The streak of summer heat this week has me wishing I was back up in the snow-covered Sierras, snowshoeing through the evergreens. I was invited up to Yosemite recently to co-host a meetup with Yosemite National Park, Tenaya Lodge, and several other photographers at the Badger Pass Ski Area. With Yosemite being one of my favorite weekend getaways, I have passed Tenaya Lodge many times on my way up Hwy 41 to Yosemite Valley, and was always curious about this resort that sits just 2 miles outside the South Gate park entrance. From the moment Clint and I stepped foot in the lobby, it was clear the lodge lives up to their motto “It’s like roughing it, minus the rough part.” Nestled among pine trees, the resort is beautiful both inside and out, a perfect blend of rustic luxury. We were lucky enough to stay in one of the spa rooms, complete with whirlpool spa and picturesque balcony views. After touring the grounds and playing a few games of air hockey in the arcade (there is no shortage of activities to enjoy around the resort), we met up with the other photographers for an evening of ice skating and s’mores, a perfect way to kick off the weekend.
The following morning we headed out to meet the group at Badger Pass Ski Area. It was a great turnout with so many wonderful people who had traveled from all over California, and even from out of state, to participate in the Yosemite Snow Day snowshoe walk. From start to finish, the afternoon spent snowshoeing with old friends and new was a reminder of what I love so much about the photography community. It is always so fun meeting other like-minded individuals who are passionate about photography and the outdoors, sharing laughs, stories, tips on places to visit, and creating memories that are the building blocks of friendships sure to endure past the initial meetup. That evening was spent feasting on delicious locally sourced ingredients in Tenaya’s Sierra Restaurant, while we learned about the resort's year-round activities offered in summer and winter, and their goal of becoming a zero-waste facility by 2020.
Sunday we woke to whiteout conditions. Clint and I decided to take the short drive from Tenaya Lodge to Yosemite Valley with our new friend James, who was visiting from England. It was James’ first trip to Yosemite, and while we weren’t able to show him the iconic Tunnel View or the granite peaks of El Capitan and Half Dome, we still enjoyed spending the morning playing in all the fresh snow on the valley floor. There is so much peace to be found wandering around the valley during a snowfall.
Winter is by far my favorite season in Yosemite and I am grateful to have enjoyed such a beautiful snowy weekend with new friends, and the wonderful hospitality provided by Tenaya Lodge during the Yosemite Snow Day meetup.
Special thanks to Yosemite NPS, Tenaya Lodge (especially Brooke Petersen for ensuring our time at Tenaya was special), and to Kathrin Poetter and Trev Lee for inviting Clint and I to take part in the weekend festivities. We look forward to visiting again soon!