Welcome to day three of my California adventure series. If you have been keeping up you'll know that day two ended in the city of Fresno. So let's jump right in!
The next destination on our itinerary was Yosemite National Park. To quote John Muir -
It is by far the grandest of all the special temples of Nature I was ever permitted to enter.
Yosemite's presence in the Sierra Nevada mountains offers hundreds of miles of hiking trails for visitors seeking adventure, solitude, and/or inspiration. Macon, my experienced hiker friend, was eager to step foot into the grandiose national park that promised witness to nature's constant transformation. More so that he wanted to wake up bright and early the next day to begin our two-hour drive to this promise land. But I protested the early rise like a petulant child.
This is a little TMI but I think it's important to mention that this trip coincidentally matched my menstrual cycle. UGH! Gal friends, are you able to participate in intense physical activity when on your period? I can't and actually planned this trip around it, but mother nature prevailed.
Moving on, after we filled our bellies with breakfast and prepared for the trek ahead - it was go time. I'm having a bit of a memory block and can't quite remember the details between hopping in the car and paying the park $30 entrance fee so let's jump straight to the hikes. First up, Glacier Point...
Peep the Half Dome directly behind me. We did not hike it as it is an extremely challenging 10-14 hour hike. I wonder if Macon would ever return to conquer it. . .
Next up, Sentinel Dome. This was a short but steep hike up what looked like a difficult dome, but it wasn't so bad. There were kids keeping up better than me. I didn't take photos because at this point I was over it (sorry Macon). Internal pain and the effects of the elevation took a toll on my physical endurance. It was also REALLY windy, cloudy, and lunch time. Macon managed to snap this one of me in solitude.
For lunch we headed down to the Yosemite Valley. The valley is absolutely breathtakingly beautiful! My memory bank recalls verdant fields with prancing deer, tall trees, spectacular waterfall view, and strips of glittering sun dancing on every surface it touched. Here's a photo that will never do it justice.
HANGRY TOURIST BEWARE. Parking near the restaurants was an absolute zoo in the afternoon. It was packed and many entrances were closed so you were required to drive a long way to find parking - which in hindsight the labyrinth set-up makes logistical sense. Patience my friends. [Side note: in my opinion Yosemite has great food options. Which is something I was worried about.]
Remember the photo above at Glacier Point with the two waterfalls? Yea, we hiked them. The one on the bottom left is called Vernal Fall. The first part of the hike consisted of several steep hills along the waterfall's stream. Then you have to climb wet, slippery stairs with a rusty metal railing. This part of the hike is known as the misty trail because you are literally getting hit and blinded by cold mist from the waterfall and that's how you know you're almost there. I had a lovely bonding experience with two Asian female tourists on this trail - I'm talking high pitched girly squeals- as we played leap frog up the stairs and were suddenly hit by the magnificent beauty in front of us. . .
Macon and I proceeded to climb to the very top. In the photo below, you can see guard rails bordering the waterfall where tourists are allowed to hangout. There was a young couple that jumped the rail and sat on the very edge of the waterfall. It made me feel uneasy, but I secretly admired their dangerous and literal "living on the edge" approach.
Friends, by this time my adrenaline was on 4WD and I was feeling high off nature. Remember the physical pain I had earlier? At this point I would have replied "what pain?" as I pushed it to the side and kept going because Macon told me that the next and final waterfall would be worth it in the end. So we left the hustle and bustle of tourists and continued the hike towards Nevada Fall.
And as you saw from my cover photo it was TOTALLY WORTH IT! Just look at the rainbow that beamed with grace spotlighted right in the middle of the powerful waterfall. At this point in my blog I don't have the vocabulary to describe such a sight because beautiful, breathtaking, magnificent, and stunning are already taken. It was insane. Macon and I were the only two people there with front row seats listening to the aggressive flow of the stream.
Here's Macon's photo:
And here, my dear friends, is where my California adventure series concludes. I think Macon was tempted to hike to the top of Nevada Fall, but decided not to. It was getting late and we needed to make our way back to Santa Monica for a networking event the next day.
I could write an essay on my experience at Yosemite, but I will not. Let's just say that John Muir was right and this nature temple was one for the books. Have you ever been to Yosemite National Park? Would you add it to your bucket list? Tell me all about it!
xoxo - Karen