Weekends: First Fog

Weekends: First Fog

Get ready, this is a long one! This weekend included 3 days, 7 waterfalls, 20 miles of hiking, 1 amazing secret lodge discovery. 

The start of summer in San Francisco is bittersweet. Warmer temperatures inland pull the marine layer over the city.  Heavy fog last week announced the summer season and left the city freezing in the mid-50s. Time to get out of town!  Nicole, Rob and I packed up the car and headed for the hills on Friday night. We slept in Sonora, and left early when we realized the town would be shut down for the annual Mother Lode Round-up parade and rodeo. Drove down the main street packed with show horses and kids in sequined suspenders on our way out Saturday morning.  

On a whim, we drove out to Hetch Hetchy.  The “lost Yosemite” this valley was turned into a damn in the 1920’s to supply water to San Francisco.  The delicious, unfiltered water is delivered to the city through 160 miles of pipes.  And it’s beautiful!

We hiked out to Wapama Falls through lovely wildflower meadows filled with butterflies.

We were headed another three miles in to Rancheria Falls…when we crossed paths with a bear!  Nicole spotted the teenage black bear crossing the trail when we were only about 15 feet away. When we backed up, he wasn’t bothered at all and climbed up on a boulder to sleep:

Other hikers passed through, but we didn’t chance it.  Picnic and naps on the granite apron. On the way back, Rob filled our bottle from the falls – and got soaking wet in the process.

Great 6 miles of hiking!

Rob decided to ride his bike out of the valley. Nicole and I drove out and stopped for a drink and watercolor painting at a lodge we spotted on the way in. Evergreen Lodge turned out to be an amazing find!  We booked a tent as soon as Rob arrived and spent the rest of the afternoon exploring the grounds. Rob and I took a nap in a hammock, ran the nature trail and joined Nicole at the brand new pool complete with full bar. We had lemonade shandies with local IPA:

Cleaned up for the evening and enjoyed making free s’mores with the kids at the lodge:

Ping pong before dinner at the hotel restaurant. Love it!

Big meal with blackberry margaritas before turning in to our massive and well-outfitted tent for an early night. I would love to come back to this lodge!

In the morning, we motivated early and drove a few miles over to check out the swimming hole at Carlon Falls. We ran the 1.5 miles in as part of my 5k training – painful. 

The creek was running too fast and too cold for much swimming, but so pretty! I was brave enough to wade in up to the top of my legs.

From there, we drove in to Yosemite Valley – full of blooming dogwoods and heavy running waterfalls.  Picnic lunch along the river:

For a “light” afternoon hike, we headed up Vernal Falls to Nevada Falls – a 6 mile, 2,000 foot climb on steep granite stairs. Great view from the top.

We got soaking wet in the mist both on the way up and down.

Completely exhausted by the time we made it back to our tent at Housekeeping. Rob played chef to make macaroni and cheese with broccoli followed by chicken soup.

We helped our french neighbors light their campfire then crashed into our bunks very early with weary legs.

Donuts and tea in the morning before packing up. We hiked a short path
up to Bridalveil Falls and then explored El Cap meadow.  Rob and I
stopped here on our very first camping trip back in 2002, when he was a
big rock climber. Slept illegally on a bouldering pad in the middle of
the long grass (too poor to pay for a campsite) under a full moon with
bears splashing in the nearby river. A great memory!

Quick drive back to the city. I quickly showered and dressed up for an important candidate interview at work in the afternoon. Returned home and relaxed for the rest of my day off!

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There are 3 comments for this article
  1. Kristi at 12:36 am

    I always look forward to your weekend recap and this one was my favorite of all! Those S'mores look fantastic.

  2. simply bev at 3:18 am

    What a wonderful weekend you had! Fantastic that you had your camera along!