Yosemite National Park

We took a quick day trip to Yosemite National Park last week. April and May are supposed to be amazing months to visit as all of the snow is starting to melt causing the waterfalls to be huge. It is also a good time to go because the weather is typically nice and the tourists have not completely found their way there yet. It is almost miserable to visit during the summertime. There are SO many people there that it is hard to even enjoy your surroundings.

To top it off, April 18th-24th is National Park week, meaning all entrance fees are waived. And with Yosemite in our backyard, we saw no reason not to go! Jon and I have both been before, but not together. We thought it would be a fun family day and, of course, it didn’t hurt to get a stamp in our (and Layla’s) National Parks passport books! (I know, we are dorks…which makes us perfect for each other. Poor Layla. haha!)

Right before you get to the entrance of Yosemite, there is an old historic railroad called Sugar Pine Railroad.

It is an old steam locomotive that was used to haul timber cut down by old time lumberjacks. It winds you through the pine trees for some spectacular scenery. And we love ourselves some train. So we stopped.

Waiting to board the train.

Oh hey!

You can only imagine our delight when the train backed up and attached this big ol’ log car!

Yes, please! I would like nothing more than to ride on a log caboose.

Nothing more.

All aboard!!

Not impressed yet. -Layla

Don’t worry Miss Peanut. We’re just getting started.

…and into the woods we go.

Trees with all of the steam from the train…

Still not impressed…

Rounding the corner…

Will it ever exceed 8 mph? -Layla

When is lunch? -Layla

Refueling with water halfway through.

Layla got to touch snow for the first time.

The snow was cold. The train is slow. The trees all look the same. Does this train provide complimentary milk and peanuts? -Layla

After a quick family picture noting Layla’s amusement, we are off again.

Even though there was still snow on the ground and we were wearing jackets, it was not very cold outside. Maybe in the 60s at the coldest. The weather was relatively pleasant while we were riding the hour long train ride.

After the train ride, we finished the 15 minute drive to the gate of Yosemite.

All of the famous tourist sights are a good 45 minutes past the gate. During that drive, the weather began to get more and more gloomy. :( If you haven’t been, there is a big tunnel that you drive through and the light at the end of the tunnel (see what I did there?) is the spectacular Yosemite Valley. (And is appropriately called Tunnel View)

Here we are… driving through the tunnel with the first sight of Brideveil Falls.

Once you are through the tunnel… this is sight you immediately see:

…I should say that this is the view that you are supposed to see.

It is glorious.

But we did not see that.

We saw this:

It was NOT glorious.

It was cloudy.




But! We were not going to allow a little rain and clouds ruin our day.

So I took advantage of the clouds and decided to get all Ansel Adams on you.

With my point and shoot.

Once upon a time I heard that clouds help out with black and white pictures.

But really, I don’t have a clue of what I’m talking about.

I bet this news shocks you.

It should.

Aww, doesn’t Layla look like an elf? :)

And don’t my bangs look like Lloyd Christmas?

(From Dumb and Dumber…anyone?)

After a quick lunch at the Yosemite grill, we brought Layla to get a stamp in her National Parks Passport Book.

Of course we got a stamp in ours, too. We are like kids in a candy store with our passport stamps. It is borderline shameful and embarrassing how excited we get.

Next stop: Gift shop.

Frankly, it was just too exhausting for Miss Layla Mae’s sweet little eyes.

She put up a good fight…but eventually, the sleep fairy won.

Nap time.

We headed to Yosemite falls (5th tallest waterfall in the world).

(And I showed those bangs who was boss)

Up the rainy trail.

It wasn’t as cold as it looks.

But it was more rainy than it looks.

…so we didn’t stay long.

It was a good thing Jon was able to move this boulder out of the way for us.

That was really nice of him.

It wouldn’t be a trip to a National Park without seeing a bear, right?

(We saw one in Sequoia National Park, too. 2 for 2)

Bear in picture is closer than it appears.

We were safely in our car when this picture was snapped.

At a distance.

Unlike several tourists (operating on very few marbles) who decided to get themselves a closer look.

On foot.

Including a pre-teen child running toward it as his parents nodded approvingly.


I was about to have a panic attack.

Thankfully the bear just kept eating.

The berries, not the clueless child.

I had enough of the bear. So we headed off to brideveil falls one more time.

The clouds really started getting low, so we decided it was time to head home. As we headed down the mountain, it began to snow. We literally encountered every kind of weather… sunny skies to rain to snow… in one day. It was unreal. We were a little disappointed that the weather wasn’t better but it was still a fun day. I was glad that I had a chance to see the waterfall when it was really full. I have only been one other time…in early August…and there was barely a waterfall even there. We have vowed to go more often…especially living so close to Yosemite…we really have no excuse. 😉

And…that was our Yosemite adventure in a nutshell.

Have you ever been?

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