Monday, June 24, 2013

Kicking off Summer Right: Yosemite National Park

If you know me, there are two words that are not often used to describe me: spontaneous and outdoorsy.

I wouldn't say they are never used, but definitely not often.
However, in recent years, I've tried to be a bit more of both.

Friday, I earned those adjectives.

So when, my fun, adventurous and extremely outdoorsy friend Wendy invited me to take a day trip with her to Yosemite National Park, I was VERY tempted to make it happen.
She even sent me Facebook messages with pictures Half Dome calling my name.

I knew I had to go.
So I scrambled to get as much work done as possible, so I could take Friday off.
God is good, and made a miracle happen.

So at 6:30am, on the first day of Summer, and longest day of the year, Wendy picked me up for the 3 1/2 hour drive into Yosemite.

We had a great time catching up, chatting, enjoying the drive, and eventually listening to a book on CD. (Oh yes, we did).

Soon enough we were driving into the ranger station at Yosemite, where Wendy is a passholder (oh, hey now) and then it was about a half hour drive into the valley. We were talking, and as we rounded one of the bends, I literally gasped, as Half Dome and El Cap snuck up on me, towering in the distance.
It was spectacular.

Wendy was thrilled to see that, despite the peak season, it wasn't as crowded as she had expected. We were able to find parking easily, and set off on foot!

Our first stop, was hiking to the top of Vernal Falls. I was super excited about this, as I had gone one time w/ a summer camp in Jr High, and had a slightly odd experience here as well - which is another story for another time. It was really good to do this again, and enjoy it.

I just want to say, this pic of us is my favorite picture of the day, but then I love them all. But really, this is a framer.

But then, I mean, look at these...

Thankfully Wendy is one of the most patient friends I know, and didn't complain ONCE about my slow pace. By the top my legs were shaking pretty good from all the muscles getting used, but it was totally and completely worth it.

It's not exactly Half Dome, but it was my Half Dome, and getting to the top was a real victory.
 I was so happy. 

After a few snacks, and shooing squirrels out of my backpack, we made our descent, back to the valley floor where we had more exploring to do.

And on our way down, the most exciting thing of my life happened. (Slight over-exaggeration, but just slight).
We saw a bear.
In nature.
Like, the real deal.

Two separate kids who passed us were asking their parents questions about bears, which seemed weird to me. And then I saw a crowd up ahead. I knew we were in for a treat. Just below us, was cute little bear, eating something. He was very occupied with whatever it was and could care less about the visitors above spying on him.

Bear & bear hat!

We hiked from the base of Vernal Falls to Mirror Lake. The sign said one mile. And then about one mile later the sign said one mile again. I'm pretty sure whoever made those signs is a LIAR.
However, it was almost completely flat, and in the shade of the trees, so aside from the horse poop along the trail, it was actually rather enjoyable.

We took off our shoes and crossed the lake on foot, and enjoyed our lunch right underneath Half Dome.

I mean, it doesn't get much better than that.

Wendy had taken a dip in the lake - like I said, she's the adventurous one.
And laid out to dry and read a book.

While I sat in the shade and took selfies with and panoramas of H-Dizzle.

After our break, we headed back towards the middle of the valley, and on our way to the shuttle bus, we saw another bear! He was a little guy, crossing the street. I didn't get a pic, but I was seriously going to keel over with happiness. Once on the shuttle, we passed a huge buck with velvet antlers grazing in the valley! Again with the overflow of happy!

I had told Wendy I really wanted pictures of Halfy from the valley, so she made sure we made that happen.

Photography dreams coming true right here.

And we strolled around a bit more, and found ourselves a nice shady spot along the river, right in line with the view of Yosemite Falls. (Someday I will get to the top of that...maybe.)

And eventually it was time to pack up. We headed back to the car, and saw another buck, and then a doe.

And as we cruised out of the valley, we got up close and personal with Yosemite Falls.

And finally, El Capitan.
I craned my neck out the window, and I might have been gasping and wowing the whole time. It was a majestic, granite wonder.

As we spent the day in the shadows and coolness of the create, I envisioned the way the Lord pieced together this masterpiece. How he likely moved glaciers to cut through the granite, how he placed rainbows under waterfalls, reminding us of the flood that once filled even this place, and his promise not to do so again.

My heart sang and cried out for the creator, for the day when we will finally sit and dwell in the shadow of the Almighty.

Yosemite is great, but heaven, it's going to be something else. I can't wait. 

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. (Psalm 91:1, ESV)


  1. 1. CUTE pigtails.
    2. AWESOME photos!
    3. "It's not exactly Half Dome, but it was my Half Dome, and getting to the top was a real victory." - Best.

  2. so beautiful!
    and it is not silly at all! bear = totally way cool. crazy cool.

  3. kim! this is so cool!!
    the "captain" looks great.
    i'm so proud of you for going, i could never.
    what an awesome day.

  4. I am sooo jealous you got to spend Summer Solstice in Yosemite. Let's make THAT an annual tradition, shall we?

  5. I love that you did this! Yosemite is on the top of my to-see list (I feel like I've already told you this! ;))

  6. First, I have to tell you that as I was driving through Oakdale on Sunday (visiting friends), I told my girls that Cuppakim was just in Oakdale driving through from Yosemite... AND BOTH EMILIE AND JOSIE SHOUTED "Cuppakin was in Yosemite!?? WHY DIDN'T SHE STAY WITH US!!!??" Then each went on to say how they like you. Obviously, they read pieces of your blog, and I talk about you a bit.
    So, now you know that all the Jones girls want you to come for a visit.

    And now, Yosemite is BEAUTIFUL, and it gets more magnificent every time I'm there. I have not yet seen a bear there... I've seen a few bears in Bass Lake, which have caused this mama bear to totally FREAK OUT!

  7. someday i will join you there! super lovely.
    and you're a beautiful lady. braids are my fave.


  8. I love Yosemite! I've never taken the kids there, but I hope to this summer. I haven't been there in over 10 years!

    You handled the sight of a bear very calmly. I think I would freaked out! Weren't you worry about the bear getting mad and attacking?