Y'all, SOOO many people recommended that we take a babymoon, and I am so very grateful that we listened! This trip was everything my heart and soul needed as we prepare for a big season change, and it was really great quality time with one of my favorite humans.
So today's post is purely personal - just my sharing about our trip and some (re: many) of my favorite photos I captured during the week!
So let's go ahead and get started!
So we left on a Friday afterwork, and what felt like a red eye from Atlanta to Sacramento. I say it felt like a red eye because we arrived in our "home" for the weekend (my aunts house) in Auburn, CA at 2:30 local time - approximately 5:30 a.m. our time. So needless to say, we slept in a bit on Saturday and enjoyed a quiet and lazy morning, drinking coffee outside in their beautiful backyard and enjoying the perfect California weather and sunshine (goodness, I miss the warmth without humidity).
Our plan was to hang out with family for the weekend (for those who don't know - I'm originally from Cali and most of my family still lives out west) and I'm really glad we set it up this way! It helped us ease into vacation mode, adjust our bodies to the local time, and of course just enjoy time with loved ones!
Like I mentioned earlier, Saturday we had a quiet, slow morning. It was so lovely! Then sometime in the late morning, we headed up north with my Aunt for about a 2 hour drive to Lake Tahoe.
We enjoyed afternoon soaking up the sunshine and California weather - it was so weird being on "the beach" (by the lake) and looking off in the horizon and seeing snow covered mountains... Such a strange juxtaposition, but absolutely breathe-taking.
After a few hours on the beach, we drove around the loop in Tahoe.. It took us a few hours, but we made several stops along the way and just enjoyed the beautiful scenery that God created.
One of the most popular places to stop in is Emerald Bay! You can see the photos below to see why. I believe it's in the summer that the waters turn a beautiful jewel-tone color, and that's why it has the name. But I could be wrong... Nevertheless, it's a beautiful spot!
The above photo is with my darling aunt, host and our wonderful tour guide for the day!
We ended our evening at a beautiful restaurant in Tahoe that overlooked the water. This was the sunset, y'all! It was absolutely stunning. The colors and the stillness were just so peaceful.
Overall, super grateful for this experience and the opportunity to explore Tahoe for a day!
The next day was another chill day (for which we were grateful). We had a quiet morning, then went out and did our grocery shopping for Monday! We stocked up on all the things we would need for our camping trip, knowing it would be infinitely more affordable to buy groceries in town than around Yosemite.
In the afternoon, we had more family over and had a mini-family gathering! Daniel was able to meet some of my cousins that he hasn't yet had the opportunity to meet, and we both got to meet our sweet nieces and nephews that we hadn't had the chance to meet yet.
Overall, it was a lovely day hanging out and catching up with family, eating delicious food and again, soaking up the perfect California weather.
Daniel requested In-N-Out as our "last meal" before our camping trip, and of course I wasn't going to say no! So after our quick stop in for a burger animal style, with fries and a vanilla shake we split... We headed back on the road and drove down to Yosemite!
The drive was only about 3.5 hours (in total) from my aunts house, and was really beautiful! A lot of countryside where we saw just about every fruit and nut you can imagine being grown on the farms there... Definitely made me excited to one day have our own (small) farm - not enough to feed the country, but hopefully enough to provide for our fam and bless others.
Anyways, after not too long of a drive - we were pulling into the entrance of the park!
We unpacked the car (I'm not sure if you can tell, but it was literally jam packed to the rim) and set up our camping spot! Because we booked our campsite so "late" (about 2 months out), our campground was on the edge of Yosemite park, but we didn't mind. It felt quiet and secluded (other than the campers next to us) but overall was a really lovely spot!
I think at this point it started to sync in that we were really about to camp! It's something we've talked about doing for years, and don't often make the time or prioritize going... So it felt really good to be here, have our camping gear set up (huge shout out to my aunt and her hubby for letting us borrow all their stuff) and officially be camping!
Anyways, after we set everything up and got the lay of the land, we decided that we would do a short little hike that was close to our camp ground. Because of the time (maybe 3-4 pm?) we knew that we wouldn't have time to drive down to the valley or another hiking spot, and be able to drive, complete the hike, and be back before dark... So we kept things local.
It was a charming spot, full of dogwood trees around every bend. We hiked about a mile and a half, when we found this 'lil river that was a literal roadblock.
I had my chacos, so I was prepared to walk through the cold waters. Daniel, however, had tennis shoes and wasn't quiet as set! It was super cute watching him traverse across the waters and make all kinda of ridiculous noises at the cold. "Oh! Ah! It's cold! My feet! My toes!" It was a sweet moment that definitely made my giggle.
Now don't get my wrong, the water was definitely cold! The mountains were still melting snow (some roads in the park were still closed because of snow). The temperature in the evenings and early mornings was in the low 30's... So it was definitely chilly!
But a fun memory, nevertheless.
We ended our evening at our campsite, with a beautiful fire made by Daniel and delicious leftovers from my aunt. #tacosforthewin
We played card games until dark, and then just enjoyed quality time spent together, hanging out of the fire. I'm pretty sure we made s'mores, because it just doesn't feel like camping unless you do!
Overall our first day was pretty quiet and uneventful, but the perfect transition into the week of camping together. Just so grateful to be here and for our time away on this babymoon!
Day two we woke up with the sun, having to pee like the dickens and realizing that it was absolutely FREEZING!!! Our tent definitely provided safe coverage, but it was far from insulated... We learned a lot that first night about the importance of layers (or lack there of in our case) and thankfully adjusted and were less chilly the following nights to come.
Anyways, Daniel became my handsome little lumberjack man - he harvested wood from fallen trees (totally allowed, we checked) and built us a super warm fire. We made some breakfast, packed our snacks, and then made our way down to the Yosemite Valley Floor!
The drive down to the valley started out super foggy... I was actually a little worried that we were going to encounter a full day of rain! Originally the forecast called for rain all week - but the Lord totally provided shelter (literally) and I don't believe it rained at all the week we were there. So grateful!
The drive from our campsite to the valley floor was about 45 minutes... But the views around us were absolutely breathe-taking! We ended up stopping a few times, because I wanted to try and capture photos of what we were seeing.
No exaggeration when I tell you that the photos barely do any justice to what these views were like when you were there in person.
After all my requested stops, we finally hit the valley floor.
Our first stop? Lower Yosemite Falls, per the recommendation of the park ranger at our campfire. It was definitely incredible! It's only about a 10 minute loop, so it's totally worth checking out and just standing in awe of the power.
Now granted, the waterfalls were basically at their flowing peak due to all the snow that had melted from the winter - so the springtime is definitely the time to visit if you love waterfalls! Everywhere you walked (when close to the falls) was super misty... and again, just beautiful.
I'm likely going to run out of adjectives to properly describe everything, but basically it was all impeccable.
After some wandering around the valley and getting ourselves acquainted with the trails, we decided to check out Mirror Lake.
This was our first kind of "legit" hike - I think it was about a 3 mile loop to the lake and back, and then another couple miles if you wanted to also walk around the like. It was an intermediate hike, and the greenery everywhere was just so lush and stunning.
And of course, once we got to the lake, the water really did reflect like a mirror... I'm not really sure the right words to describe it, but the lake itself just held its own kind of magic. I'm definitely glad we hiked to it and checked it out, because it was absolutely stunning.
After mirror lake, we decided we would try one another trail that day - and randomly chose the "mist trail" because it was close by (right next to the Mirror Lake loop). Little did we know what all was involved in the mist trail (a literal soaking and 600 stone stairs), and that it would lead to one waterfall... but if you wanted to continue on, that trail led to a second waterfall!
We decided to see what we could do with the time we had - it was already mid-afternoon, and like the day before, we knew we wanted to be back before dark (because we definitely weren't prepared to hike in the dark). So we managed to walk up the mist trail (a super fun and epic experience) to the first waterfall, Vernal Falls. 10/10 our favorite hike from the entire trip.
Like pretty much everything in Yosemite, the destination was beautiful, but the journey getting up there was just as incredible.
Any view spot we had that showcased the valley just had incredible aspects wherever you looked. This place is truly remarkable and something special, and I'm just so glad we came here to experience it!
Halfway through the trail (well, really when we got to the stone stairs) I started to remember that I had hiked this before. As a kid, we used to camp in Yosemite all the time (I grew up in California, for those who don't know) and have so many fond memories here! Even though it's been probably at least a solid 20 years since I last visited, I knew it would be special to bring Daniel and experience some of the same things I did as a kid... And it definitely was.
Hiking to the top was a super epic and fun experience! Again, the mist trail is called the mist trail for good reason... And if you visit in the early spring, like we did, the mist trail could really be called "the super soaker trail," because that's what it felt like.
If you watch the VLOG I created of our trip, then you'll see a part where water is literally dripping off Daniels face as he's trying to catch his breathe. Not from the hike, but form getting hit repeatedly with fierce water.
Again, it was pretty intense but such a fun memory to experience. Would highly recommend you do it! And if you visit in the summer, from what I remember, the mist trail is really more like a true mist and feels great after a long, hot summer day.
At the top of the falls, you literally got to just about walk to the edge of the waterfall.. And it was impeccable. I loved that we got to (safely) stand at the top of the falls and just stand in awe of the powerful waters that were flowing right next to us.
This entire hike was wonderful, and like I mentioned, our favorite hike of the entire trip. Our one regret was not being able to continue the hike, but at this point, we wanted to be sure we could hike down and get back to our campfire before dark, so we had time to freshen up in warm clothes and make dinner before it became pitch black! Definitely a smart move on our part.
We made it back to our campsite, changed into warm, dry clothes, made a fire and some dinner and reminisced on the day and the adventures we had!
Well guys, that's all for now! I'll soon be sharing part two of our babymoon and camping adventures - but for now I encourage you to check out the little VLOG I made below of our trip!
I'll also soon be sharing some tips, tricks and recommendations, in case you want to visit Yosemite and go hiking yourself! So stay tuned for this post coming soon, as well.