I love all of the National Parks, and Yosemite is without a doubt one of the most well known, however until I watched the Ken Burns documentary 'The National Parks: America's Best Idea', I honestly didn't know much of anything about Yosemite. Everyone knows what the Grand Canyon looks like, and Old Faithful at Yellowstone, but for whatever reason I couldn't picture Yosemite very well, aside from maybe that view of Half Dome that you always see. So even though Yosemite was one of our assumed stops (our plans tend to change and leaving everything sort of open ended is our favorite way to travel), I really didn't know what to expect.
Yosemite really isn't that far of a drive from San Francisco. The drive was rough though. We were both tired and all I really wanted was to find a rest stop that we could sleep at for a few hours. That's not asking too much is it? Well apparently it is because there are seriously zero rest stops within a hundred miles of Yosemite. We drove up a winding mountain road for what felt like hours before giving up and turning around to head back into the small town we had passed at the bottom of the mountain. Shortly after I turned around and started heading back down the mountain, I stopped at a turn out to get something out of the back of the car. When I got out I looked up and saw the night sky like I had never seen it before. It was honestly like seeing stars for the first time. I had no idea that you could see so much with the naked eye. I just stared up in amazement. There were so many and they all felt so close and so bright. The ribbon of Milky Way streaking across the sky. It was humbling.
I called Kaylah to come out of the car and see it. We stood and studied the stars for a moment and then pulled out the cameras and tripods to see if we could capture it. The photos do no justice at all. I guess it's just something that you have to experience for yourself. Hard to believe that at one time the sky looked like this all over. No wonder why ancient civilizations were so fascinated with astronomy.
After a rough nights sleep in the parking lot of an H&R Block, we picked up some caffeine and snacks that we called breakfast, and then headed back up the mountain and into the park.
Even before making it all the way into the park, Yosemite had won me over. I became lost in it.
There are so many waterfalls.
There are certain places that tug on my heartstrings. Places that I feel an unexplained connection to. Places that fill me with a sense of peace and homecoming. I don't know what it is about Yosemite that makes me feel this way. Maybe it's some primal desire to return to nature. Whatever it is, I'm ready to go back.