Stephen Bailey
Explore the most iconic US national park with expert Olivia Blodgett
Explore the most iconic US national park with expert Olivia Blodgett
Stephen Bailey

Californian Olivia Blodgett grew up with Yosemite National Park. Today, she is the host of the best Yosemite travel website — Girl With Blue Sails.

Olivia was my guest on the Kated Travel Podcast, where she gave us a vast array of insights and inspiration about one of the world’s most recognisable national parks.

Check the interview highlights below, then head to the podcast to discover more about Yosemite’s attractions, places to stay, when to go, the current Covid situation, and extra special places deep inside the park.

Stephen: Where did your love story with Yosemite begin?

Olivia: My dad loved the park, and he’s been taking me every year since I was born — sometimes twice a year. He loves to travel, and really inspired that dream in me. So I’ve just remembered it always. It’s been a place that was part of my childhood.

S: What’s your most precious memory there?

O: My favourite travel memory from Yosemite is my husband actually proposed to me there. It’s a special place to both of us, and we love the majestic Ahwahnee Hotel. We were out having dinner there one night and he said, “let’s go have some cocktails and walk around the courtyard before dinner.” So we went out for a walk, with the Yosemite Falls in the background, the beautiful Ahwahnee Hotel next to us — and he got down on one knee and proposed in my most favourite place in the world.

S: Can you give us an overview of the park and different places within it?

O: Yosemite National Park is huge. My main focus is Yosemite Valley. One of the main sites is definitely Yosemite Falls — it’s in every photo you see of Yosemite, it’s just so iconic and gorgeous.

Another one is Half Dome, another big icon you can see from pretty much anywhere in the park. You can see cool, unique views of it at Mirror Lake. One tip is, check Half Dome out at sunset. The valley is getting dark blue and purple tones but Half Dome, being so high up, is still fiery red and lit up in the sky.

I always like to recommend rafting through Yosemite — check out the Merced River, going throughout the whole park.

S: So you can raft through the park?

O: Yes, you can raft in Yosemite. It’s an activity I absolutely recommend to everyone. It’s not possible year-round, unfortunately, but definitely in spring, summer, maybe early fall, you can go rafting — and it’s such a fun way to see the park.

S: For somebody who’s visiting California on a bigger trip, how many days is a realistic stay for getting a good sense of the Yosemite experience?

O: I always say at least two nights. You get to see the park for a full day — you can see it in the morning, the afternoon, the evening, see the sunset. I think three nights is the sweet spot if you can, but two nights sounds perfect.

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