Adventure Time with Jill and Kate

"I only went out for a walk, and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in." John Muir


Sorry for the unfinished business here! My dad just let me know that some of you are wondering if I ever made it home! We did, and we are safe, we just got so busy towards the end that we started slacking on the posts! Traveling is exhausting and now that we’re getting some rest, or at least now that Jill’s getting some rest, we can finish this out.
I’m currently back in College Station, TX preparing for recruitment with my sorority so Jill might have to take the reigns on this one.. Don’t forget about us!


Tuolumne Meadows & Bodie

We had packed up all our belongings the night before and left the hostel early in the morning on the 7th, in order to get to Tuolumne Meadows early! Tuolumne Meadows (Too-awl-oh-me) is like Yosemite backcountry; it’s less crowded and less distinctive than the valley. Its full of wildflowers and rolling meadows, less people, which means more wildlife, and many crystal blue lakes! The first thing we did when we got there was stop at Tenaya Lake, my favorite Lake! I wish I could have stopped for a few hours and just sat and on the sparkling granite and read a book- It was so breezy and cool, there were no bugs or mosquitos, and it was completely silent except for the birds and rustle of leaves.

The water was clear, blue, and cold!

After spending as many moments of peace as we could spare there, we headed farther down Tioga Road towards Tuolumne. We stopped at the side of the road a few times to explore.


We finally got to Tuolumne and it was very pretty! We were told that it’s usually more green, but the drought has made the landscape dry and brown. It was beautiful nonetheless. On the drive to the trailhead we wanted to do, I saw a blonde black bear cub in a little meadow off the side of the road. Kate didn’t glimpse it because she was driving. By the time we found a pull-off to turn the car around, it was gone in the trees…

We only got a limited amount of time in Tuolumne before we were scheduled to leave at 1:00. So we opted for a short 2 and a half hour hike to Gaylor Lake. It was a one mile hike uphill to the ridge, then a half mile hike downwards to where the lake lay in a boulder-strewn meadow. The hike gave gorgeous views of Tuolumne below. 

Kate said she liked this Lake more than Tenaya, but there were relentless bees at Gaylor Lake that would not leave me alone! The hike was more difficult because the air was thinner; we were hiking at 10,000 ft. It was pretty though — and very secluded..

This was the view from the top of the ridge:

We made our hike back to our car and departed from the beautiful Yosemite National Park. 
Our next stop was Bodie, CA! A creepy and desolate gold-mining ghost town! 

It was so hot! There were a good amount of tourists there, so i guess it wasn’t such a ghost town after all. There is a curse though, that if you take any artifacts form the town,  even rocks, you’ll be cursed with bad luck until you return what you stole. Creepy! There were numerous letters from people who confessed their theft, including testimonies of their luck improving once they returned what they took…

Let me just say that ALL of our drives have been gorgeous. One thing i love about California is the ever changing and ever beautiful scenery. I’m tempted to read, or sleep while we drive, but i just can’t tear my eyes away from the views!

We arrived early last night in Lake Tahoe on the Nevada side, in a city called Stateline. We literally sleep in Nevada, but when we go down to the lake we’re in California! It’s real cool. The people we’re staying with have made us feel like part of their family; they’ve been so accommodating and generous! We love it here because you have mountains, meadows, and the beach! What a trifecta!


Yosemite Day 2

We slept in later than we anticipated on day 2. When we finally got to the park, we started the day out by going to the tallest waterfall in North America — Yosemite Falls! We were really excited to see it, but like all other water falls in Yosemite in late summer, it was all dried up. This one being the most so. There was just a little trickle of water coming down the rocks that could barely be seen. We didn’t even bother to take any pictures..

After that, we took Wawona road to see some scenic over looks of the valley- at least those don’t diminish by seasons. The first one was the tunnel view:

The view from Washburn point, where you get a precise side view of half dome.

And then finally the highest point to look out on from Wawona road, Glacier Point:

 On our drive back, we ate our lunch in a peaceful meadow on the side of the road.

We tried to see some of Bridalvale falls, which was also off of Wawona road. We hiked all the way there, just to see that it was dried up as well! It turned into mist at the top of the cliff. So we sat on the slick boulders at the bottom and ate some more fruit leather and granola bars. Cause we are hungry bears.

It was a short day, but full of beautiful pictures!

We headed back to the hostel and found that our lovely and friendly Irish roommates had left a day early, and were replaced by some boring italians. We spent the night trying to get the wifi to work, but to no avail. C’est la vie.


Yosemite Day 1

We did so much in Yosemite, I don’t even know where to start!
We drove in on the Merced road which follows the path of the Merced river through the mountains. We were so excited, we kept trying to catch our first glimpse of one of Yosemite’s granite cliffs around each bend in the road. Before we even entered the park, Kate wanted to do some exploring down in the Merced River. So we pulled over to the side of the road, and climbed down the granite boulders.

When we actually got into the park, we just kept marveling at the cliffs that rose on either side of the Valley as we rode through. We must have said “this is crazy,” 20 times each. Here are views from the valley:

and of course Kate has to be a tree, for there are some really great trees in Yosemite.

We took the valley shuttle to the first trailhead on our list- the trail to Mirror Lake. It got it’s namesake from the fact that it perfectly reflects the crown of half-dome. It’s mostly dried up these days, which we found out much to our dismay once we actually reached it, but it’s still one of the park’s most popular swimming holes. On the hike, there was a really cool zen rock garden!

at the actual lake (more like connected little ponds)

We spent most of the morning on Mirror Lake, so for the afternoon, we did the hike to Vernal Falls. This trail is called “the mist trail,” because the steps that go up beside Vernal falls are bombarded with mist as you climb. Very refreshing!

The trail itself inclines for about 2 miles before you reach the bridge that gives you a view of Vernal Falls from afar. A little while after that is where the steps to the top of the falls start.

The view from the steps next to the falls + some people making their way up.

All the waterfalls in Yosemite, were very dry and low-flowing while we were there. In late Summer and Autumn, all the falls are dry because there is no snow melt to supply the water flow, not to mention that California is in a drought.

Kate got a bout of what we think was altitude sickness on this trail, and therefore we didn’t make it to the top, or to Nevada Falls which was a bit further down the trail. Poor bby. I think i experienced a bit of the same sensation on our day in Tuolumne Meadows. Here she is trying to recover:

The actual falls:

On our way back down at around 4:00 in the afternoon, a bobcat crossed our path, not 10 feet away from us. It was very nonchalant and non-threatening, just strolling along in the late afternoon. We only got one, poor picture of the animal, which i don’t have at the moment. Maybe Kate will dig her camera out of her car eventually and we’ll upload it later….

We left the park at 5:00, and Kate slept the rest of her splitting headache away while we drove back. Her health was replenished on a dinner of taco salad and enchiladas at a cute little mexican place in Mariopsa, while we enjoyed having phone service again!


One thing I’ve taken from this trip so far is awe at the unbelievable kindness from the people who have extended their homes to us. It is an unexpected blessing that I’m so grateful for. Come stay at my house if you’re traveling and let me repay these favors!


Elk Grove

On our itinerary, we had originally planned to spend the 4th in Carmel, to explore and shop in the beautiful city above Big Sur. Seeing as how we’re trying not to spend more money, we favored visiting my Aunt and Uncle instead!

We’re glad we did! We had a fun afternoon in Elk Grove, eating homemade tuna salad sandwiches, watermelon, and pasta salad, and talking about our experiences in California with true Californians! My aunt Jolene showed us all her paintings and sculptures and her brand new kiln. We played with their dogs Lucy and Wendy, and got a peek at Uncle Gregg’s flourishing garden.

They graciously gifted us some homemade plum preserves and area maps and showed us the best roads to take on the rest of our trip. We had lots of fun and a very relaxing visit.

From Elk Grove we drove to our Hostel that we’d be staying at for three nights in Midpines, which is about an hour drive outside of Yosemite National Park. We unfortunately didn’t take any photos of the hostel, but Kate and I both agreed that it felt more like a camp! We shared a room with two other people, and each night we had new roommates. The hostel was set in the woods on the side of a mountain, all the rooms were in separate cabins, as well as the bathrooms and kitchens, which is what made it feel like a camp!

The next three days are reserved for Yosemite! 


Two little ducks surfed up to us just now! I keep forgetting this is a lake and they belong here.

Two little ducks surfed up to us just now! I keep forgetting this is a lake and they belong here.

Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe


Last night Jill and I arrived at Lake Tahoe on the Nevada side. We are staying with some amazing friends of the family who have so graciously let us stay in the guest room of their mountain house. In the mornings we can sit on the deck outside and see the lake on one side and the biggest ski resort in the area on the other side. This place is awesome!

Today we are heading to one of the less frequented beaches, a place that our hosts told us is usually “locals only.” It is a shady meadow on the back side leading to the lake, and we are looking forward to just laying out and reading. I will hopefully get to try my hand at stand-up paddle boarding! We’ll see how that goes. I brought a change of clothes in case I just fall face forward into the water. 

Photo updates later!

Starfish at Pfeiffer Beach

Starfish at Pfeiffer Beach