This is the most #latepost ever, coming in 1 year late. But in the spirit of New Year’s, and because I wrote this and never shared it, here is a recap of our 2016-2017 NYE in Yosemite…
I am not the earliest of risers, but for Yosemite, I’ll do just about anything. Although I haven’t been since I was like 12, I’ve been #yosemiteready for the past couple of years. So for Christmas, Kevin surprised me with a trip to Yosemite for New Year’s weekend.
On the Friday before New Year’s we woke up at 4am and were on the road no later than 4:45am. The drive was pretty seamless, except for we encountered some heavy rains while I was driving in the early hours and my (almost) immediate reaction was to just scream because I couldn’t see anything.
We made it safe and sound around 11am. Our first stop was the viewpoint after the tunnel, and then a quick walk up to Bridalveil Falls.
We were able to check into our heated Curry Village tent cabins early around 1pm. Then we decided to go on a short hike. We set our sights on Mirror Lake, and kind of just started walking along the road. Taking the longest route possible (in hindsight), we found ourselves at Mirror Lake, and it truly lived up to its name! The walk back was much shorter (and direct), rounding this out to be a 4 mile hike.
When we got back it was dark and time for dinner. Since Curry Village doesn’t allow for you to cook in or near the tents, we cooked our stew in the parking lot and ate standing around the Subi.
To celebrate our first night, we got dressed up and shuttled over to the Ahwahnee to sit by the oversized fireplace that you can literally sit inside, and sip on some drinks.
The next morning we had snow-shoeing on the agenda. We drove up to Badger Pass where I rented snow-shoes for $22.50 for the full day. We started at the top of the Badger Pass parking lot and followed the trail to Dewey Point. This was my first time snow-shoeing and I had no idea what to expect, but it was so much fun. My vision of snow-shoeing was those old-timey tennis rackets for shoes. Who would’ve known that technology and equipment has advanced to create what looked to me like bear traps (lol) 😛 The view at Dewey Point was spectacular, leading to an incredibly epic lunch.
The days seemed to pass by faster than we expected. Originally we thought we would have time to snow-shoe, nap, hike and then get ready for NYE. However, we ended up getting back in time for me to not lolly-gag in order to make our NYE plans and destination. This should be known as the NYE that did not work out in any fashion it was supposed to. But it ended up being the most hilariously unreal event.
So, the week prior to our trip, we thought we would be fancy and go to a special New Year’s Eve party in the park. The options available were 6 courses at t (way out of our price range), The Yosemite Lodge non-hosted apps and drinks (didn’t seem like anything too special) and the Big Trees Lodge(formerly known as Wawona) prix-fixe dinner with dancing. So we purchased tickets for the Big Trees Lodge. Having no real concept of the grandiosity of the park, the Wawona is at least 45 minutes away from the Valley. There was no shuttle or transportation to service this hotel. And it was New Year’s Eve (come on, we were planning to drink) and it was anticipated to snow at 3500ft. So we made the mature decision that we wouldn’t get too wild and made the drive. By the time we got there it was 7pm, and it was like we had entered the Twilight Zone.
The event stated dinner was served from 5pm-10pm, and I was never prompted to input a reservation time online. When we arrived, we were told the wait would be at least an hour. Ok, we thought, our fault. As we waited, it appeared as though this hotel never anticipated this many people to show up. We all clamored around in the lobby, most sitting on chairs brought in from outside.
Tom Bopp played the piano, and literally performed the New Year’s song twice while we were there (every hour on the hour — it’s New Year’s somewhere!). Should be a hint as to how long we were there! After 1 hour I went up to the hostess, expecting to be seated, but she very passive aggressively told me it would be at least another 30 minutes and thank you for checking in. I told Kevin the next time he would have to go deal with the situation because all I was getting was the ‘tude. 30 minutes later we were no closer to being seated and were informed that 8 reservations were in front of us and they had not even started seating their first walk-in (which was at 5:30!!! And we were considered walk-ins). So after an hour and 30 minutes later, we decided to leave.
Luckily we received a refund and hurried back to the Valley. I told Kevin I would be completely fine eating pizza and drinking prosecco. As soon as we got back to Curry Village we ran into the lobby and quickly spouted “where’s the pizza?” To our dismay, pizza stopped being served at 9pm and it was currently 9:15pm. All other restaurants in the area (including the Yosemite Valley Lodge) had stopped food at 9pm. Our only consolation was that the Lodge had a vending machine (LOL). I was ravaged so we ended up eating canned soup I had brought just as back-up. Extravagant NYE!
Then we decided we would, in fact, go to the Yosemite Valley Lodge for drinks. So we went to the shuttle stop and stood there for a while until we realized service stopped at 10pm and it was now 10:45pm. We hoped we would be able to find some way to celebrate NYE some how. I found myself to be kind of delusional because I started running towards any blinking lights that I thought might be a bus (which included a construction sign on the road LOL). We eventually found a bus, got to the Mountain Room at the Lodge and realized this was where we should’ve been from the start. We were able to successfully ring in the New Year!
Sunday morning started off slow. We packed up our tent since that night we were upgrading our already glamping digs to (what felt like) a luxury suite at the Tenaya Lodge (just a couple miles outside of the park). We were torn as to whether or not we’d spend the afternoon cross-country skiing, but I’m so glad we did because it instantly became my new favorite sport! Except for one problem…we didn’t know how to take them off. At one point we found a nice snowy meadow we wanted to stop in and take a break. However, we couldn’t get the skis off, so we ended up standing on the side of the trail, skis still one, eating our sandwiches and drinking our beer.
However, we enjoyed cross-country skiing so much we decided to keep our skis overnight with the intention to come back early the next morning and get a half day in before we drove home.
Since our NYE dinner did not come to fruition, we totally balled out for dinner at the Tenaya Lodge #treatyoself. To the point where our dreams of sitting in a heated pool quickly went to the wayside because we were overly stuffed. We had a great nights sleep at the Tenaya Lodge and I excitedly woke up early in the morning for skiing. We ended up skiing from 9am-1pm and it could not have been more of a picture perfect wonderland. It was lightly snowing and we went on a path off the main track that took us up and down and in between trees. All the while I was trying to remember the “these are a few of my favorite things” song.
After this trip, Yosemite has become a happy place, that just kind of sits in the back of mind, and a magical place to ring in the New Year.