national park · nature · travel

Yosemite National Park

This past week I was feeling overwhelmed by work so I decided to plan a trip away from the city. Well, in my planning to leave the stress behind, somehow I added more stress to my life by trying to plan “the perfect weekend getaway”. Oh, us typical humans! Somehow, someway, we always find a way to complicate things. Thankfully I have a husband that reminds me that not everything has to be so complicated, and is always so wiling to go along on my many crazy adventures.

So in times when life feels like it’s closing in on me, the best medicine usually seems to be to go out into nature. I’m blessed to live somewhat close to a few national parks, and Yosemite happens to be one of them. (If you haven’t yet been, I would suggest you quickly come up with a master plan to visit and convince whoever you need to convince to along with you.)

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Yosemite National Park was the 4th most visited national park this past year, bringing in approximately 4.1 million visitors! Yes, you read that right, 4.1 millionnnnn. Crazy, I know. Summer is obviously Yosemite’s peak season, where it sees 3/4 of it’s yearly visitors. I have only been to the park once before, in February about 2 years ago. At that time, the park wasn’t very populated with tourists and most of the eateries were still closed for off season. Of course we didn’t realize how good we had it then, having the park practically to ourselves. This time around, however, showed us how many people across the US and world travel to California just to visit Yosemite National Park. As you can imagine, I witnessed the park have more foot and car traffic than I would have liked to see. Nevertheless, seeing so many people in this one place reminded me that most are looking to experience the same beauties that many of us find peace in.

Rather than scoff at all the tourism taking place (clearly I’m part of that population when I travel), I instead decided to soak in the same beauty that everyone else was. Often times I felt the urge to put down my camera and just sit in awe of all the beauty Yosemite has to offer. I will admit that sometimes this is hard to do, to simply just stay still and be one with nature. I realize how cliche that may sound, but it’s true! Sometimes we just need to stop, put away any and all distractions, and simply just enjoy the present moment. I hope that when I look back at this trip in time to come, I will willingly take a dose of my own medicine.

Many will tell you how much diverse beauty Yosemite has to offer. From it’s stunning rock formations to it’s many majestic waterfalls to the peaceful meadows that surround the valley, there is just so much to see and take in. It’s no surprise that the tallest waterfall in the United States is found right here in Yosemite. Rightfully so, the waterfall is named “Yosemite Falls”, and has a vertical drop of 2,425 feet!

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In the evening we spontaneously drove up to Glacier Point for sunset. Unfortunately because this was a last minute planned drive, we spent a large portion of our time in traffic (hello, summer tourism!) and had to view sunset from the car (not a bad view though!). As soon as we got up to the point, we noticed a ranger led astronomy class taking place. Of course we decided to stick around a few minutes to learn some things. And boy did we! We got to see the moon up close and personal through a telescope, and later on Saturn and it’s rings! Talk about spontaneity paying off!

Later on we decided to hang out by a meadow in hopes of seeing the Milky Way. I have seen many beautiful photos taken of the Milky Way in Yosemite, so I thought why not try myself. I had never successfully taken a photo in the dark before, mostly due to lack of practice, but I was determined more than ever to figure out my camera’s settings for night photos. Luckily I was able to get it right not too long in because we actually saw the Milky Way!! Obviously my photos of the Milky Way are not the best taken, but I could not contain myself from jumping up and down out of excitement of accomplishing a “night shot” and shooting the Milky Way!

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The next day we decided to just take the morning and early afternoon to walk around Yosemite and visit different meadows before heading back to Los Angeles. Thankfully we did, because we got to experience all that Yosemite has to offer. A good portion of our time was spent chasing butterflies. Lol! Yosemite is clearly known by their enormous rock formations and beautiful waterfalls, but who knew Yosemite had some many different types of butterflies?!

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Notice anyone hiding in the background?

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This year marks the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service. I encourage you to find your closest national park and visit soon. Even a quick weekend getaway is enough time to take in all the beauty a national park has to offer. And if you don’t have a national park near you, remember to take time for an adventure. You never know what wonders it can do for you!

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