yosemite part 1: north dome and may lake

Yosemite National Park has been on our list for a while and we were so excited to be able to go in 2017. It was a great trip filled with amazing views, memories, and hikes. I am happy to be able to share it with everyone and write about what we experienced each day. I hope our journey leaves you feeling inspired and excited to go on your own adventure and get outside!


Our first night was spent outside the park in Stanislaus National Forest at the Lost Claim Campground. The site was peaceful and right next to a river. Not a lot of traffic comes through since this campground only has 10 sites (a nice bonus compared to the much larger campgrounds in the national park). We arrived in the afternoon, pitched our tent, and then decided to have dinner in Groveland at a restaurant called The Iron Door Saloon. It certainly had a lot of character! There were dollar bills tacked to the ceiling, farm equipment hanging on the walls, and of course lots of taxidermy! We filled up on burgers and then went back to the campsite to relax a bit before our week of hiking began.

 Porcupine Creek Trail Head

We woke up early, packed up our camp, and drove to Porcupine Creek Trail Head to start our North Dome hike. We wanted to start off with a hike that wasn’t too difficult since we did not do a lot of training before we came out to California. Plus, we read a lot about North Dome and it had to be one of the hikes that we got in on our trip! The trail starts off in a pine forest and then leads to the first ridge of the hike!

Once we made it past the couple of ascents and descents in the pine forest, we hiked along the first granite ridge, eventually traversing down the side of the granite face to be able to reach the base of North Dome.

 The view of North Dome from the first granite ridge!
The view of North Dome from the first granite ridge!

We continued hiking, following a path worn into the rock and enjoying the feeling of the sun on our faces. It was a pretty warm day! The view from the top was stunning and we admired the mountains that were surrounding us. From the top of North Dome, you can take a look at Half Dome looming in the distance and also peek into Yosemite Valley. It was so smoky from the wildfires but we still enjoyed it!

We spent some time admiring the views and snacking (Snickers were the snack of the week) until we turned around to head back to our car. Along the way, we took a small detour to see Indian Arch and Mitch climbed up into it! At this point in the early afternoon, a lot of people were on the trail and it was not as peaceful as the hike up. We prefer to wake up early and get to trail heads when barely anyone is there to be able to fully enjoy the peace of the forest by ourselves. It is always a wonderful experience!

 Indian Arch

Once back to the trail head, we fired up our mini stove and had one of our Mountain House MREs for lunch. Mountain House is our go-to MRE brand while camping since we really like all of the different options and they never disappoint! After chatting over lunch (yay lasagna!) about the next hike, it was decided that we would hike to May Lake as a cool down. It would only be 2.5 miles round trip and it seemed like the perfect way to close out the day before finding our next campsite.

 May Lake, Yosemite National Park

In total, we hiked 12.4 miles on our first day. A perfect way to start our Yosemite adventure! Stay tuned for the next segment of our trip!

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