I’ve always enjoyed Christmas Eve just a bit more than Christmas Day because there is so much excitement in the air, plus my family has always exchanged gifts on Christmas Eve as our special little tradition. This was my first year being away from home for the holidays but I felt just as excited as every year as today my gift was the fact that Sarah, Myles and I were about to hit the road for Yosemite National Park!
We had about a 3-4 hour drive from Napa to Yosemite so we headed out as soon as we all woke up and got changed. The drive to the park entrance was one of the windiest roads I’ve ever been on and I’m sure Sarah and I couldn’t have annoyed Myles more as we both sat in the passenger seats freaking out as he drove our big van up the mountains (thank you for putting up with our screeches Myles!).
Once we survived the drive to the park entrance we were faced with our next challenge: learning how to put snow chains on our van. As the three of us are all Floridians, this was an obstacle none of us had ever faced before. Luckily after asking around to figure out which set of tires to put them on (to save you some trouble if you have a similar van, it was the back ones), Myles worked his magic and was able to get the snow chains on in just a couple of minutes.
By this time it was about 1:30 and since the sun sets close to 5pm this time of the year we didn’t have too much time in the park, however we definitely spent it wisely. Our first stop was to Tunnel View where we stepped out of the van to it pouring down snow! I grew up in South Dakota but have lived in Florida so long that it had been close to 11 years since I last saw snow. I immediately felt like a little kid again stepping out of the van and seeing Yosemite being turned into a winter wonderland before my eyes. Only a few minutes after we got out of the van the snow started to subside and the sky cleared up enough for us to get some great views, we definitely got the best of both worlds.
You can’t go to a National Park as grand as Yosemite without checking out the visitors center and as we drove closer to it we came across the most beautiful little snowy clearing that we couldn’t resist stopping at. We later learned this area is known as swinging bridge and Sarah, Myles, and I had a blast frolicking around tasting the snow, making snow angels, and admiring the scenery complete with waterfalls and giant sequoias (you can watch us in action here!).
After a stroll past snow covered cabins and cute little buildings we did eventually make it to the park’s visitors center where Sarah and I picked up postcards and chatted with some of the park rangers. We had initially planned on going snowshoeing the next day but unfortunately the rangers informed us that there wasn’t quite enough snow in the park so rentals were unavailable. They did give us advice on other hikes and areas to check out though that we were equally excited about!
By this time we were all hungry and sleepy so we headed out of the park to our campsite. We stayed at Indian Flat RV Park which I would highly recommend because its only a few miles from the park entrance. Also when we were checking in, a tiny kitten came to greet us and the man working the front desk was kind enough to take our picture with it from his phone and email it to us since we all left ours in the van; bonus points for that! Theres also a lodge directly next to the RV park so even if you’re not staying in a van I’d recommend looking into this place if you want to stay close to Yosemite. We walked over to the lodge’s general store to pick up some Cup O’ Noodles and eggs for dinner, washed off using paper towels (we didn’t realize till tonight that we completely forgot to bring real towels), and fell asleep ready for whatever adventures Christmas Day had in store!
I decided to ask Myles and Sarah what their favorite parts of Yosemite were as a whole so keep an eye out for my next post to see them!