Yosemite Recap

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Mirror Lake

Length of Stay:

  • 3 days, 3 nights

High:

  • Exploring the Valley’s multiple viewpoints

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Low:

  • Construction and crowds

Favorite Hike:

  • The Mist Trail to Vernal Falls
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Getting “misted” on the Mist Trail. Note the rainbow in the bottom right corner.

Favorite Treat:

  • Waterfalls and rainbows
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The Valley of People

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Tunnel View – the best overlook in the park featuring El Cap, Half Dome, and Bridalveil Fall

Granite cliffs.

Towering water falls.

World-renowned vistas.

Yosemite.

When I decided to take this crazy sojourn around the country, Yosemite National Park was a distant dream that stirred my rock climber’s imagination. Visions of Half Dome and El Cap danced in my head as I methodically planned out the route I would take on this fascinating road trip. Yosemite was on the top of the I-can’t-wait-to-see-it list.

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It’s beautiful. It truly is.

BUT.

It also strangely felt like Disneyland. Hotels, restaurants, tours, buses, camera-clad sightseers, and long lines. I completely understand why so many people would desire to come to this incredible paradise, but I also selfishly wished everything synthetically-made would disappear for a couple hours.

I wanted the entire park to myself.

I wanted to look at a waterfall without a small child bumping into me.

I wanted to hike to an overlook without having to a wait for a group of unmindful teenagers to move aside so I could pass.

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The famous Yosemite Falls

I found bits and pieces of alone time while pedaling my rented bike through a less-frequented area or while strolling along the Valley Loop trail.

And this, friends, is the quandary facing many of the national parks. They are a preservation of a natural space, yet a place of recreation for others’ enjoyment. I am faced with a similar conundrum: I desire to see more Americans get outside and experience the beauty of the wild, yet I also seek to connect with nature on a personal, individual nature.

John Muir, a famous naturalist and advocate of the Sierra Nevada range, emphasizes the importance of finding solitude in the great outdoors: “Only by going alone in silence, without baggage, can one truly get into the heart of the wilderness. All other travel is mere dust and hotels and baggage and chatter.

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Admiring Half Dome and relishing a rare moment of alone-ness