On paper, day 2 sounded like a walk in the (National) park: Move to camp 4, tour Curry Village, walk to the waterfalls, watch the sunset, sleep. Well, the short version: Murphy's Law.
We packed up our gear from the camp that we'd stayed in near the southern entrance and opted to set up in camp 4 within the valley. However, upon arriving we were greeted by signs that quite unambiguously proclaimed that we were out of our mind to think that there'd be any vacancy. Strike one
We found some parking and headed over to Curry Village to tour the old hotel. It was grand and spacious, but a bit cold and vacuous in some ways. Would've been interesting to learn more about the history of it, but after we at our lunch in the solarium, it was off to the hike.
We set out on the Happy Isles Trail head, which leads to 2 beloved waterfalls and even joins up with the John Muir trail at the end.
I was expecting a nice leisurely stroll through meadows and forests. Instead, what I got was 7 miles of the most intensely steep rock steps with a 2000 foot total elevation change.
To add to this was the fact that I needed to move my car before 6pm or risk being towed away so we (quite literally) ran down the hill the last mile and made our way back late, but just in time to catch the sunset.
My plan was to get a great view of the sun setting in the valley from a spot called Tunnel View. I had spotted it earlier in the day and knew it would make a great spot for sunset. Unfortunately, upon arriving there at 6:30, I came to find that I wasn't the only one who had that idea.
Despite the crowd, I was still able to get a few nice shots AND enjoy the view.
Since our plan to stay at camp 4 had been epicly denied, the sun was gone, and night was soon approaching we were now faced with 2 new obstacles to navigate: Where to shower and where to sleep.
The showering was easy enough to sort out at a campground in the Valley, but the campsite took some doing. Thankfully, I had spotted a potential spot on my way into the park the previous day and noted it. Since it was on our way through the Tioga pass it would work perfectly with our plans for or next and final day in the park.