A fantastic finale to my summer filled with travel, I have returned from Yosemite National Park, a place fully deserving of the title “Destination of the World”. The sights, the incredible geology, and of course the many places I found to swim made my very short visit to Yosemite National Park all too short for me.
The trip started with a little more adventure that we planned for: our first flight was canceled. Hoping to prevent losing a whole day in Yosemite, the family instead decided to re-book on a new flight plan. One evening flight and six hour drive later, we had managed to make it to Yosemite after a 24-hour travel day, which sent us straight to bed.
The next day we first laid eyes on Yosemite Valley itself. The steep valley cliffs and forested valley below left me speechless, I had to let my camera do the talking. The gigantic cliffs and mountains impressed me beyond belief, I could not understand how such a sight could all sit right before me in one sight.
After enjoying the view, we descended into the valley, where Mitchell and I set out to see Vernal Falls and Nevada Falls, the most popular hiking destinations in the valley. Every few yards or so, we would reiterate to each other our disbelief that such massive features could all be crammed together like this. Every time we looked up we were stunned by another incredible view. We hiked up about 2 miles and found our way to Vernal Falls, and rewarded ourselves with a swim in the pool at the foot of the falls.
After climbing the remaining mile to Nevada Falls, Mitchell and I turned to return home, stopping to grab as many photos as we could along the way.
The next day the whole family piled in the car and drove out to Tuolomne (I was told it was pronounced “Too-wall-oh-mne”) Meadows to explore some of the highland scenery Yosemite has to offer. We stopped at Tenaya Lake for swim stop number 2 at the base of some gorgeous mountains.
Tuolomne meadows sits above the Yosemite Valley, so the temperature was surprisingly mild here, given that it was August. Nevertheless, we ventured around the meadows and ultimately to Lambert Dome. The bell-shaped face of Lambert Dome teased an easy ascent up the massive piece of granite, and I soon found myself venturing to the top.
After finally descending, I parted ways with my family, who ventured back to our cabin while I remained in the valley to meet my good friend and former shipmate, Grayson.
Grayson and I had sailed together as a part of the Sea Education Association, and since then Grayson had been working as a biological science technician out in Yosemite, with some sailing voyages in between. I spent the night hanging with Grayson and his coworkers, hearing stories and learning about destinations all over Yosemite I would have to explore someday.
The following morning I explored the area a little longer before taking a bus back to reunite with my family. The weather was perfect hiking weather, and remote nature of Tuolomne meadows made for a tranquil hike.
The family hike for the day was to May Lake, a short hike near Tuolomne. The crystal clear waters of the lake ensured that this would be the best swim stop yet.
For our final day, we ventured up to my dad’s favorite spot in the valley: Glacier Point. I could see why we saved the best for last. From the peak of Glacier point almost every major landmark of Yosemite Valley was visible, from Half Dome Peak to Vernal and Nevada Falls. I could have spent a lifetime here, looking out into infinity, but after we had our fill, Mitchell and I took the Four Mile Trail back into the valley to complete our time in Yosemite National Park.
Though it had been short, we did our best to make the most of it. If there is anything to sum up the trip, it is only the intense longing to go back and explore it more someday. It was an amazing way to enjoy the finale of my summer after school, and I was happy to spend it with my family.
My complete Yosemite National Park photographic adventure I have uploaded to my flickr page, as well as to an album here, enjoy. Be on the lookout for a post soon summarizing my past few months since graduation, and what is soon-to-be from my latest exploits!