Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Trip Report Tuesday: California Day 4 // My Epic Birthday Hike at Yosemite National Park

Welcome back for another trip report, friends!  I've been having the best time sharing our adventures with you all and this is one I've been really excited about!  Would you like to see how I celebrated my 38th birthday?  It may be the most epic and memorable birthday of my lifetime!  Can't wait to tell you all about it!

Day 4 - Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The day was clearly to be a fantastic one!

...checkity delicious check!

We started on the biggest hike of our lives bright and early that morning.  When we took those first few steps of the trail to Glacier Point we had a very different idea of what our hike would be like.  We'd researched for this by watching some YouTubers experiences with it.  Many videos showed the beauty of this mountain hike, but only one we watched talked about the details of his experience.  He (clearly an avid hiker) said it only took him something like 2  1/2 hours to climb it and then 2 hours to come back down.  We thought, hey, we'll start early and tackle this mountain by lunchtime!  Our experience was much different than that YouTubing hiker, yet we found that ours was more typical.  Looking (after the fact) on the National Park Service's information about this hike the time is listed at 3-4 hours one-way, 6-8 hours round trip.  It took us approximately 3  1/2 hours up to Glacier Point, and then another 2  1/2 hours coming back down, for a total of 6 hours of hiking time (with a few much needed breaks here and there along the way).

Before we get in to the photos I'll share some of the trails stats as given by the National Park Service.

Four Mile Trail

Trail Distance:  4.6 miles one way to Glacier Point with a round trip total of 9.6 miles
Elevation:  3,200 feet elevation gain
Difficulty Level:  Strenuous 

"Entering Yosemite Wilderness"... I read this as if in that oh so familiar Haunted Mansion voice, "There's no turning back now."

As we hiked this trail our pathway up the mountain varied.  We hiked everything from dirt, stone, stairs, and even crossed a gorgeous flowing stream!  

I'm not sure I've ever seen anything more beautiful growing wildly!

I love this shot!

About this time we heard a group of loud ladies and I told the girls, "This has to be it!"  In my mind when we turned the corner we would see a breathtaking lookout and be in awe of it all.  Instead we found this sign telling us we had another 1.6 miles of rugged terrain to yet to climb.  The ladies we heard weren't gathered in victory at the top discussing the invigorating hike up the mountain.  Instead they were a hiking club making their way back down.  They encouraged us that the hike back down is way easier.  We had a ways yet to go until we got to that point though!

Family adventures are the best!  So is seeing my youngest holding her daddy's hand.  Be still my happy mama heart!

These are the moments I want to remember for the rest of my life!

Climbing and taking much needed breaks when necessary

Getting up there!

It was difficult and at some turns mentally as well as physically challenging as we were literally on the side of a mountain thousands of feet up as we neared the top!

Pausing to take it all in along the way

I had to linger back a bit at times for panoramic shots like this one!

We made it to the top!  

I could not be more proud of my family!  To think that my girls tackled something like this at their young ages fills my eyes with tears and my heart with pride!  I told them that for the rest of their lives they would have this accomplishment!  They did it!  We all did!  Woohoo!

Check out that view!

This is Half Dome.  People actually climb this thing!  It takes most hikers 12 or more hours to hike it.  It ends with hikers using metal cables to aid them in climbing the final 400 feet.  This one isn't on my bucket list, but my husband dreams of doing it someday!

I can't help but mention what a funny feeling it was getting to Glacier Point and seeing so many people there who clearly were not on the trail with us that morning.  We saw very few on the trails that day, yet the Glacier Point lookout was hopping.  How's that possible?  If you prefer to bypass the climb on foot but still want to see the view from the top, you can drive there, but where's the adventure in that?! ;)


Little One said she hiked for this pretzel waiting for her at the top! :)

At Glacier Point they have a grab and go style deli and gift shop.  I got a cheese sandwich and pickle chips.  However, I was unable to eat them there at the top as there were bees everywhere, hundreds of them!  It was a problem.  I worried if I tried to eat I'd end up with one in my mouth.  Bees are one of my biggest fears.  If I'm out on our back deck in the summertime and a single bee shows up, I basically dart into the house.  As a kid I was stung often.  There'd be a huge group of people somewhere and I'd be the one who'd get stung.  I had to go to the first aid at the zoo, the list goes on.  I was traumatized.  God used this day to help me overcome one of my greatest fears!  At first Jason said, "These can't be stinging bees.  No one is getting stung here."  I went from actually saying, "This is like my worst nightmare!" in that moment, to praying and ultimately just handling it in order to enjoy the view I'd worked so incredibly hard to see!  I took in the beauty of the moment the best I possibly could and saved my lunch for a break on the way down.  We later did some searching online and found that they were yellow jackets which could have stung away.  Yet, I left stinger free!  Fast forward for the sake of sharing the benefits of this uncomfortable situation ... after arriving back home, I had a bee come near me and I didn't even flinch.  One single bee seemed like no big deal at all after that!  I seem to have left that mountain with an accomplishment and a fear quenched!  Happy birthday to me! ;)

Time to head back down the mountain!

Our trip back down did go faster.  The only thing I'd change was that I'd invest in actual hiking boots before doing a major hike like this again!  I wore running shoes and actually slid a few times on the way down, once actually full out landing on my bottom.  This is not comforting when at many turns you are on the basically on the edge of the mountainside.  Plummeting to the bottom wasn't on my birthday wish list this year (or ever).  I silently prayed and acted as if I was unfazed by it not to startle my oldest daughter who I was walking these portions of the path with.  Jason and our youngest were a few minutes back, he was having some problems with knee pain at that point so they took it a bit slower.  Side note:  This should tell you the complete confidence I have in my husband.  The fact that I was slipping along the way down and not panicked about my youngest girl's safety who was out of my sight speaks volumes for the trust I have in the amazing man she was hiking alongside.  I'm so thankful to have a husband who is such a wonderful father!

Back to the trail tales... We were so thrilled to see the "landmarks" we remembered passing along the way up as we came down.  When we saw this lovely stream we cheered knowing we were getting closer!

We made it to the (invisible) finish line!

I'm not sure I have ever felt more accomplished than I did on that moment when we hit the start/finish of the trail!  I'm teary eyed just typing this!  We were absolutely elated!  I still think there should've been confetti flying and balloons lining that spot, but we felt just as amazing as we crossed that invisible finish line as we would have had there been a party in celebration right there at the base of the mountain!  It was an epic moment that I'll hold in my heart forever!

Hip Hip Hooray!

Birthday Dinner
That night I had what I believe was called a Grown Up Grilled Cheese along with a side of fries.  We sat around the table talking about the grand adventure we just experienced together.  It was a very sweet dinner as a family!

This was our last evening at Half Dome Village (formerly known as Curry Village) and I can't even tell you how much I truly enjoyed our time there!  It almost felt like a community of people, adventure seekers and families, all there having a great time in the midst of God's awe-inspiring creation!  

We headed to the gift shop with all the food, you know my favorite one, of course.  After burning a gazillion calories I decided a birthday bedtime snack was in order!  

I chose wisely, don't you think?

Farewell to Yosemite!  
San Francisco, you're up next!  

You guys, I loved San Francisco!  It's one of the destinations from this incredible trip that I can hardly wait to return to, so next trip report will be another really special one to share!  ...But then again, they all are! 

Thanks so much for taking time to stop by today!  Hope you'll be back for more virtual vacation storytelling to come!  

Wanna see video footage from this trip?   Head on over to my family's YouTube channel,  Eat, Sleep, Dis, Repeat!

My husband's newest video features our adventures from our first day in Yosemite and on Sunday, February 12th, he'll be sharing footage from the hike covered in this post!  While you're there we'd love it if you'd hit that subscribe button so you won't miss the fun to come!

In case you missed the earlier California trip reports and you're interested, here are some direct links for ya!:

California Day 1 // Arrival and Huntington Beach

Join me in the adventures to come!
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I appreciate each comment, & "like"! They let me know that you enjoyed what you read, which makes it worth sharing! ;)   


  1. My favorite hikers right there and Birthday girl to boot!! Isn't God's creation so amazing!! Talk about beautiful!! Now I want to go to San Fran more than ever!! You guys just exude joy and I adore it!!

  2. SO gorgeous! I can't imagine what this would have been like in person! I'm so happy for you to have overcome your fear of bees and I just adore the adventurous hearts of each of you! Thanks for sharing, sweetest friend!

  3. A 6 hour hike? Wow!! Great job! I love that even your girls rocked it!! And what an AMAZING view. Definitely worth the hike!

  4. Oh my heavens - awesome pictures! Absolutely b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l! What a birthday!

  5. Happy Birthday! We are close in age, I am 39. :) I never realized that hiking boots would be better than running shoes, but YIKES. I have a huge fear of heights and just looking at those photos... whew! Beautiful, but yes some steep drop offs. I am glad you did ok and yes get those hiking boots for the next big hike. Wow. Totally worth it though for those sights!!


  6. Oh my goodness, that was an EPIC hike. I bet you just marveled at the beauty of God's creation the whole entire time. Cupcake for breakfast?!?! We were meant to be friends.

  7. Wow, that is one steep mountain! So awesome that you all climbed it together!

  8. What an amazing hike and view!!! Congrats to you and the family for making it to the top and back. I don't think that I've ever done a hike that long.....but what a sense of accomplishment!

  9. Wow! What an amazing way to spend a birthday. This is the kind of vacation that really would make me so excited.

  10. Bravo!! I only made it half way through my Yosemite hiking trip before turning around to head back down, so totally proud of you guys that you did the whole thing!! I'm loving all of the pics and videos! :)

  11. What an adventurous birthday! I love spending my birthday going on adventures with my family rather than getting something. Experiences you will never forget! I've never really hiked, esp up a mountain!! Definitely hiking boots, no slipping off mountain sides...eek. I'm glad it was such a wonderful birthday for you!!


I would love to hear from you today! I enjoy reading each and every comment I receive. (I do moderate them before they're published. Gotta keep it family friendly! ;)) Let's chat! B.Y.O.C. {Bring Your Own Chocolate!}