After resting for a night in Hermosa Beach, we packed the car again and headed off on the five hour drive to Yosemite National Park where we planned to spend our Thanksgiving. Yosemite is a freaking magical place...one could easily spend a whole week there and not run out of things to do or see. Unfortunately, Shauna and I only had a day and a half to explore and while we were able to see a lot...we really had only just scratched the surface of what this amazing park has to offer. Though it wasn't all our fault, Yosemite is a pretty serious place in the winter, they won't even let you inside the park gate without having snow chains in your car. Stray snow storms can develop out of nowhere and easily dump feet of snow in a few hours there. With the combination of snow, very narrow windy roads, and extreme isolation (40 miles to the nearest town) it is no surprise that the park takes winter precautions very seriously. Unfortunately, because of this, Glacier Road, one of the key features of the park was closed for the remainder of the season. Glacier Road offers some of the most dramatic and recognizable views of the Yosemite valley and we were pretty bummed to not be able to see any of it. Though, I guess that just means that we will need to plan a return trip in the summer. :)
We arrived at the park in the mid afternoon, grabbed some lunch and headed to the Mariposa Grove of Redwoods to spend the rest of our day leisurely hiking around the numerous trails through the grove. The following day (Thanksgiving) we started the 36 mile drive along a seriously windy narrow road to reach Yosemite Valley. Once there, we took a short hike out to Mirror Lake, which (in the winter) was no longer much of a lake and was more of a sandy beach directly below Half Dome. Despite the fact that all the water had dried up for the winter it was still incredibly beautiful. There was a family just hanging around on blankets having what seemed to be a Thanksgiving picnic with cheese, wine, bread, etc. One helluva way to spend your Thanksgiving for sure. We then hiked back and checked out Bridal Veil Falls, Lower Yosemite Falls, El Capitan and made a few other scenic stops on our way out of the park. Exhausted, we headed back to our room...scrounged up a slightly pathetic(though delicious at that time) Thanksgiving dinner and went to bed to rest up for our drive back to the coast in the morning. So, all in all, it was a short Yosemite visit and I would have loved to spend another few days there but we did manage to get a really great taste for what the park has to offer and definitely plan to return again.
As with the other Honeymoon posts, all the photos seen here plus a few additional are available for purchase here.