When I signed with the 49ers in March, I couldn’t help but add a trip to Yosemite National Park to my bucket list. Immediately upon my arrival to California for the off-season, my brother and I quickly made plans for an upcoming, weekend visit. After sharing my excitement about the future trip at practice with our punter, Bradley Pinion, he couldn’t help but suggest taking an impromptu trip to Yosemite that VERY weekend! Words don’t do it much justice, but both weekend’s events were beyond unbelievable. From exploring the beauty of the valley, to venturing Glacier Point, to undertaking some courageous hikes, and even fly-fishing in the Sierra Nevada National Forest, these expeditions were ones to remember.
In the time leading up to the trips, I diligently researched how to travel around the park, recommended hiking spots, favorite fishing hole locations, and the best places to get the perfect ‘postcard picture’ views of the park.
That old saying, “Pictures speak a thousand words,” is definitely merited for a trip to Yosemite. With that being said, allow me to show you a bit of my exploration….
Our first stop entering the park was to take a photo at the entrance sign. You have to have the keepsake photo when entering the park.
Continuing the drive into the park, I couldn’t believe the picturesque views, seeing the beauty of the valley, and stopping to see the rushing waterfalls coming up over the mountain and into the valley. The waterfalls this year have been incredible because of the large amounts of snow the park received this past winter. It’s remarkable to be able to drive around and see the falls from virtually everywhere in the park. We decided to go for a couple of hikes to get an up close look at Bridalveil Falls, Yosemite Falls and Vernal Falls to Mist Trail.
Tunnel View is one the most captivating views in the entire park. The perfect time to view Tunnel View is around the 4 PM time frame. The sun is set for perfect picture taking and the picturesque view is quite mesmerizing. My brother and I hiked up above the tunnel and spent an hour taking in the scenery and we both agree, pictures do not do any part of Yosemite justice.
On the second day we decided to go to Glacier Point and on the way making a stop at Washburn Point before 7:30 am. This gave us plenty of time to take in the views these vistas had to offer. By visiting these points early in the morning we had the lookouts virtually to ourselves, and was extremely quiet to just relax and enjoy the views. You can see the entire valley, the waterfalls, the Snowcap Mountains, and the sun rising over Half Dome, which is simply INCREDIBLE.
My brother and I have never fly fished before and we didn’t know what we were getting ourselves into, but knew it was something we both wanted to give a shot. We grew up in central Pennsylvania fishing with our father as kids, and we have many fond memories of fishing as a family together. We had a great guide who taught us the art of casting, including the Bow and Arrow cast, which for a beginning fly fisherman was not the easiest cast. But, as a competitor and wanting to catch a nice size fish we gave it a shot. We didn’t execute the cast as well as we executed hooking the over hanging branches. Wading in thigh high stream water, fishing the waterfall pools, and being on a quiet smaller creek in the Sierra Nevada National Forest in search of some fish was a great escape from our daily football lives.
The scenic roads, the rushing waterfalls, the picturesque views of the mountain peaks, the adventourous hikes, and nostalgia of quiet didn’t disappoint.