California Weekend Trips: Nature, Interrupted
Daily Origami is a way for us to record our off the cuff thoughts, feelings and observations about the world around us. Published every weekday, Monday through Friday.
LOS ANGELES > SAN FRANCISCO > YOSEMITE
Last weekend, Ivan and I headed up to Yosemite with two of our oldest and closest friends. We thought it might be meaningful to share moments with you that were important to us this week. Traveling isn’t about the end destination, but about the journey and moments you experience along the way.
This will be a five part series to share moments from our weekend trip to
Yosemite from Los Angeles. Check out Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 here.
We spent a lot of time in crowds or traffic at Yosemite. It took us close to one hour to go less than 1 mile to entrance of the park, and that was considered “light traffic” by the forest rangers during this summer/fall season. In fact, half of our time in Yosemite was spent driving around in our car to get to different points / hikes.
There were only three real takeaways that I had from the entire Yosemite trip:
1. Yosemite National Park has a Grocery Store
When we finally got into the park and paid our $30 (per car) entrance fee, we trekked over to Yosemite Valley, parked our car, and walked into a grocery store. Look, I’ll admit, I don’t know much about Yosemite National Park but, what the fuck? How could there be a huge grocery store with prepared hot foods, fresh produce, and brand name snacks? What happened to being one with nature?
When everything is so carefully labeled and curated, is it worth it anymore? How is it any different from a metropolitan city?
2. Crowds at Yosemite National Park...kind of ruined the experience.
I felt a little suffocated by the whole experience. I wasn’t sure if it was the smoky air from the nearby wildfires or the sheer amount of people at the park.
I suppose it should have been a red flag for me. There were so many people around. I had hoped that with the wildfires happening intensely all around Yosemite National Park, that it would have deterred many people from coming out to the area. Although it’s great that huge portions of the park are accessible, I think it’s also a downside of tourism. Traveling is great and it can help broaden your horizons but when too many people come together in one area, it just spoils the experience - especially when one wants to “commune” with nature.
3. I’m out of shape and the waterfalls weren’t gushing.
Our reality versus expectations.
We had time for one hiking trail so we did a portion of the Upper Yosemite Fall. It was a strenuous hike upwards, with a steep elevation gain of 3,323 feet. It was painful. And when we got to the base of the waterfall...it was underwhelming. Was it worth it? No, because in the end, I descended so quickly that I got sick and ended up throwing up that evening.
On the way to be one of the falls, you get a fantastic view of the famous Yosemite Half Dome.
In the end, my favorite moment at Yosemite was when we went stargazing at night - it was quiet and no one was around when we went to a viewpoint 45 minutes from our campsite.
In the end, I felt conflicted because I didn’t think I gave Yosemite a fair shake. However, this time around, I wished we had actually stayed at Bass Lake, because at least it felt personal and private. It may have been less "popular", but at least there were no interruptions there.
Anyway, so that was Yosemite. A bit of an anti-climax. Kind of like this ending.