Toasting the Moon in Yosemite, CA

Travel for 2 cost breakdown (at the time of writing this post):

  • Yosemite – In-Park Lodging: $350 per night 
  • Food/Entertainment/Transportation/Souvenirs: $500
  • GRAND TOTAL FOR 2 TRAVELERS – 3 days: $1550

***At this time, we are not endorsed by any outside affiliates. That said – when booking our trips, we have had a lot of success with, Skyskanner, and Tripmasters.


Toast the Moon always recommends using a passport. We also recommend TSA Pre-Check and Global Entry, because who wants to waste their vacation time in an airport line, am I right? Traveling around the United States is not difficult, but changes are in the air. Please be advised that as-of October 1, 2020 – basic drivers’ licenses will no longer be valid for identification in airports. Sign up for a passport or Real ID now to avoid complications later!

The Land that Speaks the Brutal Truth: Yosemite Valley

I have to admit, seeing Yosemite was difficult for me. It was 2016 and California had been going through years of drought and wildfires. I had imagined a breathtaking landscape of forest and fun. Perhaps a bit like the old Disney movie, Yellowstone Cubs, I had dreamed of seeing bears roaming, birds chattering, and deer frolicking in the meadows. That’s not what I saw….

Instead, I saw a harsh reality where drought and bark beetles had been pillaging the forests, leaving millions of trees dead in their wake. I saw waterfalls that once gushed with water and life stand still and dry. I saw meadowlands that had lost their color and instead showcased a dull and dead brown. It was November….It was dry….It was warm….It was quiet.

The tree mortality is the most evident issue upon entering the park. But, on top of this, the National Park Service has issued environmental warnings due to invasive species, the soundscape, the infiltration of electric light, unnatural growth taking over the scenic vistas, fire, pollution, visitor usage and overcrowding, air quality, and climate change.

Instead of bears searching for table scraps and deer playing in the meadows, Noah did capture this one…I mean…that’s gotta be once in a lifetime, right? However, a deer taking a dump wasn’t quite the Disney Princess fantasy I had in mind…

Yosemite has shifted continually throughout its long history. The mountains stand more majestically than ever. The forests continue to fight for survival. And wildfires, however devastating, bring a renewed energy to the soil and plants. It continues to strive to heal itself, but it’s difficult to watch – especially realizing that a lot of the problems are due to human error.

Should we go to Yosemite? I think this depends. I think that you should definitely go if you are a nature-lover, photographer, hiker, back-country expert, etc. Should the mega tour busses filled with tourists who are looking for souvenirs and quick phone captures flood the roadways and sit in traffic on the major routes? Probably not… I think for most of us, we need to give these types of parks time to breathe. The earth will heal itself if we let it. But, that’s a personal opinion… And, I’m not an expert…

I had hoped to find breathtaking scenery, and I did! I had hoped to explore the magical wilderness of one of our best natural parks, and it left me with more than just awe – it left me with a bigger sense of purpose in taking care of our world.

Toast the Moon Rating:

  • Food and Drink: 6/10
  • Culture/Locals: 6/10
  • Things to Do: 8/10
  • Adventure Opportunities: 10/10
  • Cost: 8/10
  • Total: 7.6/10 – Cheers!

Enjoy your adventure!

Toast the Moon – Cheers,

Noah and Majhon

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