I spent last weekend in Yosemite with a handful of good friends. The park hadn't changed since I had last visited at thirteen with my eighth-grade class.
Yosemite really is a beautiful place. A really special place. It was just marvelous to spend the weekend up in and around those mountains. My friend Sarah, who grew up in the area, was an excellent tour guide and hostess, leading us safely from 2000 feet of elevation to 6000 and back. We drove from 2000 to 5000 (ears begin popping now) and hiked from 5000 to about 6000. I was about to pass out after climbing to Vernal Fall, but lunch saved me, and the rest of the climb to Nevada Fall was absolutely worth it. All the rock, breathtaking views, sharp vernal light and sheer amount of waterproof gear I brought with me reminded me of Iceland.
Can, can can we do the can can? Hell yes, we can!
Climbing the Mist Trail to Vernal.
The view from the top... or one-third of the way to Half Dome.
Wandering along paths between fenced-off trees and dodging pockets of snow made me feel like I was in The Lorax. How strange that it is May - late May - and there is still snow on the ground, though there was a fair amount of warmth in the air. There was also a whole lot of silly in the air: we traipsed through the park making snowballs, spilling beers, claiming prime nap spots and doing acrobatics at photo-ops.
I'm thankful that in places like Yosemite, the trees have already been spoken for, and that our national parks are well-protected. When I'm a senior citizen, I'll buy a lifetime national parks pass. They only cost ten dollars. That way I can justify prioritizing visiting state parks and international travel for now.