It was on this day, May 22, 2014, that I would officially declare myself a lifelong hiker/explorer/naturalist extraordinaire …. all thanks to the magic of Yosemite National Park.
We spent all day hiking up to and all around Vernal Falls, and then deeper and further up to Nevada Falls and all around, and then deeper, still further into and all around the forest. We hiked for miles on end, from sun up to sun down, and I remember thinking when it couldn’t get any better, we rounded a bend and BAM – It got better!!! Highlights include: the up & down zig-zagging away from the valley and into the mountain’s crevices; hiking up the stone stairway into the mist of Vernal Falls and being surrounded by circling rainbows; the deep plunge and great expanse of the mountain range before us as we climbed higher and higher; the rock-stage/cliff that beckoned the yogi in me; seeing half dome from behind, a totally different perspective from it’s infamous face; trailing along a 3-foot wide little indented walkway carved into the side of a mountain, with rocky ledges below, above, and beside us with trickling waterfalls sprinkling over along the other side, and again, the rainbows!; Springtime in FULL EFFECT as the melting snow and recent rainfall heaved with force, powerfully propelling over the mountain and cascading down into the rivers below………you know, just to name a few..
I really don’t know what else I can say about the experience, except that it changed me. I have yet to return to my original self, as the dimensions of my spirit expanded in many ways I can’t begin to explain – My old self left to rest there on the trail as a new consciousness emerged and eternalized – And for this, I am thankful.
“The wild is a voice that never stops whispering. It enters your pores by osmosis, and once it’s under your skin, good luck forgetting. The wild haunts the imagination, calling you back to places of vast sky and fast-running light, where solitude hunts for you and the edges of the world get ragged. These empty places are mirrors; they reflect back everything of yourself. They are teachers too, of a thousand lessons beyond anything our hands have made. Out there time stops walking, takes on different hues.”
– Daniel Crockett
It was this sort of internal revolution, like all the world came rushing in all at once and my understanding of it all soared to new, indescribable heights. In life I have found that you must break away from society, from civilization, from the madness of it all to ground and surround yourself with the bare essentials that are the crux of life, of nature, of creation, to appreciate our existence, and the existence of it all. Doing so offers a unique perspective on how small we are, individually – A microcosm in the macrocosm that is the universe – But also that even though we ourselves are such a tiny component of it all, when we go within we are just as vast. The universe without, and the universe within – The awareness of it’s immensity is almost too much for me to cognate sometimes. It feels like a scrambling of the brain, like it’s stretching my psyche above and beyond it’s own limitations, and I just have to remind myself to come back to my body, back to my breath, back to my heart beat….and just breathe. It’s all just so beautiful.
The next day we ventured up to Glacier Point, a panoramic point overlooking every little piece of Yosemite we had so intimately come to know the past week. I felt humbled – uplifted – tiny, and huge, and so very blessed. It leaves me feeling spun imagining how the graceful hand of nature can be so gentle yet so powerful, so simple yet so convoluted, weaving the intricacies of time and space and physics to create this wild, radical sanctuary that is our world.
We also hiked out to Taft Point, an ominous walk through a deep, dark, secluded forest where we ran across a black bear! Thankfully, it was at a downhill point so our stomp-run scared him away before we even realized he was there. So hilarious, these creatures … and apparently still trying to shed his winter blubber because he struggled, clumsily, to scatter away. Taft point is another panoramic balcony to stand upon and marvel at the valley below. We spent a good amount of time there, pretty isolated from what felt like everything except for what really mattered. Eventually we saw our blubbery friend scaling the next cliff over, which is astounding and hilarious how such an awkward, fumbling creature can so with such ease!
We also took a leisure stroll out to McGurk Meadows through a way cool forest, with white tree trunks and tree tops reaching so tall, a mecca for badass walking sticks, where we found new, way cooler hiking sticks about every couple minutes along the way. There were tiny little baby flowers of white scattered along the trail, and after a mile or two it opened up into a wide, green, luscious meadow. Part of me wanted to take off my shoes, string flowers in my hair, and run and dance and play around – It was that beautiful – But we made plans to catch the sunset so sadly my shoes stayed on my feet and we hiked on.
~ Kia Commercial ~
We arrived back in the valley in the twilight of the day and prepared for the sunset. We set up a couple chairs in the middle of a meadow, with half-dome perched high in our view, dominating the scene. Brad uncorked a bottle of wine, gave me an empty canvas, and unveiled a collection of paints and brushes for me to play with. We spent the evening painting the scene, spellbound (and a little intoxicated) by the enchantment of it all – As the sun’s glow collected across the face of half dome, a few deer came to graze in the meadow before us.. It was like something out of a dream. Don’t you love those moments in life where you find yourself in a place, unable to accept how utterly perfect it all seems? Our final sunset on Yosemite – an evening we will both treasure.
Okay, mushy romantic moment aside, the next day of our journey snapped us out of our intimate enamor and into a funky fun, wildly weird, west-coast-kinda-crazy mindset, and I discovered my favorite city of the whole trip! Ladies & Gentleman, next up is the beautifully foggy, chilly cool chaos of the strangest city of them all: San Francisco – The best city…EVER!!
Stay tuned. 🙂
xoxo, Tent Girl