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Yosemite Honeymoon

PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2016 9:04 am
by kona1978
Getting hitched and headed to Yosemite for our honeymoon! Seriously, you don't need to get us a gift but maybe you could help us make the most of our newlywed life and help us plan this trip. We are going to arrive in Yosemite (physically on site) early morning Monday October 24th and wanting to head into the backcountry for all the epicness (sp?) and awesomeness that we've heard about for at least 3 nights and four days.

Suggested route that work for this time of year? We want to snooze under the stars (at least in our tent) and are not afraid of putting in some big miles on our legs while seeing and experiencing as much of the beauty as possible.

Bonus points if you could suggest a place / town to check out for a bit less rugged experience when we come out of the wilderness later that week. I've been doing some research but the options are overwhelming. Thanks in advance for any help!

Re: Yosemite Honeymoon

PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2016 10:09 am
by AlmostThere
Are you both experienced backpackers who can deal with snow, subfreezing temperatures, and high elevation?

If no, consider renting a tent cabin and day hiking. Don't risk turning the honeymoon into a search and rescue operation.

If yes, your choices become limited to trailheads not on Tioga Road and not on Glacier Point Road -- those roads close to overnight parking and buses no longer run after Oct. 15, due to increasing likelihood of snow. Weather in October is increasingly unsettled and unpredictable -- trips I have taken in October have dished out varying amounts of precipitation (sometimes multiple kinds, multiple times a day) and below-30F temps, sometimes below 20F, and challenged our moisture management skills - you still sweat, after all.

Re: Yosemite Honeymoon

PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2016 10:33 am
by balzaccom
AT has given you usual good advice.

There is an option---which would involve climbing up either the Snow Creek or Yosemite Falls trail, then traversing the North Rim of the Valley, and then heading back down by the other trail. There are some scenic points, notably North Dome and the top of Yosemite Falls, but there is also a lot of hiking through the forest with a lot of trees. And it isn't really Yosemite's legendary high country.

If I were heading that direction on those dates, I would highlight a few really great day-hikes, and take some time to explore the isolated corners of the Valley itself. You won't see many people if you hike to the base of Illilouette Falls or Hidden Falls. You can spend a lovely day wandering along the trails out in the meadows of the Valley, which get very little traffic. If the weather had held, wander up Tenaya Canyon (be safe!) and explore that area.

Lovely stuff. You won't see anyone. You won't get snowed out, or in. And you can sleep in a bed!

Re: Yosemite Honeymoon

PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2016 5:46 pm
by Phil
AlmostThere wrote:If no, consider renting a tent cabin and day hiking. Don't risk turning the honeymoon into a search and rescue operation.

....great advice, but I also wouldn't risk the honeymoon by staying in a dumpy, freezing tent cabin at Curry. If you can't get a room at the Ahwahnee (Majestic Hotel), stay at the Yosemite Lodge. Enjoy 3 days of beautiful, risk-free day hiking. And if there's no snow, you can even take in trails on Glacier Point and/or Tioga Rds, both of which, as AT points out, will be closed to overnight parking as of Oct. 15th.

If you do have to backpack, it's LYV or the North Rim. Just be sure that your plans for your evenings include, not only what AT mentioned in terms of conditions, but the sweat, stink, grime, and exhaustion of climbing several thousand feet to reach your marriage bed for the next couple days.

Re: Yosemite Honeymoon

PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2016 6:49 pm
by AlmostThere
... And those two person bags become less and less of a good idea, the colder it gets....

At least the lodging with beds would keep you together, and warm.

Re: Yosemite Honeymoon

PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2016 10:27 am
by kona1978
Thank you for the info, very helpful and insightful. We are both pretty active and resourceful, my fiance' and I are good with tougher conditions but not looking for a total sufferfest either. We would love to see what the park has to offer and spend at least a couple nights out in the back country.

Sounds like we can expect wet and cold weather anywhere in the park where the best vistas might be, might have to just press our luck. I kind of think I am doing this with the whole marriage thing already : )

Re: Yosemite Honeymoon

PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2016 10:54 am
by AlmostThere
If you really want to see the BIG SIGHTS you won't backpack at all.

LIterally everything, EVERYTHING that people flock to see, the BIG STUFF, Half Dome, CLouds Rest, Taft Point, Sentinel Dome, Glacier Point, etc. is a day hike from the valley floor or the trailheads along the roads -- so if you are about big scenery, you should just do the valley itself.

All the high country stuff -- sure, it's beautiful, but the ICONS are all in the valley. You could easily day hike it ALL and never have to bother with a backpack. It solves the problem of overnight parking -- if there's no snow, it's easy to drive up and day hike CLouds Rest and then drive back down. Easy to drive up to Glacier Point. Easy to hike to Dewey Point and drive back down to your room. Easy easy easy. Harder to backpack, with such restricted camping available on the Pohono Trail -- it's not about lingering on scenic points then, it's about finding water, and then finding legal campsites.

You are actually going to miss a LOT of things by backpacking.

Re: Yosemite Honeymoon

PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2016 11:01 am
by kona1978
Almost There would you suggest staying at either the Awahnee or Yosemite Inn in order to see these sites then? Book out a 3 or 4 nights and then plan on doing the above from our base we establish there? Thanks again for all the insight and heads up, this really has been hugely helpful.

Re: Yosemite Honeymoon

PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2016 1:00 pm
by Phil
If you can book the Ahwahnee on such short notice, awesome, but it's going to be over twice as much, at minimum, and probably several times as much per night as the Lodge. Except for peak season, you can usually book a room within a few weeks of your visit at the Lodge and for a couple/few hundred dollars, but the Ahwahnee usually requires almost a year in advance, but it is a much classier gig.

If you guys really want to spend at least a night backpacking, go as light as possible and head up Snow Creek to the area at the top of the falls...plenty of sites, good water close by, incredible views, most likely privacy that time of year.

Re: Yosemite Honeymoon

PostPosted: Sat Aug 27, 2016 4:48 pm
by Recycling1991
First off, congratulations on planning a Yosemite honeymoon. What a great idea. You've gotten some very good suggestions. Here are some other ideas are you.
Re: hotel
Ahwahnee is very nice. The ~$500/night per room you pay is for the location and the historic lodge. I have only stayed there once and the room was not that special. I think the cottages may be nicer. But on the rooms, 232 and 234 have a middle suite living room that is quite nice. These rooms sit above the solarium. You can try for one of those and the adjoining living room. They also have four or five special suites on the 4th and 5th floors. But for me, $500/night is quite a bit of money, if it's not for you, definitely go for it. I actually have found that Ahwahnee is usually easier to book than the lodge, at least it often has showed availability when I have looked. But for me again, one of the beauties of the Ahwahnee is the great rooms, which anyone can enjoy. Have one meal in the dining room. Have low expectations for food and just enjoy the ambience.

Yosemite lodge - this is your standard hotel room, running around $150-$250 a night, depending on season. A safe bet.
Curry Cabins with Bath - these are my favorite Yosemite lodging options that I can afford. :-) Around $200-$220 a night. Because I have the convenience of my own bathroom and shower, but still in Curry Village, and you can sit on the porch and not be surrounded by cars. Make note that the Curry cabins without bath IMHO are worthless. I like Stoneman house too. Curry also has a 'specialty cabin', you need to call and ask for it, but it's a bigger cabin with a living room.

Re: Hiking
If I had 3 days in Yosemite, I would take one day and drive up to the high-country, if it was not raining or snowing. Sure, the meadows are brown, but it's so beautiful up there, and you'll be able to enjoy solitude on the hikes. If you're just making a day trip, hike to Gaylor/Granite lakes for some gorgeous scenery. Two other day hikes that I think are fabulous are Mt. Dana and Mt. Hoffman. -I- would not try either without spending one night at elevation to acclimatize, but everyone is different. Mt. Dana will give you some amazing views.

Re: cute places around there, you didn't say which direction you are driving from/to.

Finally, Yosemite is always beautiful but note that you are traveling late October when the falls won't have much water. Yosemite falls may be dry. If you're lucky, there has been at least one rainfall to wash away some of the dust.

Congrats again!