Spring Break 2013 was all about doing as much as possible on a budget. So, some phone calls were made and we quickly discovered that our friend Joe had wilderness permits for Yosemite and knew the area like the back of his hand, so the decision to go to Yosemite was an easy one. Yosemite is one of the United State’s busiest National Parks, and the crowds are sometimes unbearable, but our inner-state adventure was early enough in the season where we had the trails all to ourselves! The majority of visitors to the park typically stay in the valley and on the lower elevation trails, so if you can make it up 4,000 feet to the rim of the valley you can escape the crowds.

Some of the ways that we did the trip on a budget were to travel in a hybrid car, cook all our own food, and sleep in tents along the highways. Also, if you enter Yosemite through the South Entrance early in the morning or late in the evening you can avoid paying a park entrance fee because the rangers typically only work from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The South Entrance to Yosemite is also home to the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias, which are some of the largest living things on the planet, up to 3,000 years old.

We did a few hikes while we were in Yosemite, with Clouds Rest being the most demanding. We started up the Mist Trail at 9 a.m. and did not reach the summit until 4 p.m. because there was snow on the last 1.5 miles of trail, which made for a very slow pace. None us were prepared for the snow, but were able to follow snow shoe tracks almost all the way to the summit. A few of the other locations we explored on the trip were: Glacier Point, Bridalveil Falls, Yosemite Falls, and Vernal Falls.

*Photos Compiled from Andrew Stout, Joe Cassidy, Jesse Felten, and Josh Stephen