Yosemite is one of the most beautiful places on the planet. If you have ever been there then this statement is obvious. But what about those who have never been? I have been 21 times in the last two years and until my most recent trip I had never taken someone who had not been before. This time I took three. I knew they would love it, I mean who doesn't. What I never could have imagined was how much that love and enjoyment would show on their faces.
It was a 6 hour drive from Long Beach, California, where we go to school, to Glacier point, where I decided we should start our trip. Our arrival time was 1:30am, so the first thing they got to see was the stars on a clear, moonless night from 7500 feet above sea level. On our walk from the parking lot to the point, I thought they were all going to strain their necks or trip over a rock walking with heads cocked back, eyes looking straight up. Their minds were already blown. That night could not compare to the next morning however. Seeing the sun rise over Half Dome from Glacier Point on a cold clear morning is a spiritual event for anyone, no matter how many times they have seen it. But when its your first time, something is different. You almost go into shock. For me I could not believe anything could be so beautiful, and I couldn't believe I was lucky enough to be standing there watching it happen. I believe it was the same for my friends. They stood there in silence; motionless, watching Half Dome slide beneath the rays and listening as the heat and the light woke up the Sierra Nevada's. After it ended they all had the same response. "It's not real." Lucky for them, it's real enough to come back to, and I'm sure they all will.
The rest of the day was spent doing small hikes to Taft point and Bridalveil fall, eating lunch in the meadow, swimming in the river, and watching the sunset from the valley so we could see last light on Half Dome. Their expressions stayed the same throughout the day. Faces stuck in smiles, eyes straight up to the cliffs, and minds blown no matter which way they looked. I have been to Yosemite many times and I can assure you, the only thing better than going to Yosemite National Park is taking someone there for their first time.
Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.
Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph.