If there is one thing about the USA that always fascinates me it´s the National Parks with their enormous natural variety. On a family trip a long time ago I had the chance to see the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone. So one of the first things I thought about when I knew I would be going to California was visiting Yosemite.
There is this perfectly organized webpage where you can get some information in advance: http://www.nps.gov/yose/index.htm
We found an AirBnB place close to the south entrance of the park and immediately booked it. While we were still in SF (where we also stayed in an AirBnB place btw., if you are interested I send you the link), I checked the AirBnB page of our Yosemite place again. It appeared that in between my booking and our arrival in California quite a lot of guests were dissatisfied with the place. Still optimistic we started from SF towards the east of the country. Then I received some text messages from our host written in all capital letters saying that if we would not behave well and not stick to the houses rules our booking would be cancelled. I tried to reply but the AirBnB webpage went down.
Things to store in your garden (part I):
So we were driving towards a place were one would probably not welcome us and on top of that we didn´t even know the exact location of the house. Therefore, we decided to stop at the tourist information in Mariposa and check if there would be an alternative for staying.
People at the tourist information were super helpful and we managed to get access to AirBnB again to recheck the location of the house. We almost booked a hostel without even checking our place, but then all the money would have been gone so we decided against it.
Things to store in your garden (part II):
When we finally found the place the host actually gave us a warm welcome. However, the whole house was the messiest place I have ever seen in real life and on top it had 5 dogs. Nice dogs. But Labradors, which are not exactly small. I think if I would have been traveling alone I probably would have made a different decision, but Alex and me stayed. Part of that decision was also based on the fact that we stayed in a room in a separate building and that the host had to leave the house for a couple of days to get a medical checkup somewhere else.
This was my first strange experience with AirBnB and I hope it will also be my last, but as a recommendation I would maybe try to go for a hostel or a small guest house instead of a private place the more rural the area. In a city or town you can always find an alternative quickly, but in the middle of nowhere you have to have something reliable.
View Point in the park:
So, but now something about the park. Due to our tight time schedule we had exactly one day in the park. I really wanted to do some hiking, so we selected one of the shortest and easiest trails, the Mirror Lake Trail (http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/mirrorlaketrail.htm) in Yosemite valley.
There is not much water in Yosemite in summer (on top of that there is a drought in California since 2006), so the Mirror Lake was not a lake at all. I guess also because of the drought a bear crossed our path quite close to the camping site (where some water remained).
That´s mirror lake, minus the lake:
Nice view on Half Dome on the way:
It took us about 2h to finish the trail. By the time we reached the car again it was already afternoon. I was really tired, but we decided to drive up to Glacier Point. I saw pictures of Glacier Point and the Half Dome before, but it is really simply breathtaking!
No fear of heights: