Over the past year, I’ve had the opportunity to travel across the country and visit some of our most beautiful national parks and mountain ranges. These include Rocky Mountain National Park, The Great Tetons, Yellowstone, Great Smoky Mountains, and the Sierra Nevada Mountains. To close out the year, I wanted to do something special. Being the spontaneous person that I am, I decided to take a camping trip to Yosemite during the week of Thanksgiving. After hearing stories and seeing pictures of Yosemite’s famous locations like Half Dome, El Capitan, and Camp 4, I knew I had to see it for myself.
The drive to Yosemite itself was impressive, traveling through the Sierra Nevada’s over the snowy Kit Carson Pass and through small California mountain towns. I arrived in Yosemite right before daylight and made it to Tunnel View as the sun began to rise. As the light began to illuminate the view before me, I was awestruck by the incredible beauty of the valley. I knew this was going to be a great week. After finding a campsite, I decided to get out and explore. Over the next few days, I enjoyed the spectacular views of Glacier Point, Bridal Veil Falls, and Yosemite Falls. For November, the weather couldn’t have been more perfect with daytime temperatures in the high 60’s and nighttime temperatures in the 40’s.
After returning home and going through my pictures, it’s hard to find words to describe the beauty of these places. I often wonder what the Native Americans thought when they first came upon places like this, and how peaceful it must have been. Even now, in modern times, I think people travel to these places seeking something similar. To appreciate their beauty, peace, and wonder is really something special. As an outdoor educator, I’d encourage everyone to take time to appreciate our natural wonders. Take advantage of the close proximity to places like Yosemite and Great Basin. Go climb a mountain, camp on the Playa, or kayak Lake Tahoe. The world is waiting for you to explore.
"There can be nothing in the world more beautiful than the Yosemite, the groves of the giant sequoias and redwoods, the Canyon of the Colorado, the Canyon of the Yellowstone, the Three Tetons; and our people should see to it that they are preserved for their children and their children's children forever, with their majestic beauty all unmarred."-Teddy Roosevelt