I have been meaning to visit Yosemite National Park for a long time, but always found an excuse not to visit. While working late in one night, I found myself exhausted both physically and mentally, and knew i needed a break. So I just packed and left for Yosemite.
Seeing the snow on the mountain and breathing its fresh air immediately elevated my mood and I knew i was coming to a right place.
Entering the park from East (Highway 395), I thoroughly enjoyed the calming morning drive of Tioga Rd. Such a scenic drive, I was full of excitement and peace and when the Half Dome finally came to a view, I had to stop and take a photo.
How many of you watched “Free Solo”? I remember watching the documentary earlier this year with a dismay. It is a film of young rock climber who conquered El Capitan without the ropes….just with his bare hands.
Looking at this giant Granite wall, I am even more so amazed how even the thought of “climbing” came to his mind. If you haven’t checked it out, I strongly recommend the film.
While admiring its beauty and its gigantic size, I’ve noticed 2 rock climbers who appeared to be resting.
We weren’t sure at first until someone with a binocular confirmed that they were indeed 2 climbers.
What brave souls!
After El Capitan, I decided to take a break near Cathedral Beach. For this trip, I decided to go “Meat Free” and for the 1st time in my adult life, I went 4 days without consuming the meat. This was my typical meal for the rest of my trip…. a bread, roasted garlic, potato, and sweet potato, and different fruits.
It was a lot more delicious than it looks in this photo.
It was around 2pm and it was getting hot. I needed a place to take a nap and Bridalveil Fall provided a perfect spot. Using the rock trail, one could get fairly close to the fall and I found a flat rock near the top. The mists from the fall felt like a cool AC & I took a nice hour nap on a flat rock bed.
It was awesome!
After Bridalveil fall, I went to Yosemite village to do some grocery shopping and drove around the park before heading to my camp ground. While wandering around in small trails and stops, I came across this particular tree that was burned either by lightening or the recent fire we had in 2018.
I found these 2 trees very odd as they were less than 2 feet away from each other…..and while one got completely burnt, the other showed no sign of a fire.
While I was in a Yosemite Village, I asked a Park Ranger about the best Sunset location and he told me to go to Glacier point. Luckily, it was very close to my campground.
After thoroughly enjoying the Sunset on day 1, I was tired and ready to go to sleep.
During the sunset watch on Glacier point, I was chatting with guys who sat next to me. During our conversation, I asked if they knew any good location for a sunrise and they weren’t sure of a good location. One gentleman had a compass and gave me a direction. Looking at the mountain line, I somehow had a feeling it would also provide an ideal place to watch Sunrise.
Upon waking up early, I drove toward to Glacier point and found this place… and I was right.
The cloud formation, Half Dome, Fresh morning air, and a cup of coffee…. it was beautiful and knew it would be another beautiful day.
Having enjoyed the Sunrise, I decided to try the “4 mile” hike near Glacier point. It was still early and the trail was quiet & peaceful with occasional birds hymning. The trail itself was quite long and provided a spectacular view of Yosemite Valley.
One thing I’ve noticed in Yosemite is that it is full of lives everywhere. Trees, flowers, water…
There were some parts heavily affected by the fire in 2018, and where they were burnt and dead trees, you could see new baby pine trees starting the new lives as the dead trees provide an excellent source of fertilizing energy.
My 2nd day destination for afternoon nap was the Swinging bridge. Families enjoying the shallow river, kids jumping into the river from the bridge, and families having picnic seemed very peaceful and fun.
I vowed to come back with my kids next summer.
Initially, I wanted to try Half Dome trail, but was told it would require a wilderness permit and having never spent a night in the wild, I wasn’t sure if I was ready for it. So instead of Half Dome Trail, I decided to try the Upper Yosemite Fall trail.
it was around 3pm when I arrived at the start of Upper Yosemite Fall trail. Although I am not exactly a seasoned hiker, I’ve done & enjoyed it long enough to claim myself as a capable hiker. But this trail proved to be one of the most difficult trail I tried. It is about 3.5 long miles of uphill routes and having done the 4 mile trail earlier in the morning….. my knees and thighs were starting to soar. It was long and painful…. but when I finally got to the top, it was well worth of every single step and sweat.
The view from the top of waterfall was quite amazing and not far from the fall, there was a running stream that provided an excellent resting spot. After an hour rest, it was time to go down before the dark.
While descending, I ran into a guy named Anthony who was coming up. I knew it would be almost dark by the time he would make it to the top… so I talked to him. He told me he was going to spend a night on top and that got my attention as I contemplated the same idea while resting on top.
And the idea of coming back quickly evaporated as I was struggling with the descend. My knees and thighs were just burning. Sun was setting on my way to campground.
After a nice sleep, my legs felt much better. I drove toward Wawona station to get some gas. Near the gas station, there was “Big pine Lodge” and it had a restaurant that served hot omelettes. After 2 days of fruits, bread, potato, and sweet potato, I simply couldn’t resist it & it was the best omelette I ever had.
Feeling full & Happy, I went to the village to get a permit to spend a night in the wild. Once obtaining the permit, off I went to the trail.
My legs fell fine until 20 mins into the trail. With the extra weight on my backpack, it was physically very demanding. But having started in the morning, I figured I would pace myself and take as many breaks I need.
Along the trail, I ran into Anthony & his friends who were coming down after a night in the wild. When I told him I was going up to spend a night, he chuckled and cheered me on. I also ran into a father with 2 young children (daughter & son around 8~10 years old). We happened to spend good amount of time hiking together and taking the breaks together. They were about 1/2 to the top and I remember telling a young girl that “more painful it is, more joyful it will be once you make it to the top”.
The trail was difficult enough for adults and soon their pace got slower… so we got separated.
Eventually, I made it to the top & it was a heaven. I was having a great time reading, sipping on wine, and absolutely doing nothing. A few hours later, I was very happy to see the same family making to the top and the joy on the kids’ faces when they were about to get into the water. As a parent myself, I felt proud of them for a moment.
After a few hours of resting, I explored around the Yosemite Peak and its surrounding landscape. The clouds seemed never so close and it provided a great view of Half Dome.
Before getting dark, i came back to my camp and started to gather up some woods.
Apparently, I had the most luxurious suite Yosemite had to offer. A private pool, King size Bed, fireplace, and open roof with spectacular view of night sky……
It was getting dark and there was so soul near by. The sound of running stream provided some calming comfort and having the small fire sure helped the mood.
Soon sun was set and it was getting dark….. and stars started to appear one by one.
Before I knew it, night sky was covered with so many stars. I didn’t even know we had this many stars in the sky & it was just beautiful.
It got pretty cold at night and that prevented me from having a nice sleep.
Nevertheless, it was one of the most beautiful night I had.
I dozed off to a sleep while admiring the sky view and woke up not long after because it got really cold.
once dawn arrived and I had some visual, I hiked up to Yosemite Peak.
I sat on top of the big boulder I had scouted a day earlier and calmly waited for the Sun to show.
As the sun came up, I gave a thankful prayer of how beautiful life & nature is… and that I would continuously do & try better to explore and enjoy more of God’s mighty creations around the world.
I found peace and it was time to go home.
Leaving the Park, I felt rejuvenated and recharged.
Yosemite was exactly what I needed and I knew I would be back again soon.
Yosemite is incredibly amazing!