Our plan was to enter Yosemite via the Arch Rock Entrance since we’d never been there before, but there had been a rock fall in the area of the 140, so we went south and took the entrance near Fish Camp. We’d never stayed at Wawona Campground before and were pleasantly surprised. We were in Site 75, Loop C, right on the Merced River. The river was big and loud and beautiful, and the sound was perfect for sleeping.
As soon as we arrived we discovered a kaleidoscope of butterflies at our site! We actually had to be careful not to step on them. The sites in our area had big boulders in a row so it forces you to set up closer to the road. I’m sure this is to keep campers from setting up too close to the river, but it was a little challenging to get set up in such a way that our door faced the river. (click on images to view larger)
Our first adventure was to check out the Wawona Meadow Loop. It’s 3.5 mile loop, or 5 miles if you take the longer trail. Supposedly there’s a golf course when you get to the meadow, but we didn’t make it that far…
We were pleased to read that dogs were allowed on this trail. Before this trip we bought a used dog trailer for our bikes because we wanted to ride around Yosemite and we weren’t sure our little cockapoo, Mickey (almost 13 years old) could handle the longer walks.
We had tried it out at home a few times and, while she wasn’t thrilled about it, she did OK so we thought she’d get used to it. Wrong! As soon as we started on the trail, she started barking, and the barking got worse and worse and louder and louder! It was ridiculous! We decided to take the bikes back to the car and try walking the trail with her in the stroller. (The trailer converts to stroller) Maybe if she can SEE us right next to her, she’ll be OK. Again, fail. People were staring. No, we’re not trying to be mean, and yes, she would rather be out of the trailer, but we thought 3+ miles would be too much.
ENJOY! 🙂 (Anybody wanna buy a dog stroller/trailer?)
It really is a beautiful place and we WILL go back some day.
The next day we went into the valley to take a hike to Mirror Lake. If you don’t have a dog with you, you can take the shuttle to stop 17. We parked as close as we could and walked to the trail head. It’s about 2 miles round trip (plus the walk from parking, an additional ½ mile).
It’s not a difficult walk, but there were times it was very rocky so you need to be sure-footed. There were many signs warning of mountain lions which made me more than a little nervous, especially with our pup with us but I was careful to look ahead and around corners, and all was fine.
The views along the way were beautiful with Tenaya Creek right beside you and little waterfalls everywhere, and especially the end of the journey when you reach Mirror Lake. The lake is fullest in Spring and early Summer after the snow melt, otherwise the lake is a meadow.
There’s no drinking water along the trail so be sure to bring your own, and there are 2 restrooms (vault toilets), one about a .5 from the trailhead, and another about 1 mile from the trailhead where the pavement ends.
What I Didn’t Know: Dogs are allowed on the 1st paved mile, but no further. Ooops. I honestly didn’t know this until this writing when I went to look up something online. Our Mickey went with us all the way, and actually did surprisingly well, though she was ready for a long nap when we returned!
On this day we also used the showers in the valley at Housekeeping Camp. The showers were $5 each and included liquid soap and shampoo. We also planned to do laundry that day but that didn’t work out. Because of the rock fall which affected some plumbing, the laundromat was closed. The valley’s plumbing was fully operational but they closed the laundry as a precaution. This put a little wrench in our plans as we were running out of clothes. We ended up making a laundromat stop in Fresno on our way to Sequoia and it worked out fine.
We were tired but just couldn’t NOT stop at Lower Yosemite falls. They were even fuller than last year. You could feel the mist way down the trail before we got to the base of the falls, and the river height was much higher under the bridge. Spectacular!
Next Stop, Glacier Point: WOW! If you’ve never visited, you have to go!! Simply Breathtaking!
There are the most amazing views all around, looking towards Half Dome Vernal Fall, Nevada Fall, and the entire valley. I could’ve stayed there for hours (Actually, I think we did!) There are some big boulders that my husband and son really enjoyed climbing. There’s also a gift shop and snack bar.
It’s about an hour’s drive from the valley or Wawona, and the road is windy and, at times, narrow. You can also take a bus there, including the one-way option where you hike back down. (Fees are currently $54 round trip and $27 one way.) We hope to hike back down one day when we don’t have our dog with us.
Until next year, Yosemite! Much Love!