On surprises, a little trip to heaven and winning the Girlfriend of the Year Award.

On surprises, a little trip to heaven and winning the Girlfriend of the Year Award.

I hate surprises. When plans are made that involve me, I like to know what they are, who they’re with, when they’re happening, what to wear — all the details. When someone tries to surprise me, I generally guess it (and always get it right), or get so frustrated and angry that they end up telling me.

Luckily, my boyfriend is a much better sport. He’s been talking about wanting to organize a trip to Yosemite National Park for months, to no fruition. It’s not easy to rally a bunch of friends, plan and pay for a trip nearly 4 hours away.

That’s when it came to me: a surprise Birthday trip to Yosemite. And man, am I good at keeping a secret (and a straight face when he almost asked directly about going to Yosemite for his Birthday).

About three weeks ago, I told him that we were going away for the weekend. He needed to pack comfortable clothes, shoes he could walk in, a jacket, snacks and a swimsuit. Apparently, he had it in his head that we were going white water rafting. I’d told him that if he guessed the destination, we would no longer be going. He kept his mouth shut.

The Monday before our trip, we’re sitting at dinner when he brings up all the places he’d like to travel.

“Where is one place you’d absolutely love to go?” I asked.

“Right now? Yosemite,” He replied.

Inside, I was smiling. Outside, I said, “Really? What’s there to do in Yosemite other than hike?”

Poker face FTW.

After borrowing a co-worker’s car, I picked him up curbside Friday afternoon. Sitting on the seat were directions to the Bed & Breakfast we were staying at in Mariposa, and a list of things to do in Yosemite.

The look on his face when he realized where exactly we were going made the whole trip worth it.

Annnnndd the Girlfriend of the Year award goes to…. (drumroll) ….ME!

Three hours and a Taco Bell Baja Chalupa later, we arrived at Poppy Hill Bed & Breakfast. I’ve never stayed in a Bed & Breakfast before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I did my due diligence and researched many B&Bs in the area, and Poppy Hill was the most enticing. It looked just like the photos on the site. When we arrived, it was dark, but the house was aglow with white tree lights and dimmed walkway lights on the stairs leading up to the house. There was a note on the door letting me know to leave the door unlocked, that there was wine and cookies on the kitchen table, and to “sleep so well.”

This place was going to be perfect.

We unloaded the car, brought our stuff upstairs to our room (which was complete with a big, fluffy bed, an antique dresser and armoire, a bathroom with a huge shower, and a small seating area overlooking the deck and front garden.

Fighting sleep, we ventured down to the wine and cookies and enjoyed them on the deck, underneath the stars.

Once we went to bed, I did “sleep so well.”

We awoke to the sun and chirping birds and I couldn’t wait to get the day started. After devouring croissant French toast, bacon and fruit, we headed to the park. The boyfriend insisted on driving as I’d never been to Yosemite before and he wanted me to enjoy the view. And the view, I did enjoy.

It was spectacular.

Mountaintops blanketed by green, lush trees. Granite faces etched in domes atop peaks. Waterfalls exploding out of the hills. Magic.

We parked and exploring commenced.

Day 1:

Yosemite Valley Floor – We walked around the Valley Floor to determine which trails to hike first. We were swept away by the incredible views of the park, of Half Dome, of Bridalveil Falls (heck, all the falls), the untouched, green meadows.

Lower Yosemite Falls – Here, we ventured slightly off the path and right up to the fall itself. Soaked by mist, we snapped a few photos and trampled around in the mud and puddles.

Mirror Lake – Starving by they time we arrived, we found a secluded beach along the lake and ate our packed sandwiches. The lake is fantastic, but turns out to be more beautiful in pictures than in person.

Tuolumne Meadows/Giant Sequoia Grove – Tired from the day’s hike (over 6 hours!), we thought that the 1 mile trail down to the Sequoia Grove wouldn’t be too bad. It’s steep downhill all the way there, which meant steep uphill all the way back. The giant sequoias are incredible. HUGE! We ran into a few deer, the boyfriend got scared, and I only complained a little on the hike back.

Day 2:

Mist Trail – One of the most inexplicable experiences I’ve had. We hiked directly alongside Vernal Falls, up about 1,000 wet stairs, soaked by the mist, surrounded by rainbows. Unreal.

Mariposa Grove – Another grove of giant Sequoias, only more majestic. These trees are astonishing. Felt like a dream.

The drive home took a bit longer, but I did not want the weekend to end. It was perfect in every single way. The time spent in the quiet of nature, appreciating the beauty and the boyfriend, was irreplaceable. Yosemite is a little slice of Heaven here on Earth, and I can’t wait to return.

Check out the slideshow of photos from the trip below:

If you want to see the bigger versions (recommended, because they rock) click here.



Also, if you’re reading this in a reader, click over! I have a pretty new site design thanks to Norcross and Shatterboxx :)

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  1. Girlfriend of the year for sure! Sounds like the perfect weekend to me. :)

    • It was so perfect! Highly recommend a trip there :)

  2. YES, YES, YES, YES, and YESSSS!! Now I’m suuuuper excited! We’ve just reserved a little cabin outside of Yosemite where we’ll be camping with 16 & 13 for 4 days in July! CAN’T WAIT! 😀 😀 And yes m’dear you ARE the girlfriend of the year!

    • You will have a BLAST! It’s so gorgeous. Can’t wait to hear all about it!

  3. WHOA! So freaking sweet!

    Hey, can you and your boyfriend stay at my cabin in New Hampshire for a weekend? The only reason is that I’d like a review just like this for my cabin. Good job capturing the weekend and making me feel like an arse for never visiting Yosemite while in CA.

    GF of the year is an esteemed title. Hold on to that one and redeem it for foot rubs as often as possible!

    • I’d love to stay at your cabin :) You have GOT to go. It’s incredible, Adam.

      And I will be receiving a plethora of foot rubs. Don’t you worry.

  4. YAY! That’s awesome, Lauren :) Glad you guys had a good trip AND that you were able to keep it a surprise. I’m SO bad at that… I usually end up getting so excited that I just HAVE to spill the secret. :)

    • We did have a blast! I’m usually not so good at keeping secrets — I get excited too! I want to share! But I know that this surprise would be well worth it.

  5. I’ve totally sensed a bit of “poker-face” over gchat lately. Are you planning a trip for us to Tahiti?!?!

    • Maybe…..

  6. seriously what a fabulous surprise trip! and now i really want to visit that b&b, i’ve never stayed in one either but that one sounds amazing. also i’ve never been to yosemite, i really need to change that seeing as to how i’ve lived in california my entire life, haha.

    • It was wonderful!!! You HAVE to go to Yosemite. It’s so incredible! That B&B was wonderful, too. I was definitely nervous, but I’m so glad I chose that one.

  7. This SO reinforces my need to make the drive to Yosemite!

    • You HAVE to go!! No questions asked — DO IT.

  8. Your site looks great! Also, this trip looks amazing – I’ve been really getting an itch lately to see more national parks, and this one – top of list! You ARE the Best GF Ever :)

    • Doni, you’d absolutely love Yosemite! It’s magical and peaceful and I feel totally re-centered after the trip. You must go. And when you do, you must visit ME IN SF :)

  9. !! :) the mist trail is incredible, isn’t it? what a great gift. and a surprise at that. it’d be really hard for me to keep it a secret. and yosemite takes a lot of planning b/c it gets so crazy busy.

    • The Mist Trail was such an incredible experience. It was definitely hard to keep the secret. I kept getting excited and then nervous and wanted to tell him, but I kept it in! It was worth it :)

  10. Liked the commentary and loved the pictures. You’re getting to be a good photographer. It’s great to have a BF with whom to share special moments.

    • Thanks! I love taking photos. It was great to have some time to actually take some!

  11. Aww love this recap. You ARE the best girlfriend evahhh. Need to step my game up hahaha

    Love you

    • Thanks, lovey! It was a wonderful time. Hope you’re taking tons of photos in Costa Rica. I want to see all the beautiful things you’re seeing! xo

  12. Looks like you guys had an amazing time. There’s not way I would have been able to keep a secret like that so you do indeed get the BEST GIRLFRIEND EVER award!

    • We had a blast!! Such good quality time and a great way to unplug. It was pretty easy to keep the secret, too! I was just super excited :)

  13. What an adorable story and fantastic pictures. WTG!

    • Thanks! I’m glad you enjoyed the post :) It was a fantastic trip.


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