I must admit Yosemite National Park is as spectacular as hyped. Mother Earth gets props for the architecture done on this natural wonder. Every way you turn is another beautiful photo. A drive on Tioga Pass supports this theory as the boulders and grass glistened under the warm, spring sun. Our first look upon Half Dome was witnessed from the pass as we stopped along different viewpoints. A fresh snow was slowly melting off the top of the cherished spectacle throughout the day to reveal its full glory. I was happy to familiarize myself with Half Dome from the pass right away because the dome gave me a better perspective to where I was on every hike. A shuttle bus ran throughout the main valley to popular hikes and viewpoints each day from 7am to 10pm, which was convenient for us because our campsite was located there.
The day my mom and I arrived to the park was luckily the day most people were leaving to return home from the Memorial Day weekend rush. We heard traffic congested the park the entire weekend with up to three hour delays in certain areas. The weather was perfect and I felt very fortunate to see the water that was flowing. A severe drought caused waterfalls and rivers to appear as shrunk and dried up as they would in September. Of course, many waterfalls were still powerful and vibrant.
One successful triumph of mine was climbing to the top of Vernal Falls, one of the smaller falls mind you. I took a few breaks to lighten the challenge and to appreciate being next to an enormous waterfall. I found the contrast of the rushing water crashing down below and the light drizzle upon my face fascinating. The flow of each is constant, continuing its way over and under ever obstacle. It reflects my current state of continuous movement, flowing with life as new encounters and opportunities guide my travels.
The forest, mountains, waterfalls, wildlife, prairies, lakes and any other natural element I have forgotten truly solidify Yosemite National Park as a significant natural gem. A park like this and so many other naturally abundant areas throughout California are greatly appreciated by the state and citizens. I highly respect the green way of life and mentality among everyday living to the point that it almost makes up for the ridiculous traffic and air pollution. I do believe this general respect towards the environment is one of the only reasons that places like Yosemite and Big Sur are still so beautiful.
–To be continued.