Yosemite National Park
Yosemite was a great National Park expierence. I had to go to San Fran for work, so we took advantage and headed out to the park. Our stay in Yosemite was short - we had about two full days and one night - but we made the most of it.
When you first happen into the park, you will see Half Dome. It is pretty cool to see something to recognizable in real life. You'll catch a few glimpses of this majestic structure as you head into the valley - until you are on the valley floor. From there, you'll also be able to see El Capitan - equally as stunning. It's sheer face and height is overwhelming and worth a few pics.
The first day, we went on a relatively short waterfall hike. Starting at Vernal Falls and ending at Nevada Falls. It was clearly a popular hike, so if you are looking to get away from crowds - this may not be your best option. It was fairly strenuous with steep inclines, but beautiful views as a rewards. Both falls are gorgeous, but I found Nevada falls to be more stunning. Most people stop at the top of Vernal Falls, so if you keep going - you'll get to enjoy a bit more quiet.
After we reached the top of Nevada Falls, we decided to do our best to see if we could make it to the bottom of the Half Dome ropes. It was far, our timing wasn't great and we didn't even have a permit to go to the top - but we just wanted to test our luck. The journey was long and the landscape changed from lush inclines to dry flat lands - but about 6miles in, we decided to turn around given if we kept going to reach below the ropes, we would be hiking back through the night.
That night, we stayed in the tent cabins in Half Dome Village. To each his own, but we thought this was a fantastic choice. Sure you can hear every movement from your neighbor but it was better than a hotel or lodge any day. They even half an outdoor porch area where you can get pizza and a drink. There was nothing better after a long day of hiking than a bottle of wine and a Hawaiian Pizza.
The second day we would head into the high country (which we think is a better bet), and you can read about that here. Before we left, we stopped at Glacier point for a few sunset pics and a night time talk from the rangers.
Overall, Yosemite is a good stop. The valley is worth it to cross off seeing Half Dome and El Capitan - but we recommend the high country to take advantage of the true nature of the park.