Greetings to all forum contributors.
I'm about to spend 2 weeks with my girlfriend vacationing in Las Vegas and California (1st timers to these destinations). When I started to plan it last month I wasn't expecting Tioga Pass Road to be open at this time of the year, so instead of traveling by land from LV to Yosemite via Death Valley, we'll fly LV/SFO, spend a few nights there and then head to Yosemite, which I expect to be the highlight of the entire trip - just don't tell it to the nice guys from LV and Grand Canyon NP forums, they might get jealous! ;)
In my trip I'll be arriving from SanFran and I'm staying for 3 nights from May 22nd at the Lillaskog Lodge near the Big Oak Flat Road - 120(CA95321), since I wasn't able to find available rooms inside or closer to the park. From Yosemite my next destination will be Carmel/Monterey.
I have been browsing this forum over the last few weeks, and learned quite a bunch, also have read and learned a lot from the marvelous yosemitehikes.com website. However, I'm certain that the most kind fellow forumers and destination experts could help me fine tune my draft itinerary plan, which is as follows:
May 22 (arrival day) - I plan to leave SF in a rental car by 9am. Google Maps tells me it is just a 3h drive, so I'm planning to continue the drive along the 120 all the way up to Tioga Pass and back. I should use bw92116's suggested itinerary (no trekking, just short walks) in response to elbodans' post a couple of days ago. My question here is - will I have enough time to do this or should I swap it with one of the following two full-day plans? That way I could fit short hikes at Tenaya Lake and Tuolumne Meadows, for instance.
May 23 - visit the Valley - walk Sentinel/Cook's Meadow Loop including the short walks to Lower Yosemite Falls and Vernal Fall footbridge, plus stops at Tunnel View (Artist Point also?) and Bridalveil Fall on our way to the Valley. Is it enough for the day or could I fit some other hike here? If I were to hike the Panorama trail (I'd love to), should I fit it in this day or the following? - see below.
May 25 - on my way out, take the 41 (Wawona) and visit Mariposa Grove before hitting the long road to Carmel. This looks like a no-brainer.
A final remark: we're a couple in our 40's and reasonably fit, we love to walk in natural environments but do not have extensive experience with mountain trekking - did a wonderful trip to Patagonia (Torres del Paine/El Chaltén) once, but we usually take walks at beach/jungle environment. We don't even have trekking poles- will we need them at Yosemite?
Wow, this post ended up being longer than I planned, thanks for bearing with me up to this point!