We knew we were rolling the dice on this trip to California. We tend to be crowd-averse people, but when we saw the pictures and videos of Yosemite National Park, we decided to throw caution to the wind and join the summer masses in seeing nature’s spectacle. In June of 2017 we hopped on a plane to California to check out it’s natural beauty. My husband and I had separately and jointly been to California on various occasions, but this would be our kids’ first trip to California. Little did we know, Mother Nature was about to conspire against us for almost the whole trip.
The Rain and the Fog…and Then The Snow
We flew into San Francisco to spend a day there before heading to the national parks. We were greeted by cold, fog and misty rain. Not out of character for San Fran, but a drag on a June day.
We drove to Sequoia National Park. Again, it was pretty cold. As we were exploring near General Sherman Tree, the fog rolled in and didn’t dissipate our whole time there. The overlooks had promise to be amazing, but we couldn’t see a thing:
At the restaurant our server casually mentioned that the last time they got fog like that, it snowed. Sure enough, the next morning we woke up to this:
Don’t get me wrong. We’re from Minnesota. We can deal with snow. And we of course knew that snow was a possibility in the mountains. We just hoped we didn’t have to deal with it in June in California after a long Minnesota winter.
The Rock Slide
On to Yosemite. Great weather on our drive there…all looked promising. Then we started seeing signs along the highway saying that the gate to Yosemite was closed. When we got to Yosemite View Lodge, they informed us that there had just been a rock slide, so the gate that was five miles from the hotel was closed. That meant our drive to the park was now going to be three hours one way. Which meant that, realistically, we were only going to spend one day there, rather than the three days we’d planned on. Oh well. At least we had this view out of our hotel deck:
Our day in Yosemite was beautiful, but I would never go back in the summer. Way too much humanity to deal with. It was time to regroup. We had a few more days left, and we were determined to experience summer before we left. We had been keeping a potential stop in Santa Cruz in our back pocket, in case the kids got national park’d out at the end of the trip. We decided to cut our losses in Yosemite and head for the beach.
Finally, fantastic weather. My husband and I are not beachy at all, but we were all happy to be free of Mother Nature’s shenanigans. The kids got some boardwalk time, and three of us got nasty sunburns, but we were relaxed and happy:
So even with all of these challenges, we had a great time on this trip! And clearly, on the grand scheme of all that can go wrong on a trip, this was pretty minor. I definitely wish I had packed more pants, though. But we embraced the conditions and adapted where necessary. What to do when Mother Nature throws you a curve ball? Make the best of it. Or escape to a sunny beach, if you can.