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My son 16 and I 52 had an excellent experience with YExplore.
They just get it right.
We took two trips with them over a week hiking vacation in the Yosemite Valley. I appreciated their attention to detail and planning, they plan the complete trip. From permitting and providing written directions to meeting places and advising to print them as there is little cell service in the Yosemite Valley, assessing each individuals needs and abilities, providing all the right equipment including delicious meals etc.
But mostly, they were able to make the trip fun and memorable by being able to adjusti to our wants and needs. Our great experience started with the co-owners Catherine and John. Catherine helped us plan the trip and communicated regularly, John took us up half-dome and not only guided us safely up and down but showed us parts of the landscape that we would have never discovered on our own and saved us hours through his experience on using the cable system and choosing the less crowded trails. One of my favorites of Johns secrets is a spot at the top of Half-Dome where you can sit in a secluded area, dangling your feet out, 4000 over the valley. John is also a photographer and is willing to share his experience.
YExplore also has a knack for choosing excellent guides, not only do they have the necessary skills, each of the guides we met also brought significant and interesting experience with them.
One of the guides on our Half-Dome trip is an US Armed forces medic, The guide on our 3 day backpacking trip, Ryan, is a true Renaissance man. Ryan designs and builds his own backpacks, yurts and surf gear, is widely traveled and knows Yosemite Valley extremely well. But one of his best skills was his ability to gauge how much help my son and I needed and wanted. We spent a fair amount of time off trail and Ryan would typically be in the background, letting us hike and find our way, until he would just appear, when we were unsure if we were heading in the right direction or towards some drop off , to point us in the right direction at other times Ryan was with us teaching us about local plants and sharing his experiences. Our favorite spot that Ryan took us to was a lake near ten lakes, but less travelled. It was not too deep so was warm and swimmable. It had one small island in the middle that had two trees on it my son and I would swim to the island each day after hiking
My son and I are avid hikers with a lot of experience, having hiked in many countries and over decades in the North East, typically we would not use a guide and would choose to find our own way. YExplore has changed my mind on this, their help was invaluable and truly changed the way we saw the Grandeur of Yosemite. Not to sound too Hallmarky, but they helped give us something that can not be replaced, memories that will last a life time. Five Stars.
Joh, Pat and Catherine at YExplore made this a great trip. My son was thrilled with the experience. Very professional and safety minded, while making it an informative and positive experience. Very fortunate to have found them.
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