BS and I were lucky enough to head to Yosemite in early December. I had been watching the weather and it was cold- like highs in the 20s cold. Then, a few days before we arrived it started to warm up to more pleasant temps for hiking around; the only downside was that any precipitation that fell would be rain, and lots of it. Driving into Yosemite Valley was an amazing experience. I am a mountain girl through and through, and was fully enamored. Granite peaks, clear streams, huge waterfalls, steam rising off the melting snow. The best. We stayed at the Yosemite Valley Lodge, right at the base of lower Yosemite Falls. Peaking out at the 2,400 ft! falls in the morning was so neat.
On our first full day we hiked to Nevada Fall, passing Vernal Fall in route. It was a fantastic, bluebird day and on the trip out, we saw about 10 other hikers. Shaded, north facing aspects of the trail were treacherous and slippery where packed snow had turned to ice in spots, but overall the trails are incredibly well maintained. The roar of Nevada Fall was deafening from the top and the view peering over made me a little queasy, despite the guardrail.
Later that day, we jetted over to Tuolumne Grove and walked through the sequoias at sunset.
That night, the rain started and basically didn’t stop all the next day. The upside to all of this water was that the waterfalls throughout the valley were even more impressive, and almost everywhere you looked you could see new areas where water was coursing down the steep granite faces of the peaks surrounding us. We still managed to hike and explore despite the general sogginess.
Though we only experienced a small fraction of what Yosemite has to offer, I’m glad we chose to see it in the off season instead of fighting for trail space with throngs of people. The calm that came with the cooler temps and rainy conditions while being surrounded by tremendous beauty was just what I needed, and made the trip really memorable.