Ms. Robbins’ Spring Break Goes Awry. . . Yosemite Closed, Major Snowstorm. . .But All Ends Well, After All!


Ms. Kayla Robbins , Guest Writer, Advanced Journalism

For me, spring break has always been a time for rest; however, this spring break was going to be different. Instead of spending the week bingeing Netflix shows and naps, I was going to travel to Yosemite National Park, and hike its numerous trails (crossing an item off my “bucket list” in doing so). For months, I researched different trails, flights, Airbnbs, car rentals, etc. Finally,  all was kosher, or so I thought. 

It was the Friday before spring break, a difficult day for students and teachers alike. For many teachers, myself included, the day before spring break is code for “caffeinate and pray.” As I waited for my morning coffee to brew, I reached for my phone the same time a notification popped up: “Yosemite National Park Closed Indefinitely.” Bummer, to say the least. 

At the time, Yosemite had been hit with several snow storms, resulting in over 15 feet of snow. Many of the roads around Yosemite were closed due to dangerous driving conditions. Additionally, there were warnings of another snowstorm, along with multiple flood warnings in surrounding areas.

Ultimately, there was zero chance of hiking Yosemite’s renowned trails, which led to the next dilemma: my Airbnb in Oakhurst, which is located in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, near Yosemite. Luckily, the host was willing to refund my first two nights, so that I could hopefully make the drive after the snow was cleared. 

After a six-hour flight, I arrived in Fresno, California. From there, I got the car rental, and drove towards Aptos, where I booked a last minute Airbnb. For two days, I explored the coastline.

I saw the SS Palo Alto shipwreck, the Santa Cruz beach boardwalk, a group of sea lions sunbathing near the pier, and even made a trip to Salinas Valley, where I stopped at the John Steinbeck Museum (one of my favorite authors). So far, everything was going relatively well.

Turns out this was the calm before the storm, literally. 

On day three, I left for the mountainside. Fortunately, most of the snow was plowed, resulting in 8-10 foot snow walls on the side of the road. In Oakhurst, I stopped to see Lake Bass, and even made a trip out to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park (another item on my “bucket list” that was actually attainable).

Little did I know, however, the route to Sequoia involved a 45-minute drive up an incredibly steep mountain, with daunting drop offs around every curve. I continuously prayed for the Prius (my rental car) to make it up the terrain. As someone who’s afraid of heights, it was a nightmare driving up that mountain. Yet, when I finally arrived and saw the enormous redwood trees, the bright blue sky, and the proximity of the clouds, I realized that the breathtaking views were worth the journey. 

Day five, and the mountainside lost power, as another snowstorm loomed on the horizon. I had to find yet another “last minute” Airbnb. Since I experienced better weather near the coastline, I left Oakhurst for Morro Bay. Here, I saw Morro Rock and explored the beach, where adorable otters swam near the bay.

Day six, and the forecast predicted “light rain,” though the weather was closer to that of a monsoon. It was my last day in California, and rain fell incessantly, as my phone received several flood warnings, all advising residents to evacuate the area and head for high ground. On my way to the airport, I was delayed due to a mudslide blocking the freeway. Luckily, it was removed relatively quickly, and I made it just in time to board the plane. 

Despite my best efforts to have the spring break of my dreams, it didn’t work out as I had planned; however, if things hadn’t gone “off the rails,” then I wouldn’t have seen the beauty of California’s coast or had the opportunity to face my fears. Robert Burns (Scottish poet) says it best: “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry,” and I thank God that my plans did.