The home away from home is one of the most important decisions when camping. It sets the tone for every morning and every evening. The sunsets, sunrises, campfires, and social hour. Getting a campsite at Yosemite National Park begins 6 months before your trip and requires you to be at the ready at 9:00 AM PST. Twice a year, Yosemite releases all reservable campsites for the next 6 months and they are gone in seconds. On the fateful day, we were banished to the west side of the park and booked 6 days at Porcupine Flat Campground, which was for lack of better words “fugly.”
When we left Los Angeles for Yosemite on August 27th, 2019, I decided to gamble on the east side of the park, which is closed to all traffic in the off-season due to snow. My research before the trip led me to discover Tioga Lake, which looked magical. The campground is located about 4 miles before the east entrance of Yosemite National Park and is a 12 site first come first serve, which is risky in Yosemite but I wanted to test out my luck. If I was wrong we still had two hours to our booked site, but if I was right…. well there is magic. Luckily, I was right! As soon as we arrived, a family had decided to cut their trip a night short and was packing up. We were home, well home away from home.
Tioga Lake Campground sits below Mount Dana on the shores of a chilling lake that is filled mostly from snow met and runoff from the mountains. The sun set behind us, which allowed for a brilliant light show on the side of Dana every night. The campground was quiet yet social at the same time. We met some great people, including a gentleman name Jim, who had been coming to Tioga Lake longer than we had been alive. There was also Kim, who insisted on staying “just one more night” after we got there (he stayed all 6). Finally, there was Bernard, who would spend everyday painting Mount Dana in different lighting for months.
When we left, it was sad good-byes after amazing hellos. Tioga Lake captivated our hearts and during our future trips to Yosemite, we will have no other home.
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