Day 18 and Day 20 - Yosemite National Park

Wow. I mean, just, WOW. Seeing Yosemite in photos was pretty amazing in itself, but to see it up close and personal was one of the most stunning experiences of my life.

Yosemite National Park is INCREDIBLE.

The first thing we saw was Bridalveil Falls.

Next thing we know, we drive up on El Capitan, a 3,000 foot tall granite monolith. Of course, it's famous, and you see it in all sorts of photographs, but seeing it in person is rather strange. It makes you feel very, very small.

My parents came to meet us in Yosemite, and so my Dad was driving us around, and my Mom was telling us all the amazing things to see.

We decided to drive up to Glacier Point, and on the way we stopped at Tunnel View. I was breathless, as I turned and saw what was before me. I almost couldn't believe my eyes. The scale of everything, combined with the stark beauty of grey granite mountains set against a soft blue sky... I grew even smaller.

(I actually ran into someone I know at this point in Yosemite. Brandin Phillips, who used to work at Tomo Japanese Restaurant with me, and his wife and two beautiful children. It's weird how the world is so big, yet I can still run into a familiar face.)

From here, we continued on to Glacier Point.

Was it possible that I could continue to feel even smaller than before? At the end of the day, I felt almost as if I shouldn't exist in this world. The world had done just fine without me and my species.

I was so grateful to look upon Half Dome, my favorite part of Yosemite that I had seen before, only in photos. Something about the enormity of it, in a world where everything was tiny in comparison. I just couldn't take my eyes off of her.

Driving back to camp in Mariposa, CA that day, we were all in high spirits. Finally being able to see the magic of Yosemite was more that I could have ever hoped for.


The next day I spent lounging at the pool with my parents at their bed and breakfast, The Restful Nest, in Mariposa. The Restful Nest is run by this very charming couple, Lois and Jean Pierre. Lois gets up at 5:00 AM every day and has breakfast served by 8:00 AM. She invited me for the following morning, and I went to sleep that night dreaming of eggs.

Day 20 - Sunday morning I woke up at headed to the Restful Nest for a delicious Mexican style spread. There was a nice couple from Ireland, and another lovely couple from Arizona (photographers!) along with us at the table. Lois first served us coffee, fruit and fresh baked banana and raspberry muffins. She cleared our first dishes and served pork in green chile sauce, barbequed pork, rice, beans, and an egg dish similar to Chilequiles. I was stuffed to the brim, and my brain was stuffed with the information gained from the friendly conversation. It was the perfect beginning to the rest of a perfect day.

I said my goodbyes, to The Restful Nest, and to my parents (sadly) and grabbed Chris to head back to Yosemite.

My parents had told us of a hike they had done the last time they were at Yosemite, up to the top of Vernal Falls, and Chris and I really wanted to do the same. The hike is 2.6 miles round trip, with an elevation gain of about 1,000 feet. May not sound bad to you fit, hard bodies out there, but I was under the impression that I probably wouldn't be able to make it the whole way.

But, off we went in search of Vernal Falls.

Halfway up, we get to this awesome footbridge:

I knew I had to get to the top, or I would never forgive myself. It was hard, and I had to stop quite a few times, but we made it higher and higher.

Holy SHIT. I couldn't stop my mouth from grinning.

Then we hit the granite staircase. By this time, I was totally pumped, and we kept going - to the very top.

It was so much fun, and I got such a sense of accomplishment. I was proud of myself for not giving up, and getting the amazing view as a reward!

Back down we went, all smiles, and ate the BEST bacon burgers ever.

Tune in next time for: Monterey, CA!