Yosemite National Park California
I first saw Yosemite in June of 2001. It was a bright blue sky, with dry air high up in the Sierra Nevada range. We had to traverse over 10,000ft in an 18-wheeler semi flat bed, hauling USA made picnic benches from Iowa to Yosemite Park. I was traveling on a rig with friends of mine that were a husband and wife driver team for a company called Arrow, but I digress, as this story is concerned with Yosemite. My 18-wheeler adventure is in next week’s installment of Traveling Thursdays, but had to mention the rig as it was the first time I saw the park.
All I can say is my jaw dropped when I saw the valley. I had never seen anything so beautiful – it’s so beautiful. I’ve been to Yosemite 4 times, one of those times I lived there for 3 months as a chambermaid at Curry Village. I was obsessed for a short while with Yosemite, but I’m not a lifer – workers that will be there until they die. The first time I saw Yosemite everything looked massive! The trees, the walls of the valley, El Capitan, Half Dome – the whole place was so unlike any landscape my eyes had ever seen in person that it looked like I was very very far away from home. On my first journey to Yosemite I swam in the Merced River, around 42 F. I saw the Grizzly Giant – one of the oldest living sequoias in the United States – the world’s oldest are in Australia. I learned: all sequoias are redwoods, but not all redwoods are sequoias, the sequoia is related to the Florida cypress tree, and they are fire resistant!
I remember on my first night in the valley – lying on the floor and looking up at the huge lodge-pole pine trees – they are over 450ft tall – so magnificent and breathtaking. I was under a spell of nature that I needed to experience over and over again. The second time I went to Yosemite I met a bunch of friends there, then the third time I was a worker. While I was a worker I saw a lot more of the park and took several hikes alone.
I have two hikes from my worker days that mean something spiritual to me – one was to the summit of Nevada Falls, and the second was from Glacier Point to the valley floor. The Nevada Falls hike is spiritual for me because I walked up and down the side of a mountain (4,000ft ascent and descent combined in one afternoon) alone – and I was told I couldn’t, shouldn’t, but I did anyway. I go back to that afternoon to spur me on and keep me going – after doing that hike my life changed in a very positive way. Over the years I play that hike in my head and what I accomplished alone, and the fact that I was extremely successful. This is a mantra for me, and positivity has become a central force in my life that was ignited in my soul by this hike.
The second spiritual hike is from Glacier Point to the valley floor – it’s called the Four Mile Trail – there’s a spot where I believe the West Wind is born – at this spot I want my ashes thrown. This spot overlooks El Cap and I just have no words to describe – language fails – you have to see it yourself.
Yosemite – yeah – it means a lot to me – next time I’m going back to hike to the top of Half Dome – ha! ok I can dream at least!
All pictures are my own:
Half Dome with Nevada Falls from Glacier Point
Lodge-pole Pines Valley Floor – Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls
Where The West Wind is Born