Based in Charlotte, North Carolina. Andrew W. McElroy Is a Writer who is Exploring the world through stories and lenses.

Yosemite National Park, CA | Adventure

Yosemite National Park, CA | Adventure

This May, I will be traveling to Yosemite and California with my great friend Baylor Ingram. Some of you might recall that he is the AT thru-hiker that I interviewed in February in my Explorer Interviews. When Baylor and I decided to do this trip, we decided to be minimal in planning and to go with the flow. While this sounds like we just booked airline tickets and had no other plans, this is not the truth. Every trip requires some prep, especially if you want to do certain things. I am going to walk you through a short and simple prep for this trip. 

** This style of planning does not work for everyone. Baylor and I both are extremely flexible and are willing to explore in ways that many people are not.

TRIP PREP

First thing, Baylor and I have been discussing this trip to Cali for several years now, but did not begin planning anything until February. This gave us 3 months to get some concrete plans in place before we went. 

Secondly, Baylor and I after deciding on a time-frame came up with a list of what we wanted to do on this trip. 

  1. Backpack for several nights in Yosemite National Park

  2. Fly into LAX

  3. See some of the Pacific Coast from Highway 1

  4. See Sequoia National Park

We kept it short and simple in order to provide large amounts of flexibility in schedule. Here are a few things we have done beforehand to prepare for this trip.

Plane Tickets

We live 2,473 miles from Yosemite National park. Therefore it was not feasible to drive across the country in our time-frame, however we are reserving that for a future trip! Baylor's Dad is extremely good at booking discounts for airfare. After some searching, our best deal was going to be through Spirit Airline flying from Atlanta, GA to LAX. We were able to snag cross-country tickets for $275 a piece.

Getting from LAX to Yosemite

We looked at car rentals, however we quickly remembered that we are lucky renters that have to pay an underage fee for being under 24. (It sucks. It costs more a day than it costs to rent a car.) After looking around for other methods of transportation, we decided to book tickets on Greyhound bus. We were able to get tickets from LA to Yosemite Visitor Center for $36 a piece!

Yosemite Backpacking Trip

This part of the trip took the most planning, as it should. I can not stress enough that anytime you are planning a trip into the back-country that you need plan well and plan ahead. This is the best way to prevent many potential problems when backpacking. 

First, we reserved backpacking permits, Yosemite NP requires that you give them 3 potential routes. When the ranger that issued our reservation called us they informed us that our first potential route would probably be snow-covered, she suggested that we do our second route. She also gave us information about Yosemite in May, directed us to online resources for more info, asked us about our navigation skills, and ensured that we would be prepared for backpacking in Yosemite during May. Her advice was invaluable and greatly appreciated. While I am well-versed in navigating by map and compass, I don't use it as a primary source of navigation, therefore because of her advice, I freshened up on my skills to ensure we could navigate without problem. 

Second, using our entrance and exit points that are on our reservations, we planned our route with a general direction and end point for every day. While, we are strong believers in only going as far as you feel you can, it is important that you plan general areas that you will be in everyday. That way if the worse happens, your emergency contact can give this info to the rangers and they can narrow it down from thousands of acres to dozens of potential acres. 

Third, we had to plan on how to get our equipment to Yosemite. Since we were flying we couldn't carry the full amount of food or fuel for our trip. Therefore, we planned a resupply in LA while we are waiting on our bus to leave.

Check out Yosemite NP website for information on planning your trip and also the Reddit forum.

After Yosemite NP

This part of our trip is still loosely being planned. We decided to take the bus line to Merced for $13 a piece. From there we will be renting a car for the rest of the trip, giving us flexibility to travel where we want. This part of the trip not being planned on purpose! However, I do not recommend this to everyone. We also will have the emergency cash to get back to LA in time for our flights if our plans lead us astray. 

Come back May 22nd to see what our trip was full of and pictures of the beautiful Yosemite and Southern California.

PACKING LIST

BACKPACKING GEAR AND SUPPLIES

CLOTHING

  • 1 Pair of Backpacking Pants

  • 3 pairs of Ex-Officio Underwear

  • 4 shirts

  • 2 pairs of shorts

  • Wool and liner socks

  • Chacos for Camp sites (These are heavy but they are my favorite.)

  • Extra Layers for warmth

  • North Face Rain Jacket (I have had it for 6-7 years and have no idea what style it is...)

  • Filson Tin-Cloth Packer Hat

CAMERA GEAR

This trip, I will be carrying my Fujifilm outfit. Here is my simple breakdown, however only carry the gear you feel comfortable with shooting.

  • Fujifilm X-T10

  • Fujifilm 35mm f/1.4 Prime Lense

  • Fujifilm 16-55mm f/2.8 Lense

  • 5 Batteries

  • 1 Car Battery Charger

  • Three SD cards (two 64GB and one 128GB)

  • Neutral Density Filters 2,4, and 8 stops

  • Manfrotto Compact Action Tripod (My absolute favorite lightweight tripod! Just weighs 2.6 lbs.)

**This post is not sponsored by REI. However, they have absolutely incredible selection, are super knowledgeable, and has great member rewards! I encourage everyone to always price-match with them before making a purchase.

Brewed | Short Story

Brewed | Short Story

Givers and Takers | TED Talk

Givers and Takers | TED Talk