An Unexpected Trip to Yosemite

coleus leaves close up

The Set Up –

Yes, this post is about an unexpected trip to Yosemite National Park. However, first things first! We had agreed to do a house sit in Sacramento with one cat – our 50th house sit!

The owners informed us that we might never see the cat during our one-week stay. Apparently, we’d likely see his ‘girlfriend’ just not him as he was timid. That was an understatement. 

small statue of a wizard

We arrived, toured the sweet yard and garden area again (familiar to us from our earlier visit) and settled in for our stay. The house and property were covered with statues of dragons and gargoyles. It was quite a spectacle with fantasy images everywhere.

a large grass-covered back yard

We watched for the cat hoping to make friends, but that was not to be. We did see his friend several times, but she wasn’t ready to get acquainted either, just a few hellos. 

Before you freak out the dog in the photo below is not real. The owners had quite a healthy sense of humor!

a statue of a dog with it's head underground

During our stay, we took a couple of small excursions around town like the grocery story and AAA. One day, we toured a bit around Folsom Lake and back through Granite Bay where Jim had done a house sit on his own. We also visited another homeowner and her cats in Sacramento, our next destination.

man on a bench with a statue of a pirate

A stay in Sacramento isn’t complete unless you visit Old Town Sacramento! We walked around for a while but then it started raining, so we left. But not before Jim made friends with an old timer, a regular in the area. 

a column-lined back alley in sacramento

We wondered how many people have wandered around in here over the years.

building front in old town sacramento

Yes, that’s the State Capital

We thought it appropriate to at least take a peek. The whole place is filled with portraits of state officials from recent eras and those long past. Whiskers were much more in fashion in the earlier portraits! 

the California State Capitol

The grounds are filled with mature trees many with tags saying “gift from whomever” and all that. We enjoyed the architecture and only have two photos to share, oh, well.

hallway in California State Capitol building

The ceilings were fantastic!

under the dome of the California State Capitol

The Dreaded Call

Three days into our stay, we got a call from the owner. They were returning early because of an injury! That was a shocker – what are we going to do now? That was a first for us, but house sitters know the dreaded call – the plans go out the window, and the house sitters go out the door.

Usually, the homeowners are good about it, even offering a spare bedroom or hotel accommodations, as these folks did. But we’d been in town long enough and decided to visit Yosemite for a few days. Isn’t that what everyone would do? We had sufficient time before our next house sit, so off we went.  

the face of a gargoyle

That, my friends, is how we ended up taking a trip to Yosemite!

We left Sacramento around noon and drove south and then east passing towns with names like Copperopolis and Groveland. Eventually, Hwy 120 took us straight into Yosemite National Park. 

Yosemite National Park entrance sign

Finding a Campsite

While waiting in line at the park entrance, we saw a sign saying ‘Campgrounds full, ’ and our hearts sank. This is not what campers like to see.

We asked the guy at the entry point if that was in fact true. He told us to try the campground right down the road – Hodgdon Meadow, which we immediately did.

Since we arrived early in the day, many people were leaving, and we were able to choose a spot, pay for it and enjoy the rest of the day. That was a great relief. 
Yosemite National Park

We had no real plans, so we did what anyone with free time and a full tank of gas would do and set off for Yosemite Valley. 

Yosemite National Park

Here We Go!

We went into the valley from the north, descending from high in the mountains. Arriving that way we saw the valley from up high and oh, what a sight: a bird’s eye view of one of the gorgeous areas on earth.

Yosemite National Park El Capitan

After lunch in a parking lot, we did the traditional Yosemite visit, hitting the high spots: Half Dome, El Capitan, the waterfalls, and a hike up a river.

Yosemite National Park - a stream

It’s hard to find people who haven’t been to Yosemite and assuming our dear readers have; we won’t try and match the many descriptions and photos available. Of course, all the views are at a picture book level, in every direction. 

Yosemite National Park

A Brief Photo Show

We’ll show you some of our favorite photos and pick up the story later. We hope you enjoy these, whether they’re memories or first-time glimpses.

Yosemite National Park - autumn leaves


Yosemite National Park


Yosemite National Park


Yosemite National Park


Yosemite National Park


Yosemite National Park


Yosemite National Park


We did visit the Lodge and strolled the grounds a bit, what a place! We didn’t take any pictures of the crowds, also a standard feature of Yosemite in October. We’ve had quite enough of crowds in this lifetime and decided to break away and go where the crowds wouldn’t be: back at our camp site. 

We’ll Have to Come Again

We know our stay didn’t do justice to the park. We could have spent days roaming around, hiking and climbing. Those things would have to wait for another visit.

Clouds were forming to the west, and we had to get ready for whatever the night might bring. So we hooked up our tarps high in the trees nearby and spent the night inside our tent – our wettest night camping ever, at least up until then.

(Little did we know we were two days away from an even wetter night of camping.) Oh, what a storm! Rain fell all night and into the next day. California needed the water, that’s for sure, but did the drought have to end all on one night?  

What’s Next Yosemite Part Two

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  1. Way to take an unexpected situation and turn it into something great! I haven’t been to Yosemite yet but would love to camp there for a while to really get to explore!

    1. We felt it was better than a hotel in Sacramento 😉 I agree, plan to stay a week!

  2. We wanted to visit the US this year but didn’t make it. Yosemite would be one of our favorite national parks to visit.

    1. It is absolutely worthy of a long visit!

    • Amy on August 23, 2017 at 11:06 am
    • Reply

    Ohh … words do not suffice. I will say, though, that having only finally been blessed to visit Yosemite within the past five years, your post fills my heart with joy in remembrance, and inspires me to hang the poster I bought there! (As if that might also spark such memories, but your post is much better :-).

    You truly did capture some great photos! And what a great rotunda shot, also! Are those clouds I see, through the tip of it, too? Wow, nice work.

    — Amy

    1. Thank you Amy! It is a spectacular place – so glad you got to visit as well. Yes, hang that poster!

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