March 31 ~ Yosemite National Park
There are few places on this planet that have been more written about, photographed, admired, loved, and longed for than Yosemite National Park. Covering over 1200 square miles, you could easily spend weeks here and not see everything. Celebrating it’s 125th anniversary this year, we were keen to spend some time exploring the main part, Yosemite Valley.
Since this was a holiday week here in the USA, we knew that lodging inside the park may be impossible. We had been forewarned that everything was booked solid, but we were optimistic that we would figure it out.
As luck would have it, Tuesday afternoon, Tim spotted an opening at Curry Village for a tent cabin. Always up for an adventure, we booked it immediately.
Arriving late in the afternoon, we cued up for the 5:00 pm check in, along with 50 or more already in line. The procedure took over an hour to make it to the counter, but we had a few interesting conversations with others in line that helped the time pass by.
Part of the reason the line moved so slowly, was the bear safety warning film playing and the release form that had to be read and signed. They made it abundantly clear that it was not safe to keep food in your car or inside your tent. Bear proof food lockers were just outside each tent for us to lock up anything edible. Even cosmetics, deodorant, toothpaste and beverages were to be stored.
The tent cabin itself was basic. Simply a canvas covering on top of a wooden frame. Inside were two beds, each on a wooden frame, with a thin mattress. Sheets, blankets and a pillow were provided. Other than that, a single wooden chair, and a metal shelving unit that held two towels and an extra blanket rounded out the sparse room. The wooden floor was bare.
There is of course no bathroom in the unit. Our location is a plus though as the shared toilets and showers are just a few steps away. I think this is a good thing anyway, but for that convenience we have given up a little quiet.
On the inside of the door is a large sign with the camp rules of etiquette, such as from 10 pm – 6 am is quiet time. And noise does carry, as even a normal talking voice can carry some distance through canvas walls.
There was one electric light over the beds. There were no outlets to charge up any electronic gear. There was also zero Internet service except for a smidgen of incoming data in the common room right behind reception.
Oh yeah, did I mention that there is NO heat in the units, and it is supposed to get down into the 30’s overnight.
The two pictures over the beds were:
1. More bear warnings and reminders that ALL food items must be properly stored in the bear proof locker
2. Another warning – this one about the Hantavirus which can be transmitted through deer mice droppings. If either of us exhibit flu-like symptoms in the next six weeks, we are to report where we stayed and mention the Hantavirus possibility as it has a 36% fatality rate.
Good grief, between bears, freezing cold, no toilet and a potential deadly virus, I’m wondering what I have gotten myself into!
And then as we walked from our tent into the village to grab a pizza, we are reminded of why we are here – it is not for luxury, not for the comforts of home, not to be surfing the Internet or posting on Facebook – but to be enjoying the majestic and amazing beauty and nature of one of our most beloved National Parks!
Climbing a tree just barely over my head, a cheeky raccoon lets it be known that this is his home and we are only visitors here.
As I turned back toward the mountains, I was graced with light reflecting off of Half Dome…
Now I remember why I am here. I can not wait to get out and explore in the morning!
This was just a tease of what is to come. Yosemite did not disappoint us. Although neither one of us can complete with Ansel Adams, we did come home with a few shots we are pleased with and are looking forward to sharing with you in our next post.
Gratitude Moment: Today I am grateful that we found accommodations that will allow us to stay INSIDE the park. How wonderful it will be to wake up in the morning surrounded by breathtaking scenery.
I’ve never been to Yosemite. Now I really know what I’ve missed. Your pictures are spectacular and loved the story.
I don’t think I could sleep in a tent like you guys. Roughing it to me is not having room service.
HaHa, I’m not usually one for roughing it too much myself, but honestly I loved it. There is something very special about waking up in the middle of some of the most beautiful natural formations. Surprising, but the bed was pretty comfortable!
Hubby and I did this a few years ago, as I asked to do it for my birthday. Staying in the Curry Village tents are a quintessential American experience, and even though it actually snowed on us there in mid-May one night, it was just a truly amazing and fun experience. Thanks for the memory! Glad you were able to actually stay in the valley. That’s not easy to pull off.
DK, I loved how you described staying at Curry Village as the quintessential American experience. I’m sitting here imagining Norman Rockwekk doing a painting of children running through the tent camp with Half Dome in the back ground. Although having it snow while staying in an unheated tent was probably rather chilly, I would have been in heaven taking pictures. Lady Luck was sitting on our shoulder when a reservation opened up, especially during a holiday week.
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It was a chilly experience, but we went prepared. The pictures I took that morning in the snow remain some of my favorite pictures ever, too. Need to go back and write about that experience sometime, for sure. Yosemite is such an epic experience in many ways. Glad you were able to go there!
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