I stare at the campsite full sign. This is the last open campsite in Yosemite National Park, California. My travel without a plan plan just failed. I am still in shock. This has never happened before and I was sort of at a loss for what to do. I could usually find a walk up campsite when I arrived in a National Park. It was the middle of the week during late October and I wasn’t expecting camping to be an issue.
As a general rule, I don’t like pre-booking anything because that means I am committed to a plan and doesn’t leave any room for changes. I like the freedom of not having to worry about what to do about a reservation should I decide to change plans or stay an extra day in a location.
It was rather late on a Wednesday evening when I arrived at Yosemite National Park. About half the campgrounds were closed due to the season. But 4 were open. Three in the Yosemite Valley and one in the northwest section of the park. A quick visit with the camp store confirmed that all the walk-up camping was full. I picked up a thing of ice cream and then headed back to my car to decide what to do. I decided that since the night was clear and there were some stars in the sky. I would go find somewhere to set-up and do a night photography shoot.
I setup so I could shoot stars with El Capitan in the foreground. Alas, while I setting up my camera a bank of clouds rolled in and ruined my star shots (it also didn’t help that the moon was out).
I shook my head and finished my set-up. I took a couple of test shots. Once I had my settings as I would like, I set my multi-shot timer and started taking a few shots. I grabbed my sleeping bag and cuddled so I could watch my camera. Or to take a nap while my camera took pictures.
What would you do if you couldn’t get a campsite in Yosemite National Park?