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A Hike and Spa Yosemite Weekend

As a former New Yorker, I wasn't quite prepared for the level of outdoor intensity inherent to Californians. I was used to plowing through city streets oblivious to my surroundings and pampering myself with weekend mani/pedis. The allure of spending free time hiking, biking, and backpacking drew me to the West Coast, but bets are that when you catch me on the trails, I'll be panting on the uphills and feeling like jello by the time I make it to camp. If, like me, you're more the Carrie Bradshaw type than a full-on John Muir, consider getting away to Ascent Spa at Tenaya Lodge on your next trip to Yosemite. That's right—a bona fide spa amidst the sea of towering granite, so that you can get your hike on and then reward your hard work with a soothing massage.

Never heard of it? Well, listen up. The Ahwahnee may be famous for its grandeur, but it's also famous for its hefty price tag of $400/night. And of course there's Curry Village on the other end of the spectrum, but there's always the chance of an up close and personal encounter with some hungry black bears. Turn your attention south of the park (an area I'd say is more frequented by Fresno folk than San Franciscans). Located just two miles from Yosemite's South Gate is the only lodge in the park area with a new, state-of-the-art 10,000-square-foot spa, complete with sauna, steam room, 12 treatment rooms, a relaxation lounge, lockers, and showers. In keeping with the sustainable California philosophy, Ascent uses locally produced, hand-crafted, certified organic products, including a line that I fell in love with called Benedetta, which conveniently enough, is sold at the Ferry Building. Check out the spa's two signature treatments—a massage using a healing blend of indigenous botanical oils from the Southern Sierra that includes evening primrose, rosehip, sunflower, and castor oil and a facial using both Benedetta and Kimberly Parry Organics products. Take that, Ahwahnee.

Ready to take the plunge? Hit up Tenaya's Autumn Ascent Spa Package. From 9/15 - 11/30, for $239, you'll get a one-night stay in a deluxe room, an 80-minute Madagascar ginger scrub and ginger oil massage, and a schwag bag with an aromatherapy eye pillow, spa cd, Yosemite meditation book, spa products, and more, so that you can have your cake and eat it too. Score.