What was supposed to be a relaxing and chill weekend turned into a few days of chaos for us.
We left Stanford for Yosemite on Friday afternoon. It was a good day (despite the slight traffic jam), the weather was nice, the scenery was relaxing, cows were grazing in the fields, then suddenly we were hit with devastating news. Forest wildfires had spread to the Yosemite region and the accommodation we were living at was situated right next to the evacuation zone.
We were an hour’s drive away from our accommodation when we decided to change our plans and stayed in Merced instead. The next day we woke up early and drove into Yosemite park and managed to catch a glimpse of the mountain view at Tunnel View before heading into our first hiking spot at Yosemite Falls.
The weather wasn’t too bad when we started the hike but 2 hours in, the haze and smoke from a neighbouring fire started to become more evident and we were only halfway through the hike. We decided to call it a day and head down the mountain instead of heading to the top of the falls (the round trip would take at least 6 hours).
By the time we reached the bottom of the mountain, the smoke had already engulfed the entire region and we found ourselves breathing in unhealthy amounts of ash. In some regions, we also say hints of redness at the bottom of the smoke.
To make things worse, our Zipcar rental was having issues and we were temporarily locked out of our car.
After much hesitation, we decided that it was best that we cut short our trip and headed out of Yosemite instead. We ended off the day by stopping by Modesto and Fremont to get dinner and buy some groceries before heading back home.
The trip wasn’t as satisfying as we had envisioned it to be and we met with multiple hiccups along the way but at least it is a story we could all survive to tell.