Yosemite National Park

There are places in the world that sound more like a location for a blockbuster movie than an actual destination to visit on a Summer vacation. Yosemite National Park is one of those places.

But there we were and witnessed the glorious landscape!

We stayed at a boutique hotel in the small village of Mariposa. The place was straight out of a western. Because our gracious host/travel guide wanted to sleep in, Heikki and I ran around town early in the morning, looking at stuff. Pick up trucks, buildings made to look old-timey and an actual diner with a supercharged waitress shamelessly flirting at the guys and calling me darlin’. Mariposa is rich in hiking equipment/souvenir shops. We kept it simple, Heikki bought a hoodie, I think. Sunny gave us the mandatory fridge magnet bottle opener at Yosemite. We have one for every place we’ve visited abroad. I’ll tell you more about my trash tourism later.

You could see the mountains towering over Mariposa. In the United States you usually have to pay a fee to get into the National Park area and this was no exception. But you pay for a week and it’s only per car.

Driving up the mountains we passed a group of men fixing a giant netting along the mountainside. They put those up to prevent rock slides which can be extremely dangerous and show how time has corroded the scenery. The traffic in both ways is constant which is why there are a lot of restrictions in the Park. You can stay up to 7 nights per year within Park limits. You also need a permit for each overnight stay and if you want to go on an actual hike. Some parts are closed from time to time to make sure nature has enough time to heal itself from the wear and tear hikers leave behind. Due to the Californian drought, Yosemite has faced some serious problems over the past few years.

They try to decrease the amount of personal vehicle traffic by offering bus rides to the main attractions. And let me tell you, all the popular ones were packed with people and you needed to wait in line to get your photo opportunity. We also saw a bunch of “daredevils” climbing over fences to off-limit areas, balancing on the edge with a selfie stick. The feeling of contempt hit me later on, the view kept me distracted at the time.

It’s frustrating trying to explain how it felt. The experience was overwhelming and no picture or story does this place enough justice. The mountains, the ravines, I just lose my ability to write about them. Ask and comment, so I can elaborate!

I still get teary-eyed browsing these photos. Not just because it’s so far away. Not just because of the landscape. But because a certain family lives not too far away from the Park – a family that means so much to both of us.

//Anne

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