Few things in life these days are capable of living up to the heaps of expectation and hype we place on them. The Super Bowl is rarely worth watching, dessert is always a bad idea, and The Force Awakens was actually just a cheap rip-off of A New Hope with fancier explosions and worse acting.
So, imagine my amazement when nearly 34 years of expectation and hype were not only met, but crushed to smithereens by a 2500 feet of svelte granite emerging quietly from a sunny, yellow meadow.
Yosemite, you are the real deal.
It’s hard to believe it’s taken me this long to visit such a place when I’ve never lived more than a two day drive away from it. Perhaps there was never a good enough reason. Perhaps I had too many other things going on.
Perhaps I was scared that experiencing one of America’s most treasured landmarks for myself would leave me in disappointment, effectively removing all hope for future adventures I’d laced with such a heavy burden of not being good enough.
Consider me relieved.
I don’t throw around the word ‘breathtaking’ like I’m John Elway or something (he throws a lot of things), so using it to describe my short time exploring the Yosemite Valley floor should be taken with the highest praise.
We didn’t scale El Capitan or trudge up the daunting and dramatic Half Dome. We didn’t trek to Tuolumne Meadow or even ride what I’m pretty sure were mules around the Village. We did, however, spend the better part of a day crawling our way around the Valley Loop, taking in any and every morsel of ‘breathtaking’ view we could. And now we are full, fatigued, and enjoying a quiet moment from the confines of our newly minted camper van.
And while I’m not exactly looking forward to spending another sub-freezing night high in the isolated Tamarack Flat, I’ll never forget experiencing a place that is absolutely impossible to oversell.
Thanks for the memories, and thanks for returning the hope I lost when Ned Stark lost his head. Yes, Yosemite is that good. Stop giving excuses and make your next road trip one you’ll be telling your grandkids about.
And leave the hype at the front gate.