Tag Archives: Glacier Point

Panorama Trail in Yosemite National Park

Every time we visit Yosemite, we tackle a big hike. This year, we had a couple of awesome hiking buddies! One of Jason’s best friends from high school, Jason, and his wife, Robyn, moved from Wisconsin to the Los Angeles area a few years ago. We were so happy when our friends were able to spend our first day in Yosemite with us!

Since Robyn and Jason had never visited Yosemite before, they left the plans for the day up to us. We suggested a hike, and we set out to find a new-to-us trail that would also give them a good glimpse of the magnificence of Yosemite. After a little research, we chose the 8-mile Panorama Trail from Glacier Point to the Valley floor.




The first highlight of the hike was coming upon a grouse. We assumed he was courting a lady (who we never saw), because he paid no attention to us. The Jasons were in awe of how close we could get to the bird, because they’re normally very flighty.


The first two miles of the hike were absolutely incredible! There were great views all around us – I guess they don’t call it the Panorama Trail for nothing. I soaked it all in. It was one of those instances of being completely in the moment and appreciating being right were I was, being with great people, and doing something that I love to do.





Eventually, we hit our first major landmark: Illilouette Fall. We didn’t get much of a look at the waterfall, but we enjoyed a short snack break along the banks of Illilouette Creek.


Little did we know that the “easy” part of the hike was over. The hike had been all downhill up to this point, but you have to hike up out of the creek valley. A series of steep switchbacks take you up 800 feet again. They are no joke! I definitely struggled, and I felt like a total wuss when another hiker ran – yes, ran – past us to catch back up with his group. Of course, the group was full of super fit, built men.

The climb seemed to go on forever, but we finally made it to the top and started going downhill again. But now, the downhill was the problem. It wasn’t the smooth, easy downhill of the first part of the hike. Our legs took a beating on the final stretch.

Since it was our friends’ first time to the park, we added the short trip to the top of Nevada Fall. For as difficult as the hike is whether hiking up along the Mist Trail, like we did the first year, or hiking down from Glacier Point, I never thought I would find myself at the top of Nevada Fall again. I savored the whole thing.



We hiked the John Muir Trail down to the Valley. I totally didn’t remember that stretch being so rough. Either I was way more fit three years ago (which isn’t out of the question) or it was so bad, I blocked it. That last couple of hours were excruciating.

Despite how bad my legs hurt, I loved every minute of it. I felt like I really accomplished something. And when you are surrounded by the beauty of Yosemite and you’re with people you love, it’s just the best thing ever.


Recap of Yosemite 2010, Days 1 and 2

As you read this, Jason and I will be en route to California and my beloved Yosemite National Park! Despite the bumps in the road, we are so excited about this trip. Not only will we be returning to Yosemite, this time to explore some new areas, but we will also be visiting two more national parks, Sequoia and Kings Canyon. Let the next installment of my national parks adventure begin!

During last June’s trip, I traveled with our netbook and blogged right from Curry Village in Yosemite Valley. This time around, there will be no computer (heck, we’ll be electricity-less for the first half of the trip). Last year, I spent about a half-hour/hour blogging after breakfast each morning, most of that time spent complaining about slow or inaccessible wireless. Basically, each morning I removed myself from the environment I wanted to enjoy to immerse myself in the world back home. This year, I’m cutting myself off…from full-blown computers anyway  😉

So this year, I’ve planned a few recap posts of our Yosemite 2010 trip while we’re out making new memories. I hope you enjoy!


Day 1 – June 5, 2010

Our first In-N-Out Burger experience. It’s no Culver’s, but it was still pretty darn tasty. (And it’s on the itinerary for today’s travels, too!)
First In-N-Out Burger Experience

The drive to the park was beautiful!
We're Getting Closer...

Beautiful, but intense!
Curvy Road? That's an Understatement!

There's More Road...You Just Can't See It

Finally, we arrived at our destination.
We've Arrived!

I teared up at our first view of the Valley. It was an indescribable moment.
First View!

We've Arrived!

Upon entering the Valley, our first stop was Bridalveil Fall.
Bridalveil Fall

Bridalveil Fall

Tunnel View
Tunnel View

We stayed in one of Curry Village’s tent cabins. They were actually quite comfortable, and I’d definitely recommend staying there.
Home for the Week

When Day 1 ends with this, you know it’s going to be a good trip.
First Evening View of Half Dome


Day 2 – June 6, 2010 (Our second anniversary)

We saw A LOT of deer over the next few days.

Up first: The Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias. The Grizzly Giant is one of the most famous trees in the grove.
Ahead: The Grizzly Giant

The roots of the Fallen Monarch.
Fallen Monarch

My 6’6″ husband didn’t look so tall around here.
Tiny Jason

Next on the itinerary: A drive up to Glacier Point.
Hello Half Dome!

The views were incredible!
On Top of the World

Nevada & Vernal Falls

Yosemite Falls

Half Dome

Since we were celebrating out second anniversary, we went out for a nice dinner at the Mountain Room Restaurant in the Yosemite Lodge. I enjoyed the Chicken Piccata (so good!), while Jason had one of their steaks.

Dinner was followed by a showing of “This Is America,” a mini-documentary from Ken Burns’ The National Parks: America’s Best Idea PBS film. It was presented by Shelton Johnson who was part of the PBS series. I was actually a little star-struck meeting him, and only have a blurry photo to show for it  🙁

This Is America

It really didn’t take us long to fall in love with Yosemite…


Yosemite Adventure: Day 2

At this point in our trip, I’m barely aware of what day it is. That’s the perfect vacation state of mind, if you ask me. I have a couple of days to catch up on – we’ve been busy, plus the WiFi kind of stinks. I’m realizing that maybe I’m a bit more addicted to technology than I thought…

Day two of our trip was a low-key day. We drove down to the southern area of the park to see the Mariposa Grove of giant sequoias. The drive south was amazing – although a little too much like riding a rollercoaster for my tastes. We took a shuttle out to the grove, but were really not prepared for the hike and heat we encountered. We only viewed some of the famous trees, but we got the general idea.

On our way back to the Valley, we took a side trip to Glacier Point. I can’t remember the elevation of the area, but we were high! We saw spectacular views of the valley below and also saw snow, something they still have a fair amount of in the higher elevations.

Since day two in the park also happened to be our anniversary, we had an excellent dinner at the Mountain Room Restaurant at Yosemite Lodge. From there, we attended the Yosemite Theater at the Visitors Center to view the film “This Is America,” which was a short, person-focused clip film from the PBS series DVD. Preceding and following the film, Ranger Shelton Johnson, who had many narrative parts in the series, spoke. I was really excited to meet him and he gave an incredible talk!

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