Yosemite, I’ve decided, changes you.
Normally after camping for more than a few days, I am SO EXCITED to get back home, shower and scrub all the dirt off, eat something that didn’t come out of an ice chest, and sleep in a real bed with real pillows. On Sunday night, as I tried to scrub the dirt out from under my fingernails and realized how many mosquito bites my legs accumulated, I did so with just the slightest twinge of regret.
I didn’t want to wash Yosemite off.
I don’t think there are words to describe the absolute beautiful majesty that is Yosemite Valley and the entire park. I could just throw a bunch of John Muir quotes up here because he can certainly do it better than me. All I can say is that at one point, as we walked through Dana Meadows on our way to Mono Pass, I had to stop and almost started crying. Because it was so fucking beautiful and amazing and it was like some God-given gift that I was there. And guys? I don’t really do that. Ever.
I sit here now, typing away, trying to maintain posture on my stability ball, Giants game on TV, but a part of me is still wandering through that meadow. A part of me is wading ever so gently into the lake, spreading my arms wide and gazing up to the heavens. A part of me is silently watching a deer nibbling on grass, holding my breath when she pauses to look at me, to assess me, a curious intruder. A part of me is marveling at the sheer size of the granite mountains, realizing that 10,000 feet of altitude is nothing, really. A part of me is imagining pioneers trickling through the pass, weary and desperate after a Sierra summit, now welcomed into this little snippet of paradise as they realize they’ve made it, they’re home. A part of me is watching birds swoop and chipmunks dart, listening to nothing but the rushing water of the creek just out of sight and my footfalls on the well-worn trail.