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A Day Hike in Mariposa Grove in Yosemite National Park
I have to admit my first trip to Yosemite National Park left something to be desired. It did not help that I went at peak tourist season in early August. There were people everywhere, and it was hot. My husband and I were in the middle of a three week road trip, and we'd just hiked the Grand Canyon. The plan was to stay at one of the tent cabins then hike out for an overnight in the backcountry. Because of the crazy bears (or rather the crazy people who fed the bears over the years), we couldn't leave any food in our car. We were in the middle of a three week trip so that was a problem. After lugging all our food to the bear safe bin near our cabin, we decided to do some exploring. My husband really wanted to see the redwood trees so we headed for the south part of the park where we caught a bus to Mariposa Grove.
Mariposa Grove to Wawano
While it was also crowded, Mariposa Grove was amazing. Having never seen the magnificent redwoods before, we were blown away. We first made our way through the Lower Grove and then the Upper Grove. The Lower Grove was awesome, but the Upper Grove was breathtaking. The crowd thinned out considerably. Wildflowers flooded dotted the floors around the massive redwoods. Root structures of redwoods that had fallen over looked like something you'd find in a long lost magical kingdom, not California.
We soon realized that there was another trail that would actually connect us back to the parking lot where our vehicle was parked at Wawona so we would not have to hurry back and meet the bus. It was a little longer hike than we had prepared for, but we had water and some food so we decided to go for it. It was well worth the trip. First and foremost, the crowd thinned out even more. The trail weaved through the forests taking us past streams and falls. There was some elevation change, but for the most part the trail was calm and peaceful after the hustle and bustle of the rest of the park.
Our gamble paid off, and we made it back to the parking lot just before the sun started setting. There was a really cool bridge near the parking lot so we spent some more time exploring before we headed back. On the ride back to the cabin we got to watch the sun set across the California landscape. While the main attractions of the park are packed with people, if you know where to look, you can find the peaceful wilderness in even the busiest of national parks.