There has been a lot of build up to this leg of our trip since it involves seeing El Capitan. Our kids have watched the documentaries called the Dawn Wall and Free Solo featuring this area and they are pretty well hooked on climbing. Yosemite creates a space of inspiration, particularly since we learned a 10 year old just climbed El Cap as the youngest climber a couple of weeks ago. The greatest surprise in Yosemite for me, however, is the sweeping views of waterfalls. It seems at every turn, particularly coming out of tunnel view, you are hit with the most breathtaking expanse of rock and water that come together in perfection. Once you see the view, you can walk up to experience it and feel the water wash over you.
It was the perfect cleansing to my soul and I could have sat under Bridalveil Falls forever. For my family, El Cap was the crown jewel and we spent two days walking the base of the towering rock and climbing the nearby boulders.
Everyone wanted to feel bold on the rocks. I felt a deep respect. Scaling these monoliths are dangerous at best, but there is something inspiring to think about making it to the top or getting over the ledge. There is teamwork and encouragement. There is gravity and nature at work too.
For us, it’s about being together, whatever the challenge, and taking in the views together.
We spent a lot of time in Yosemite walking and climbing (and admittedly I spent a lot of time driving the parking lots to find a spot, because yes, it’s very crowded). There is no shortage of sights and it’s a park that feels perfectly on display.
However, with all of the water, it’s not forgotten that this park suffered in a mighty way last year due to a forest fire. The drive to Yosemite Valley is a clear reminder of what fire and heat can do and again, a deep respect sets in for how we take care of ourselves and our outdoors.
It is also a glorious display of resilience to know so much can survive after a fire and how new growth can begin (photo taken at Kings Canyon National Park). For today, we’ll savor the sweetness of what fire can also bring to a moment.