You really have to see it to believe it. I’m sorry but it’s true – my pictures may look good, but just wait until you see it in person!
The first place in the United States to be granted preservation and protection, Yosemite National Park is famous for its striking rock formations and giant sequoia trees. Many a tourist will just snap a few photos of these iconic landmarks and then kick back with a beer or coffee but I came here wanting to get lost.
I did a day trip from the mighty San Francisco which is 4 hours away by bus. On arrival in Yosemite we were dropped off at one of the main viewpoints where we were greeted by a spectacular view of El Capitan and the rest of the valley.
The coach then took us to a few more spots for information and views before dropping us off in the valley floor where we were free to explore. While everyone else milled around the information centre, went for a drink or started taking photos of the nearest tree/rock, I immediately went in search of the least trodden path I could find.
The least trodden path soon turned into an even lesser trodden path which led me scrambling through dense undergrowth and eventually hopping from rock to rock to navigate a stream. All by myself. Alone with nature in the middle of the great Yosemite National Park. Perfect.
I spent the rest of the afternoon wandering around in the wilderness, admiring the sheer beauty of the place and enjoying the peace and quiet. It’s not often I get mesmerised by somewhere but this was definitely one of those places. However, the key point here is…I got out there and went looking for it, looking for the beauty, searching for the wilderness, wanting to get lost. If I’d stuck around with all the other tourists then none of this would’ve happened. I wouldn’t have seen all that I saw, I wouldn’t have enjoyed myself half as much as I did, and therefore I wouldn’t be here writing this glowing report! So there you have it; it pays to get out there and be different people!
Towards the end of the day I went in search of a place called Mirror Lake. Apparently it was a sight to behold – the reflection of a huge granite rock face (called Half Dome) shimmering in the waters of the lake like, well, a mirror. I hiked for a good 30 mins to witness this…except it didn’t exist.
I checked someone else’s map and I was definitely in the right place yet there was no water to be seen. I figured it was due to the time of year – I was here at the end of summer so guess there must’ve been a pretty long dry spell for the lake to completely evaporate!
There’s more moisture on my head than in that lake!
All in all an awesome day trip – something which I would definitely recommend to anyone staying in San Francisco. However, saying that, there was one biiiiig issue. The issue was that I couldn’t spend more time in the heart of Yosemite – staying overnight and maybe doing some camping would’ve let me explore even further and at a more relaxed pace. So that’s why Yosemite is on my list of places to go back to, and next time I’ll be sure to visit when there’s water in Mirror Lake!