Yosemite: the ultimate unfit, non-gymming, slightly chubby student’s guide to the National Park

Speaking of which, the brochures Yosemite hand out are very informative, especially on the topic of hungry animals. If you encounter a mountain lion ‘hold kids up so that they look bigger’ not sure how sound this advice is? Also, if it attacks you ‘always fight back’. What kind of advice is this?! Ffs.

Yosemite is one of America’s most impressive national parks; it’s in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains and covers 1200 sq miles. Home to the tallest waterfall in America and around 300-500 black bears, 3.5 million visitors come every year to witness its magnificent landscape.

Ok, for those of you who still don’t know what I’m talking about let me make it a bit easier. You know that massive rock on the default background of a Mac? Yeah, it’s that big boi.

So, how do you ‘do’ Yosemite? Ima try and give you a quick run down of how to complete Yosemite.

How to get there

As you’d expect the park isn’t exactly near anything big but the closest airports are San Francisco, Fresno, Merced or Oakland. You’d then need to rent a car to get to the park. We drove from San Francisco in the shitty Kia and it was alright but we ended up staying an hour and a half drive from the entrance of the park. Why did we do that? 1. The place was bouji af with a hot tub 2. Finding accommodation NEAR Yosemite is so bloody difficult.

Where to stay

There’s a bunch of ‘lodges’ near the park but they’re spenny and get booked up fast. You could camp but if you’re idiots like us then you probably won’t lock your food away properly in the designated boxes and will get eaten by a bear. (There are many warnings about this, I’m not lying, you will get eaten by a bear if you leave food out).

Speaking of which, the brochures Yosemite hand out are very informative, especially on the topic of hungry animals. If you encounter a mountain lion ‘hold kids up so that they look bigger’ not sure how sound this advice is? Also, if it attacks you ‘always fight back’. What kind of advice is this?! Ffs.

Anyway, back to our accommodation. Christine and Lee’s Airbnb hit the spot. Clean, nice beds, lil hot tub, amazing. Although they wouldn’t provide extra sheets for a sofa bed unless we paid extra – stingy gits.

The ‘Crane Suite’ as they labelled their small home was situated in Ahwahnee, population of 2,246, ayyyy buzzin’. Have you just spent 2 minutes trying to pronounce that place? Yeah same. I still don’t know how you say it but it doesn’t matter. All you need to know is that it’s a small town in Yosemite Valley with a less than comprehensive mini mart run by a guy who looks like he’s been in that exact mini mart in that exact cashier’s seat for his whole life.

Yosemite guide
Spot that crane

It’s useful to stock up on supplies if you want to take lunch with you as there’s not much in terms of eating wise in the actual park. We stocked up at said mini mart with said guy. We bought all of the food we wanted and just as we were saying goodbye the guy said in a slow, lulling Southern accent, “By the waaaay… yurr caaarrd gat declynnneed”.

I got a bit flustered and said, “Oh shit, sorry did you want me to do it again?”

-“If ya waaant” (I mean how else was I going to pay for it?)

-“Oh, yeah, sure. Let me just put it in again.”

-“Y’all travellers? I think the baaankss git a lil con-fused whin thaay see Ahwahnee, be-cause they say to thermselvess ‘Wherr the helll is thaaaaat’. So it miight take a few goesss.”

We finally left the mini mart and with it a man who was bound to still be there waiting for the sweet release of death in another 50 years. Went home, made lunch and anticipated a whole day of hiking in the park, Jesus.

What to do in the park if you’re as unfit as I am


Student guide to Yosemite
Ya girl’s unfit af
Student guide to Yosemite
Look at that sweat


Ok so, there are loads of things you can do in the park; you can swim in the lakes, you can see magnificent waterfalls, you can hike for hours, you can star gaze, you can drive to viewing points, there really is something for everyone.

If you’re like me and can’t deal with a lot of strenuous exercise because you’re lazy, then absolutely choose to do the second hardest hike in Yosemite. Sure, it was tough-ish but the views were worth it.

Don’t be put off by the word ‘strenuous’ because it really wasn’t that hard when I look back on it. We took the Four Mile Trail to Glacier Point, which is kind of misleading because it’s actually closer to 5 than 4. It has an elevation of 3,200 feet and took us roughly 6 hours roundtrip, including plenty of stop offs for pics (see below).

Guide to Yosemite
I look like such a try hard
Guide to Yosemite
Family day out

The hike is technically the second most difficult hike after Half Dome – the big ol’ rock boi I mentioned earlier. If you want to do this you’re going to have to leave super early in the morning as it’s 5000 feet above the valley floor and will take you roughly 10-12 hours roundtrip. ALSO, you need to apply for a special permit before you go, so plan ahead.


When should I go to Yosemite?

It’s always good to ask the park workers for advice on what to see when you’re there but if you’re after the glorious photos you see on postcards and plastered all over Instagram, you need to go to Yosemite in the Spring (see vid below from my visit last year).

There is no water in the valley during summertime and instead you’ll be greeted with fire risk warning signs. It’s hot. Like… really hot.

When we asked a woman at the visitor information desk for advice on the two hikes we wanted to do (haven’t mentioned the first hike as it wasn’t worth it) she looked at us like we were crazy. Tbf, she probably took one glance at Jack’s Stan smiths and thought to herself, they’re deffo going to die on the mountain.

She had one of those piercing, squeaking, nasally accents and told us that the valley was, “Burning UP”. After getting all our information, she waved us off and squawked “HAPPY HIKING LADIEEESSSS”. Oh shut up ya dickhead. WE WERE THERE ON THE ONLY DAY IT RAINED ALL SUMMER LADY, CLEARLY IT WAS COOLING DOWN. FYI the rain wasn’t enjoyable, it was like a monsoon and we all felt like we were blinded for some reason, that was weird.

All in all, absolutely go to Yosemite if you’re in California. The views look like a painting. Your pictures look like you took them in front of a green screen. It’s AMAZING.

If you’re going in the Summer definitely do the Glacier Point hike. If you’re going in the Spring, do the Nevada Falls hike like I did last year as you’ll see some great waterfalls. If you’re lazy you can also drive to Glacier Point but where’s the fun in that? Why do your make up and get great photos when you can look like a gremlin instead?

If you go to Yosemite after reading this send me a message and let me know and of course, HAPPY HIKING LADIES!

Yosemite National Park
Spot a wild Georgia
Yosemite National Park
Mate, you alright?
Yosemite National Park
There she is
Four mile trail
Chubs got up the mountain

Author: Just Jenny Lamb

21-year-old writer giving you that witty prose with a dash of Essex sass.

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