Yosemite Adventures - Finding a Campground

As I discovered yesterday, finding an open camping spot in Yosemite National Park is not an easy task. With reservations filling up five months in advance, the handful of first-come-first-served campgrounds tend to vanish by early morning. After spending the night at a hugely overpriced site outside the park, I was determined to get myself one of those coveted last minute spots. Rising before 7, I decided it was the perfect opportunity to take advantage of the dehydrated camping meals I have been lugging with me for over a month now - with just a cup of boiling water, I had myself scrambled eggs with roasted peppers and a generous dose of sodium ham.

MountainHouse Scrambled Eggs with Ham and Peppers

The sponge-like eggs didn't taste that great and I couldn't understand how that was a serving for two people, but it wasn't the time to ponder those questions. While the water was boiling, I have already packed up my tent so I was ready to hit the road by 7:15.

Somehow I missed the first turn to reach the main road so instead I found myself driving down the deserted back road. Hey, maybe I'll see a bear! Or beat the traffic.


Yosemite Taking the Harden Flat road

Entering the park, I saw the sign that said there were no gas stations in the valley so I quickly pulled over to top off my tank (sucker, I know) for "just" 4.84 a gallon.

So far it's been a great morning!

Soon thou, I came across the first beautiful outlook - the Big Meadow view - and even though I planned on just driving through until I reach the campground, I could not pass this up. The old stage coach road used to pass through the meadow a century and a half ago and Meyer homestead was there to welcome the travelers to the park back then. The restored German barns are still there today.

Yosemite Big Meadow with restored German barns circa 1880s

Half Dome shaped mountain is the famous icon of Yosemite so I also had to pull over as soon as I saw it in the distance.

Yosemite Crane Creek

Down below the Crane creek still flows alongside the old stage coach road.

Yosemite One of many tunnels on the way

Next came first (of many) tunnels along the way.

Yosemite First sight of the half dome in the distance

The roads here are all just as twisty.

Bypassing the valley, I made my way up the mountains on the other side to arrive at Bridalveil Creek campground - the closest first-come-first-served campground to the valley (still, a good 40 minute or so drive away).

Set among the high altitude (6000 feet?) pine forest and piles of granite boulders seeming everywhere, it looked awesome but the sign at the entrance was not promising - FULL.

Yosemite Beautiful campground setting. At some sites...

Still, I decided to give it a shot and found his scenic campground already bustling with other hopefuls driving around looking for the coveted signpost with a piece of paper that read 26 on it. Being the 26th of July, seeing one of these meant that the people staying there are scheduled to leave today.

Of course, just seeing the magic number was not enough. With the official check out time of 12pm, most people were not in the hurry to vacate the precious spots just yet so I faced the choice of creeping someone out enough to make them leave early or leave that up to the car behind me.

Luckily, soon I came across a spot with 26 on it and it was already vacated - I felt like I found the needle in the haystack!

Yosemite Bridalveil The coveted spot with today's departure date

It wasn't such a nice spot compared to others, but two hours after waking up early and driving all the way out here just hoping to find something, I was not going to complain [too much].

Yosemite Bridalveil Home for two days

It's 9am. Time to finish those scrambled eggs and plan out the adventures for the next two days!