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My Top 3 Adventures in Yosemite National Park in 2016

A 2016 recap of my top three memories in Yosemite National Park...

By: James Poppe + Save to a List

"Anyone who has ventured into the prolific boulder gates and hiked the never-ending trails to roaring waterfalls collectively taller than skyscrapers will tell you how arduous it is to simplify their fondest memories of Yosemite into just three categories, nonetheless here are mine..."

Glacier Point overlooking Half Dome


Famous for it's unobstructed views of Half Dome and panoramic layout of Yosemite Falls, Glacier Point sits an incredible 3,214 ft. from the valley floor. The first time I experienced this breathtaking view I was having breakfast (or trying to), but was always taken back by the enormity and just sheer majesty of Half Dome and the valley below. Getting here took a 3 a.m. wake up call and an hour and a half drive from just outside the park; needless to say it was beyond worth it and to this day remains one of my all time favorite memories in Yosemite.

Winter fog in the valley


At twenty-two years of age it is quite uncommon for most people to not have seen snowfall hit the ground beneath them (quite frankly it's just embarrassing) . I remember driving in pitch black through the valley with a sense of caution and pure joy as I could make out the glistening white powder that rested outside my car door waiting to be touched and thrown, and momentarily that is exactly what happened. I pulled over tossing the emergency lights and throwing myself into this previously unknown "mystery powder". The result of this lack of self control produced not a single dry article of clothing and an unceasing shiver that lasted through the night. The next morning I woke up to an epic fog break of the valley and Yosemite Falls, not a terrible way to turn twenty-three if you ask me.

Last sunset of the season at Taft Point


It's cliche to say, but it's true when they say the most memorable experiences are the ones you never planned on making. Stumbling on a rusted trailhead sign it never occurred to me that I would be hiking to one of the most insane views of the entire park. As soon as you clear the tree line you approach a slanted plateau that with each step defies your conception of a jaw-dropping view. At the mountains edge just a little over 2.2 miles from the nearest road there's a piercing silence from which you swear the world itself stopped, combined with a chilling breeze and an afterglow beyond the outlying peaks creates a landscape that pictures will never do justice. After the sun escaped sight we made our way back to our car, headlamps and cell phones beaming through the pitch black. Driving an hour back to camp I couldn't help but think to myself, with a smile on my face, that wandering onto the trail was the best "mistake" I've ever made. 

What are your favorite memories/adventures in Yosemite comment below?

Be sure to say hello and follow along all of my outdoor adventures on Instagram @jamespoppe !

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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