On Thursday morning, we woke up around 6 to prepare for the drive to Yosemite National Park. To be honest, I had no idea that Yosemite was in California. As someone who is outdoorsy and prefers to know as much about everything as possible, I was embarrassed by this. Regardless, we took off bright and early, with many a Korean pastry and snack in tow.
After several hours of driving, we were out nicely into the desert, with nary a soul to be seen. We stopped quickly at McDonalds for some lunch and grabbed some gas, and hit the road again. A few hours later, we finally arrived at the place where we would be staying. It reminded me quite a bit of summer camp, with hordes of cabins scattered across the slope of a chunk of mountain. At the bottom of the slope, very near where we stayed, there was a large, pleasant lake.
The cabin was pretty awesome. I wouldn’t mind owning one like it someday. It was two stories, with a bedroom downstairs and a kitchen/living room upstairs with a deck, Over the kitchen was a loft, accessible by ladder. In essence, a perfect mountain getaway.
Once we were unpacked and our food was refrigerated, we took the 20 minute drive to Yosemite. One ignored phone call from my boss later, we were cruising up, down, and around the mountains of the park. Along the way, we made three stops. First, we stopped to take a short walk up to a huge waterfall. Then, we took a stroll across a river and through a meadow to get a nice view of another waterfall. Finally, we took a hike through the woods that led to…a waterfall. The good news is that waterfalls are really, really cool, and I don’t get sick of them.
It was during this stroll through the woods that I got my initial, overwhelming desire to find an identical location (sans tourists) to build myself a cabin. I can literally think of no place better than amongst the tall pine trees, with a river running by the window, and a waterfall just visible over the tree line.
I would even be willing to build it by hand, chopping down the trees myself. In fact, I think I would prefer it that way. If only I could have that and a beach house at the Jersey Shore, my life would be complete. Also some watermelon, tomato juice, and tacos.
That evening, Jenny’s mom made the best KBBQ pork I’ve ever had, which we ate over the little coffee table in the cabin. After a shared bottle of champagne, we all retired for another busy day in Yosemite. The following morning, we ate a quick breakfast of toast and packed up the car. We took a spectacular (really, really spectacular) tour of the giant Sequoias in the park and then went to a very popular waterfall hike.
The trail for the hike wasn’t that long, but it was steep and rather treacherous, so Jenny and I parted ways with her parents to complete the hike. As I’ve mentioned repeatedly, temperatures in California fluctuate nicely based on elevation and time of day, mainly due to the lack of humidity. It was for this reason that we were half frozen about halfway up the mist trail. Completely drenched in cold mist from the waterfall and on the shady side of the mountain, things got chilly quickly. Thankfully, the trail ended at a sunny stretch of rocks beside the top of the waterfall; the perfect place to lay down, warm up, and dry out.
Since we had a very long drive back home ahead of us, we hiked back down quickly, changed in the car, and made our way towards the exit of the park. Not wanting to miss any parts of the park, we elected to leave on the opposite side of the mountains. This gave us the chance to drive up along the crest and down the other side.
Throughout the drive, we made a number of stops to take in the awe inspiring views from the mountain. We came across a wide lookout, where you could see Half-Dome in the distance.
We stumbled upon another big lake, hidden between two mountains and a swatch of trees.
We drove through places that still had some healthy mounds of snow.
We wrote paragraphs that were hard to follow because too many pictures we inserted. Finally, we exited the park and began the drive back through the desert.
Of all the places I’ve been in the US, and the world for that matter, Yosemite is definitely one of, if not the most beautiful. The shear diversity of the park is just amazing. Even throughout the small portions of two days that we spent there, we passed through wide meadows with deer running in them, over insanely huge stony mountains, amongst the world’s largest trees, past magnificent lakes in the middle of forests, and saw an astounding number of waterfalls. As much as I love the Adirondacks (especially because the lakes and mountains make me think of Hogwarts), I think Yosemite is the superior wilderness, if not on scale alone.
After dinner at the world’s most standard American restaurant, I took over driving for the remaining 4 hours. Jenny and her parent’s slept on and off throughout the drive. For the last hour of so, Jenny’s dad and I discussed businesses. The conversation managed to bolster my already monumental desire to start a business.
It was quite late by the time we got back, so we all just showered and passed out. It was important for us to get plenty of rest, because the next day would be our last day in Cali. Although it would be our least eventful day, I will save a description for the finale. This post is way too long. Have a good weekend! (Yeah, I wrote this on Friday, but didn’t have time to add pictures until today. We’ll all get over it together).