There is a hidden gem just North of Yosemite. None of the crowds, but all of the beauty of the Sierras: Emigrant Wilderness. When I left Yosemite National Park I drove to San Francisco to pick up Eric, my adventure buddy. If you can find a friend that you can go backpacking with, hold on to that person. It’s rare to find someone you can poop in the woods with, and Eric and I have now done that in both Zion and the Grand Canyon (to clarify, no one defecated in the Grand Canyon).
Eric and I headed out from San Francisco for a 3 day backpacking trip in the Emigrant Wilderness. Of course we stopped at Trader Joe’s on the way out, the best place to shop for backpacking food; individually packaged, doesn’t need to be refrigerated, and so nutritious!
I recommend driving in a vehicle other than a prius…we were following google maps and were concerned when we were 3 miles away and it was going to take us 35 minutes. That turned out to be accurate. At one point it was actually better for me to drive off the road because the bumps and rocks were not as bad as on trail. But we made it, and headed out on the trail!
Why did we have to start hiking before sunrise? We were trying to get to a bar in time to watch France play Croatia in the World Cup. We got the last parking spot at a diner, and here I was glad to have a prius because no other car could fit. In the diner the tables were all filled and people were sitting in lawn chairs throughout the dining room. We were lucky to get chairs next to the pool table. We ordered delicious breakfast burritos which we ate on our laps (I was so impressed with the waitstaff keeping track of orders and bringing everyone food so efficiently) and watched a very exciting French victory before heading back to San Francisco. Turns out my parents were visiting friends in San Francisco so I ended up spending the night with them and getting hipster ice cream. This is by far the most social road trip I’ve done!
Also I apologize for the photo quality, I was just using my phone here. I was experimenting with backpacking with a smaller pack, which worked, but there was not room for my big camera.