Get up around 8am and head for the breakfast buffet with our luggage after completing the automated checkout.

After breakfast we pick up the car from the self park garage and head for Death Valley, driving through the mountains constantly trying to find a radio station that lasts more than 5 minutes.

Photo stop in Death Valley

We arrive at Death Valley and take photos of us with the car next to sand dunes and then stop a bit further in at Stovepipe Wells for soda, souvenirs (obligatory fridge magnet) and a rest stop.

Pushing on to Yosemite we top off the tank everywhere we can just in case we can’t find fuel further on. At Bishop we stop for a late lunch at a Mexican cantina. I have a massive beef burrito which I can’t manage to finish, but delicious all the same.

Just inside Yosemite on the Tioga pass

Another hours drive later and we are at Tioga Pass just before dusk. It’s too late to pay the fee at the gate (free entry, hurray!) so we keep driving so we can see as much of the park as possible before it gets dark. Stopping several times to take photos of the spectacular scenery. On one of the stops when it’s nearly dark we see a wolf trotting past, unfortunately it’s too dark to get a photo.

It’s pitch black before we leave the park and end up getting stuck behind a caravan for the last section of the park. Arrive around 8pm to the Evergreen Lodge after a long drive (well it seemed so at the time) into the middle of nowhere surrounded by forest and check into our cabin. We buy beers and souvenirs (another fridge magnet!) from the general store and settle in.

We drink our beers out on the deck of the cabin wondering about bears and if they’re interested enough in our snacks to jump the hand rails. The cabin is very nice, it’s set back from the main grounds a little in the woods and the Lodge is a woodland paradise, very peaceful with lots of activities on offer and surrounded by beautiful scenery. We resolve to come back again and stay longer at some point in the future.

Enjoying a beer at the cabin

After the beers we stay up a little longer inside the cabin reading and listening to the satellite radio for a while and then get to bed in preparation for our day of walking tomorrow.