After leaving Truckee and our friends behind, we headed towards our second stop, Yosemite. I’d never been to Yosemite during the winter and it’s something I’ve always wanted to experience, luckily Katya was down to go as well.

We made a quick stop in Sacramento for lunch and to see Angela, another close friend on ours. Then we pushed on to our destination for the night, El Portal. The drive wasn’t too long, and we missed most of the traffic. We arrived around 9 or so, ready for a shower and sleep. The plan was to get up early, grab some breakfast then try to get into the valley before the crowds came in. We entered the park and it was about as empty as the place can be, given that it’s one of the busiest parks in the United States. I’ve been going to Yosemite pretty much all my life, but it still always amazing me every time I see it. The valley looks completely different in the winter, its quieter, calmer, more peaceful.

Our first stop was at Bridalveil Falls, the hike is only a few hundred yards, but it was a little steep and covered in ice. After a good amount of effort I worked my way to the falls, snapped some blurry and wet photos, then sat on my butt and slid down the trail a bit. I then got Katya on my lap and we slid down even further, it was a great silly moment, though my backside paid for it later.

We then made our way to Mirror Lake for a hike around it. The snow was decently packed and the first part of the trail was pretty easy. As we got further under the tree cover the snow started to disappear and the ground turned muddy, then it was flooded in several spots. It was fun trying to navigate the path, avoiding the deeper pools. We stopped for a snack at the bridge, then pushed on, more flooded land awaited. finally we got back to the packed snow and worked our way back to the bus stopped, Katya shuffling at a snails pace.

We got back to our room and rested and showered up. I surprised Katya by taking her to The Majestic Yosemite Hotel’s Dinning Room for dinner. We went early to hang out and have drinks in the bar as Katya drew and I read. The massive fire places kept the hotel nice and toasty, and the strong drinks helped. The Dinning Room is massive and truly grand, just a fantastic ambience. The meal was nice, not sure it was worth the price, but just eating in the wonderful space with my lovely wife made it a great memory.

I wish we had more than a day and a half in the park. It’s just a special place for me, and I always feel refreshed after spending time there. Luckily we’ll be heading back later this year along with a bunch of family and friends.

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