We departed San Francisco the next morning to continue our journey into the unknown. The total unknown wilderness forest land of magic also known as Yosemite National Park. Yosemite is about 4 hours east of San Francisco and we actually cruised right along and made really good time. We passed through some quaint little towns along the way before the road started winding around in ways I didn’t even know were possible….Two of our closest friends recently experienced Yosemite in all its glory so we got a sneak peek into what were about to drive into… But even kindof sortof knowing what was ahead of us didn’t take away for what we were about to witness in full force.
Around and around we drove until BOOM. There they were … the Sierra Nevada’s just glistening in the sunshine. This view was worth a pit stop, so we just sat there for awhile staring out into the mountain range wondering what beautiful sight we would encounter next. At this point, we had not even entered the park yet, so my excitement was bubbling over! Twisting and turning around every curve of this mountain range was a remarkable experience. It was truly one scenic vista after another…and another… and another….
As we entered through the park gates, my mind was spinning in every which way because I really could not even handle all of the beauty the was around me. The trees felt alive and the air was so clean and crisp!!! The giant, ancient sequoias surrounded us and welcomed us with open arms! I could not even wrap my mind around how old they were and how much they have seen. I kept talking to the trees and thanking them for giving me the most perfect feeling. As I was totally distracted and looking around at all the beauty, we started driving through a tunnel…total darkness and then BOOM (again) there it was!!!!!!!!!!!! Tunnel View!!! I screamed. I cried. I could not even create words. The level of joy I was feeling at that very moment was indescribable. Andrew almost crashed the jeep (whoops…). It was just perfect. I was speechless. The only words I could say were “Everything makes sense”. Sometimes it takes certain moments in your life to put everything in perspective and this was mine. At that moment, my place and purpose were so clear. It was as simple as that…
After the shock wore off, we posted up right here on that wall (look above ^^) and ate some lunch. Andrew (physically….) had to pull me away from the this spot, because I just did not want to leave. It just felt to wrong to abandon all the beautifulness…He kept saying this is only the beginning… and he was right. It really was the beginning of something so fulfilling and good in every way possible.
After that intense moment…we continued to drive around and around the entire loop of the park trying to see every possible piece of this place. It was pretty amazing how you had access to so much beauty from just driving around. I would look to my left and see an insane waterfall, then to my right and HELLO the largest open land space I had ever seen. Note, most of my childhood I grew up on a golf course and farm land of 300 acres so I have witnessed lots of open space……. this wide space of glory was the most untouched nature I had ever experienced! It got to the point that we just abandoned our Jeep for awhile (sorry, we love you) and started running around waving our arms in the air!!! It was the perfect spot to facetime my parents and I was so happy they answered their phone because I felt like they shared in this moment with me!!! It was actually pretty miraculous how I even found any cell phone service in this abyss… I am still not really sure how that happened. However, I am a sole believer in destiny and fate so the gods must have aligned to give me reception so I could share this sight with my mama and papa! A really cool part about venturing into Yosemite was that we could totally disconnect and really connect with everything around us.
After we lopped the entire park, we decided to start locating our sleeping quarters. I had heard about this awesome little lodge village right outside the park called Evergreen Lodge so we booked our lodge about 2 months before our trip. So we knew it was there…. but where is there?? (You get me?) It was such a lovely hunt trying to located our lodge by simply using a map, each other and actual signs with arrows saying “this way”. As we were driving out of the park gates towards Evergreen Lodge we noticed an extreme amount of deforestation……It was heartbreaking to see so many beautiful trees which had been there for hundreds and thousands of years destroyed by fires resulting from the crazy drought this entire area was experiencing. It was pretty emotional to see this. Yes, I was crying again… this time not the good cry. Sometimes you hear about how bad something is but can’t relate so you push it out of your mind. At this moment, I related. With the trees. With the forest. With everything around me and it was so real at that moment how badly humans are destroying so much natural beauty all around us.
Evergreen Lodge welcomed us with so much love!! This campsite was the coolest place I had ever stayed not to mention the staff were extremely helpful in teaching us about all the secret gems of this sacred place. There were tons of little cabins of all sizes scattered throughout the trees and it was pretty freaking magical. Many of the staff were working at the lodge temporarily to reconnect with nature and get back to their inner core, which I could totally relate to. If anyone knows how a crazy outside world can effect you, its me. Living in New York City is a pretty crazy lifestyle with always having to have your guard up. It felt so good to totally release and trust everything and everyone around you. Just trusting the moment and being present. It was really inspiring to see people doing exactly this. It made our stay just a little extra special.
After such an emotional day (on my part.. Andrew was just fine running around like a little boy), we gathered by the fire to decompress on everything we had just experienced. Our cabin had a porch facing the forest, so we relaxed and gazed out into everything. A little later in the evening, we decided to explore around the campsite and discovered tons of games, like ping pong and bocce and an amazing swimming pool. We truly enjoyed this. There were lots of families and people around the lodge, so it was great to mingle with other nature lovers and all share in the same awesome experience together.
The next morning was pretty much the best day of my life thus far. Waking up to the sound of all the birds and wildlife just wandering by us in their natural habitat was pretty unreal. It really was like a dream…the most fantastic dream ever. We started our day with some strong coffee and breakfast, packed up our backpacks and ventured back into the park to explore Mirror Lake. We hiked the 5 mile loop around Mirror Lake which took us about 3 hours. It was a super moderate hike and perfect for our level of hiking. The reflection of the Half Dome glistening on the lake was more beautiful then any picture could capture!!
After our day of adventuring around the most beautiful piece of nature I have ever seen, we made our way back to our cabin to catch the sunset. Our cabin had a “sunset outlook deck” which was placed so perfectly to enjoy this. It was amazing how quiet the cabins were at this time of day. Everyone was winding down from their adventures and getting ready for the next sunrise. Sadly, we only had two nights in this wilderness wonderland…so the next morning we packed up the jeep and were back on the road again. Our next stop was truly unknown. All we knew is that we wanted to drive straight west and connect with the Pacific Coast Highway at some point but what we encountered next took my breath away, again!!!