Behind The Butter/ Travel

Winter Trip to Yosemite

Last weekend, Adam and I spent an absolutely magical weekend in the Stanislaus National Forest, right outside of Yosemite!

Back in September, I bought a Living Social Deal for a cabin at Evergreen Lodge to “surprise” Adam for Christmas. I totally told him about the trip three weeks ago, though, because I’m absolutely incapable of keeping a secret. Heh. Last spring, we went to Mexico on a Living Social deal…needless to say, I’m a huge fan!

It was a really special weekend for us because it was sort of the first time we got to relax since our engagement last month! It’s been absolutely go-go-go for the past four weeks and it was so fantastic to just get away and relax for the weekend as a newly engaged couple. We didn’t do a ton of wedding talk during the trip, and there was no cell phone or internet service at all. We just read, hiked, got massages and ate delicious food. It.was.amazing.

Like I said, we stayed at the Evergreen Lodge in one of their duplex cabins. It was absolutely perfect for us and opened up to a very snowy national forest. Each cabin has a Keurig coffee maker, an ipod dock and Sirius Radio. There were no tvs in the cabin, which suited us just fine. Why go to such a beautiful place to just sit in front of the tv?! The cabins were decorated in a very cute retro camping theme. I wouldn’t have changed a thing.

Everything was just covered in snow, including the little walkway to the main lodge with a restaurant and bar.

I’ll admit, I didn’t take a lot of food photos on the trip but I HAD to snap a photo of these delicious pumpkin pancakes with grilled chicken apple sausage. Oh man, were they ever tasty!! Perfect breakfast to fuel up for a snowy hike, don’t you think?

Included in the Living Social deal that I purchased was the rental of two pairs of snowshoes for an entire day so on Saturday Adam and I made our way to the giant sequoia grove right outside of Yosemite. I’d never “snow-hiked” before but we had a blast. The entire hike was only about three miles, but when you’re in deep snow going uphill, it feels more like ten miles.

The entire time we were hiking, we only saw two other people…I felt like we had the whole forest to ourselves!

One of the highlights of our hike was seeing this hollowed out sequoia tree. A group of men hollowed it out in the late 1800’s to form a tourist attraction….it worked!

Naturally, Adam had to hop a fence to hug this giant 2,000 year old tree. I’m marrying such a tree hugging stud.

When we got back to the cabin, it was time for our hot rock massages! This was an extra little thing that I booked for us at the last second. Adam’s been under a ton of stress at work lately and I wanted him to fully be able to relax and unwind. The massages were fabulous.

On Sunday, before making our way back home, we drove through Yosemite Valley {about 30 minutes from where we were staying}. I fell in love with this beautiful little church in the woods. How gorgeous would a winter wedding here be?!

We also made a little friend….I named her Elizabeth.

And this was her baby, Elliot, with his tongue sticking out!

And THIS little friend was Kapu.

Yes, I know Kapu was the name of a wolf in Julie of the Wolves and this guy was clearly a coyote.

Can you believe how close he came to our truck?! We were parked in a parking lot taking a photo of a waterfall when he came strolling up. Look at the gorgeous colors of his fur. I’ve never been this close to a coyote before — he has a bushy raccoon tail! Don’t worry, I didn’t try to feed or pet the wild beast…just snap a photo with the macro lens.

Even though we were gone for only 48 hours, it felt like so much longer. We are so blessed to live in such an amazing place where we can be in a wondrous national park such as this in under four hours. I like to think Yosemite was where Adam and I started to fall in love two years ago, and it was really special to return after just getting engaged. I keep having to pinch myself because I’m just SO happy and SO excited to be marrying this guy in a couple months.

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  • Jen
    December 21, 2012 at 3:44 am

    Adorable. I’d love to hear the story of how you fell in love.

    • Beth
      December 21, 2012 at 4:54 am

      You get a glimpse of the story in her book.

  • Poetesswug (Deb)
    December 21, 2012 at 3:44 am

    Thank you so much for sharing your trip with us! 🙂 And, no worries, we didn’t need food pictures…this time!! ^_^

  • Lesley
    December 21, 2012 at 3:55 am

    Pics are gorgeous and it makes me want a relaxing, snowy vacation asap! PS – used your virtual coffee date idea yesterday on my blog and hope to continue in the future! Thanks 🙂

  • Breanna
    December 21, 2012 at 4:18 am

    You two are so adorable! This looks like the perfect way to spend a relaxing weekend!

  • Anne
    December 21, 2012 at 4:22 am

    Wow is all I can say. Your photographs are simply beautiful and your trip looks like the perfect weekend!
    Thanks for sharing your experience with living social getaway deals. For no particular reason I always assumed they were scamish but clearly not!

  • Kristen @ notsodomesticated
    December 21, 2012 at 4:45 am

    Beautiful shots!! Looks like you guys had a very special time!

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat
    December 21, 2012 at 4:53 am

    What a beautiful trip! I love all of the photos, especially the one of you two in the hollowed out tree. I hope you guys feel nice and rejuvenated after coming back. Have a wonderful weekend Jenna!

  • polly
    December 21, 2012 at 4:56 am

    you made my friday EXTRA happy. 🙂

    love you guys!!!

  • Molly @ RDexposed
    December 21, 2012 at 4:56 am

    I love those trees. I hopped so many fences at Sequoia National Park to check out the hollowed trees!
    Also, I remember sitting on that concrete Yosemite bench after hiking all afternoon and thinking that it was the most comfortable thing ever!

  • Jane {In the Pink and Green}
    December 21, 2012 at 5:37 am

    This sounds like so much fun! My husband and I went to Yosemite in the summer, but it looks so gorgeous to go in the winter time…I’d definitely love to make a trip this winter! But sometimes getting there from Tahoe can be dicey in the snow…ehh, and I guess Tahoe isn’t so bad in the winter either 🙂 But you and Adam are the cutest, I am so happy for you guys! Xoxo

  • Erica {Coffee & Quinoa}
    December 21, 2012 at 5:54 am

    Beautiful pictures! Looks like the perfect winter getaway.

  • Amy
    December 21, 2012 at 6:01 am

    Awww….loved the photos & reading your story. I recently moved out of state after living in Yosemite & very close to EG lodge for many years. I do miss it a bit. In fact recently I was thinking how much I missed going to dinner at the lodge in the winter, when it is always so quiet & peaceful & beautiful there. And the cute little chapel….is a great place to get married. I got married there this past Spring! Thanks for sharing your photos and reminding me of “home”. Oh…they also do weddings at EG lodge if you are still looking for a venue.

  • Abby @ The Frosted Vegan
    December 21, 2012 at 6:07 am

    How beautiful! I would love to visit there someday!

  • Caitlin
    December 21, 2012 at 6:12 am

    Hey Jenna,

    What kind of camera/lens do you use for your pictures? I am in the market for a beginner’s camera and am debating between the nikon or canon dslr.

    Thanks! love the blog 🙂

  • Kaitlin @4loveofcarrots
    December 21, 2012 at 6:13 am

    oh my gosh it looks beautiful there!

  • Mel
    December 21, 2012 at 6:37 am

    I’ve never been to Yosemite before, but it’s definitely on my list. I also love that you and Adam are always taking fun trips! 🙂

  • Chris
    December 21, 2012 at 6:38 am

    Wow! Are you guys planning a honeymoon? I can’t imagine much topping this!

  • Lauren
    December 21, 2012 at 6:41 am

    Wow, your hike looks breathtaking! I go to Utah every year in the winter but I’d love to make it to Yosemite some time!

  • Sarah (Shh...Fit Happens)
    December 21, 2012 at 6:46 am

    You take amazing photos! And snow hiking sounds really haaaard, but that looks like a beautiful place to do it!

  • Meghan @ After the Ivy League
    December 21, 2012 at 6:50 am

    What a wonderful trip! I’ve been to Yosemite once before, and remember that hollowed out sequoia as well! Those trees are so magnificent, you almost can’t capture it all in a photo. So amazing to stand beneath them.

  • laura
    December 21, 2012 at 7:12 am

    you are too cute for words. this is adorable. i hope to one day find a guy that makes me half as happy as you are 🙂

  • laura
    December 21, 2012 at 7:14 am

    …and on a completely random note, do you dye your eyebrows? they look so dark in the above picture! as a natural blonde as well, i’ve always toyed with this idea because I have no eyebrows whatsoever (well, i do.. but they’re almost white they’re so blonde) would you mind discussing if you do dye them? thanks!

  • Sara @ sarasmiles
    December 21, 2012 at 7:30 am

    That post just gave me chills Jenna! You really did depict a magical weekend. And you sound so happy in love…I just hope one day I meet someone and feel the way you do now. It makes me happy to hear of all the happiness in your life!

  • Eliot
    December 21, 2012 at 7:51 am

    Weird. My mom’s name is Elizabeth and I’m Eliot. And I like to stick my tongue out at people.

    Gorgeous photos.

  • Kitchen Mommy
    December 21, 2012 at 7:55 am

    Looks amazing – and I’m not even a hiker! Great pre-Christmas and New Year’s getaway!

  • abby
    December 21, 2012 at 8:31 am

    The picture of the coyote is so amazing! I would’ve been running for my life!

  • Averie @ Averie Cooks
    December 21, 2012 at 8:42 am

    What an awesome trip! And that 2000 year old tree…holy moly! And I thought there were some huge trees in Marin and in NorCal but wow, this is the biggest tree I have ever seen!

    Glad you guys were able to get away! How fun!

  • Becky
    December 21, 2012 at 8:58 am

    Great post! I’ve never been to Yosemite, but your pictures really make me want to go there. Maybe next winter?

  • Kelsey @aslolife
    December 21, 2012 at 9:00 am

    Love Yosemite in the winter–and your pictures are gorgeous! My mother-in-law actually got married in that little chapel during a beautiful January winter, it was breathtaking!

  • elle | nutritionella
    December 21, 2012 at 9:05 am

    Um, I’m SO doing this after seeing your photos. My fiance and I just did Arches National Park and it’s by far 10 million times more incredible during the winter… no crowds and pure silence at times which you can’t ever get during the summer. We also have snow shoes on our wedding registry and are moving to SF in the next few months – I think we should be friends. 🙂

  • Jen W
    December 21, 2012 at 9:06 am

    That is adorable! I love Yosemite, but have never thought of going there in the winter. My husband and I spent our honeymoon in CA (we’re from WI) this past August, and half of our trip was in Yosemite. We hiked Half Dome on a gorgeous, sunshiny day, but your snowy hike looks like it was just as fun! Have fun planning your flowers. It was definitely one of my favorite parts of wedding planning 🙂

  • Molly @ Happy&Healthy
    December 21, 2012 at 9:20 am

    So fun! I love the animal pictures, adorable!!! And that grilled chicken apple sausage sounds delicious!

  • Ali @ WHOLEistically Fit
    December 21, 2012 at 9:34 am

    What a fantastic trip! It’s funny how just a quick getaway can feel like so much longer and be just the thing to recharge and reconnect. I use Living Social a lot for local deals, but have never tried it for traveling deals. I’m definitely going to start keeping my eye our for something. I’ve been dying for a getaway, even if it’s just a quick one. 🙂

  • Kelley
    December 21, 2012 at 9:38 am

    I went to a wedding at that church this summer! It was so pretty!

    Gorgeous pictures!!

  • Addy @ Six-Kick Switch
    December 21, 2012 at 9:51 am

    Oh my goodness, this is so beautiful it makes my heart hurt! I love going to Yosemite in the winter, it becomes a completely different place. Lately I have been yearning to be there. I think your post only made it worse! Thank you for the great photos!

  • Rachel
    December 21, 2012 at 10:02 am

    Absolutely love reading about the appreciation you have for each other and nature. Your photos take me right to the Park! Have a wonderful holiday together!

  • April
    December 21, 2012 at 10:02 am

    Love this story so much Jenna! Now I’m desperately wanting to take a trip back to Yosemite myself…it looks lovely in winter! 🙂 And, as a reader of your blog for the past 2 years, I can’t tell you enough how happy I am for you and Adam!! I feel like I know y’all. ATX sends its love! 😉

  • Kate @
    December 21, 2012 at 10:17 am

    Such a winter wonderland 🙂 Thanks for sharing!!

  • Becky Henderson
    December 21, 2012 at 10:30 am

    Just beautiful. Brought happy tears to my eyes. It’s so refreshing to read positive stories after a week full of tragedy. Thanks Jenna!

  • Carrie
    December 21, 2012 at 10:44 am

    Ahhh, Elizabeth Eliot – one of my favorite authors 😉 Coincidence???

  • Betty
    December 21, 2012 at 11:16 am

    Such a beautiful place. Yosemite is on my bucket list of places to visit for sure.

  • Jill
    December 21, 2012 at 11:26 am

    Absolutely wonderful photos. Looks like a perfect weekend!

  • Sarah @ Yogi in Action
    December 21, 2012 at 11:28 am

    Beautiful pictures! That tree that Adam is hugging is GIANT! Crazy.

  • Katie
    December 21, 2012 at 11:46 am

    Beautiful pictures Jenna! I want to go there now. Would you recommend Yosemite in the winter or late May? I was thinking of going there over Memorial Day weekend one year.

  • Michelle
    December 21, 2012 at 11:50 am

    That trip looks amazing!!

  • Hannah
    December 21, 2012 at 11:56 am

    My hubby and I were just in Yosemite in late July for our 5 year anniversary and did a lot of hiking in the valley! We too fell in love with the chapel! I love your pictures. Thanks for being a such a bright part of my day every day! Merry Christmas! 🙂

  • Amanda @ Once Upon a Recipe
    December 21, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    Sounds like a fabulous trip! And what a gorgeous place! So happy for you guys!

  • Lily
    December 21, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    WOW!!! Jenna! SOOO beautiful. I hope to find love someday soon and go on a trip with that person, this snowy paradise looks magical!

  • Suzanne de Cornelia
    December 21, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    OK, you are now officially a TRUE Northern Californian when you start naming stray wildlife.

    BTW….am reading, ‘The U.S. Navy Seal Survival Handbook’….just because I like to go off-trail too….and like to know the little tricks just in case. It’s good. It makes me feel so G.I. Jane… 😉

  • Jamile
    December 21, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    I was in Yosemite this summer and it blows my mind what it looks like with snow! It’s really one of the most beautiful places ever and I’m not really a nature buff. I grew up near the park and sort of took it for granted, but it really is transcendent.

  • Luv What You Do
    December 21, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    Those pictures are beautiful!!!
    I want to go snow shoeing so bad!

  • Caroline L.
    December 21, 2012 at 6:57 pm

    Breathtaking photos – it’s literally like a winter wonderland! You two make such a sweet couple 🙂

  • Tami@NutmegNotebook
    December 21, 2012 at 8:40 pm

    I love Yosemite but we have never gone in the winter! It looks so peaceful under a blanket of snow. A winter trip is now on my bucket list.

  • jan
    December 22, 2012 at 6:41 am

    These are amazing pictures! I love the wildlife ones. Hiking in the woods in the snow is so magical. I’m dressed right now to go on a trail run in the park in the snow–yay! Except it’s 10 degrees….yikes. Glad you had such a great getaway!!

  • sara
    December 22, 2012 at 8:08 am

    wow. its looks like a winter wonderland. i love snow so much…i’m jealous! what a wonderful trip.

  • Chelsa
    December 22, 2012 at 11:01 am

    Wow, stunning pics!

  • Emily @ Life on Food
    December 22, 2012 at 5:29 pm

    These are the most gorgeous photos. I always wondered about the living social getaways. Looks like they are pretty fabulous.

  • Denise & Laura
    December 23, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    This post just convinced me that I want to go to Yosemite! I cannot believe how much snow there is and just a few hours away from you. Incredible.

  • Cacmuffin
    December 23, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    Your pictures are just stunning! Looks like an amazing time! And holy cow I can’t believe you were that close to a coyote!!!!

  • Alicia @NeverEverBeenSkinny
    December 23, 2012 at 10:27 pm

    Wow what wonderful photos! I am glad you guys had a good time!

  • Tiffany @dynamics of happy
    December 24, 2012 at 8:30 pm

    hey Jenna!
    I was wondering how you plan hiking trips? do yall car camp?
    i am planning a road trip from texas to the grand canyon but have no idea how to plan!

    tips would be greatly appreciated, thank 😀
    merry christmas and happy holidays!

  • kayleigh
    December 28, 2012 at 8:00 am

    that church! i’m not even close to being engaged, but i want to get married at that church someday.

  • Torrie @ a place to share...
    January 7, 2013 at 1:30 pm

    added you to my reader and reading recent posts… this is SO INCREDIBLY SWEET!!

  • Halloween Weekend in Yosemite
    November 3, 2014 at 5:41 pm

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