able find a parking space and hit the trails while they're still relatively uncrowded.



Leave No Trace



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/27/2017 03:32PM by plawrence.
Re: Bucket List Newbie
May 26, 2017 03:20AM
The two previous responses pretty much covered everything you need to know as a first-time visitor with a toddler. One clarification with regard to the Mist Trail: you don't have to go all the way up to enjoy it, and it might not even be advisable with a 3-year-old. The walk up to the first footbridge (below Vernal Falls) is paved, doable even for a small child, and provides some stunning views. I'd also recommend that if you're already at Glacier Point, walk along the trail from the southern end of the promenade along Illiloutte Ridge for about 10 minutes. You'll get some nice views along the way and leave the crowds behind at GP. And if you haven't seen sequoias before, hike to the Merced or Tuolumne Groves. There's some downhill there which you need to ascend on the way out, but they can both be done with a young child.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/26/2017 03:21AM by Not quite The Geezer, but getting there.
avatar Re: Bucket List Newbie
May 26, 2017 06:58AM
This forum is more for hard-core backpackers who go out into the wilderness for many days on end. You got some good advice above, I suggest you look to something like the TripAdvisor forum on Yosemite for more advice on front-country camping, general things to do, family activities, etc. They have a "top questions" section that usually provides most of the answers first-time visitors need.
avatar Re: Bucket List Newbie
May 26, 2017 11:09AM
Quote
JRinGeorgia
This forum is more for hard-core backpackers who go out into the wilderness for many days on end. You got some good advice above, I suggest you look to something like the TripAdvisor forum on Yosemite for more advice on front-country camping, general things to do, family activities, etc. They have a "top questions" section that usually provides most of the answers first-time visitors need.


Ah... Absolutely not!

I think you're mistaking this forum (Yosemite and the Sierra Nevada. News & Discussion) with this forum: Backpacking and Hiking Yosemite and the Sierra (http://yosemitenews.info/forum/list.php?17) except that forum is for also ANY type of Yosemite hiker or backpacker (novice, intermediate or expert), not just for the hardcore.

This thread and topic is perfectly fine and totally welcomed in this forum.



Leave No Trace
Re: Bucket List Newbie
May 26, 2017 04:03PM
Don't forget the wanna-be extreme dayhikers! smiling smiley
Re: Bucket List Newbie
May 27, 2017 11:11AM
You guys are amazing! Thank you everyone for you awesome responses and encouragement. Seriously, I do feel so much better. And thank you for letting this newbie in on your secrets so we can enjoy this experience. I'm trying to instill this sense of adventure in my 3 year old that this city dweller never got. I'm gonna take a few deep breaths and just enjoy the journey!

And just maybe I'll be a hardcore backpacker... some day winking smiley
avatar Re: Bucket List Newbie
May 29, 2017 12:52PM
Just think. If you break your child in right, maybe in 17 years he will be ready to tackle all 3,000 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail! For now, just enjoy your first visit to Yosemite. You will love it.
Jim
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