Category

environment

Category

yosemite, a temple of beauty

This picture above is probably my favorite scenic shot from Yosemite. I was trying to capture the misty essence of the weather that day, and I feel that this picture not only captured that, but also the booming greenery and the fiercely strong wind that got me back in the car seconds after taking the picture.

I had the wonderful opportunity visit Yosemite with my dad a few weeks ago. Spring was just coming to an end, and the weather seemed ideal for an outdoors trip. Having never been to Yosemite before, I had a very vague idea of what to expect. I knew there would be nature and hiking, and that’s pretty much all. We stayed at Mariposa, a town just on the outskirts of the heart of Yosemite, and drove to Yosemite early in the mornings.

We visited Yosemite for two full days, and got to see the polar opposites of the weather in this short time. The first day had a beautiful weather – it was bright and sunny all day. As we drove into Yosemite, we had to make several stops because the scenery was just too mesmerizing to not stop and gaze at it.

The weather was also hot (but not unbearably so), especially when we were hiking to the top of the Yosemite Falls and the sun was directly above us – but the view, the view was absolutely breathtaking the higher we went up.

The Upper Yosemite Falls Trail is hands down the most difficult hike I have ever done. It took us six hours to complete the hike – taking into account the multiple pit stops that we had to make along the way and the nearly one hour lunch break that we had at the top of the trail. The hike going up was hard because it was mostly walking up an eternally long and rocky hill; the trail going down was just as hard as it was both rocky and slippery, and I did not have hiking shoes so I had to be extra careful. Thank god my dad was there for me to lean on whenever the path got too slippery.

We were so proud and happy when we got to the top. But when we got back down, it was almost like we couldn’t remember how to walk like normal people anymore. We spent the rest of the day replenishing our bodies with good food, resting, and doing some light walking.

The next day was so unexpectedly gloomy and cloudy. My dad and I were pretty beat from the 6-hour hike the day before, so we did not do any massive hiking, and instead went to some places that only required some walking. This also meant that we had to drive around Yosemite a lot, and man, it was hard to see the road with the clouds and mist blocking our view.

We could barely see the beautiful scenery hiding behind the clouds too, *sigh*.

But there were moments in which the mist would subside and we would get glimpses of the untainted nature behind it. It wasn’t summer weather yet, so part of nature was still transitioning into the incoming season, which made the view even more colorful and mesmerizing.

At times when we were walking, we would stumble upon the creatures of this beautiful temple. I wasn’t sure how to approach them (and I didn’t), so I just zoomed in on my camera and captured them in their natural habitat.

One of the best things about this trip to Yosemite was that it felt like we had stepped into another world – literally. Everywhere I looked seemed like a painting that was too beautiful to be real. I would then look around me, and see everyone else gazing at the beautiful scenery, and realize that only nature has the power to create such a flawlessly beautiful landscape. Though Yosemite has been somewhat urbanized to allow for tourist visits, it is still highly a temple of nature. Walking around with my dad and occasionally passing by other people gave me the sense of comfort of being alone, but not lost, in the deep wonders of nature.

Compared with the intense purity and cordiality and beauty of Nature, the most delicate refinements and cultures of civilization are gross barbarisms.

Thank you, John Muir.

-Michelle

blissful morning walks

I love when the sun rises early in the morning, and sets late at night, making the days seem longer and fuller. I enjoy walking out of my building and being greeted by the sunlight, even when it sometimes greets me too fiercely. I particularly relish my weekend morning walks around other parts of the neighborhood that I don’t normally pass by during the week. I love how the college dorms here are not inside campus, but rather in the areas surrounding it; it gives me the freedom to explore other parts of this town-like place, and it allows me to take these blissful morning walks. I am someone who believes in enjoying the small things in life, especially when nature is part of it. Taking a walk is the simplest way to wind down from the frenzy of life that surrounds us each day.

Taking a walk means challenging life’s demands. When I find that I’m overwhelmed by the demands of life, I make a conscious effort to walk in the places where nature is my surrounding company. It reminds me that I can choose to either rush my day to get as many things done as possible, or do a few things with thoughtful consideration without overstimulating myself. The world won’t end regardless of how much I squeeze into one day, so I might as well choose to spend it in the best way possible for me.

Taking a walk means doing something for yourself. By yourself. We easily spend so much time stimulating our senses artificially  that we deprive us of true alone time. We listen to music on our phones whilst we type away on our laptops, we watch videos or read articles online when we’re bored, we text people while we walk. Whenever we’re not interacting with others one-on-one, we fill our voids with the immediate stimulation that our devices can offer. But when we do this, we lose being in the company of ourselves. Taking a walk means listening to your footsteps, looking at the path in front of you, and noticing the details that surrounds you. Though I often feel like distracting myself with a good movie or burying my head in a book, it’s good to ground oneself back to reality at the end of the day.

Taking a walk means noticing our surroundings with a childlike curiosity. There are increasingly more places to see, cities to travel, and adventures to have. It’s always fascinating to go on a roadtrip adventure or visit an exotic place, as it’s literally an escape from our more mundane reality. It’s fun and important to travel somewhere where the culture and reality is different to that of your own, as it’s a valuable experience in itself. But it’s also important to remember that the things that surround us every day can be just as special. You don’t need to travel long distances to find novelty; you can find it exactly where you are right now, if you choose to do so.

I believe that it’s important to accept this before you decide to go out and explore more. It’s important to accept this because only then can you see everything that surrounds you with curiosity, not just the grand exotic places. It’s important to appreciate the richness in all the big and small things.

So, take a walk around your area, but take a different path this time. What story are behind the homes that you see? How do you feel, walking along a calm residential area as opposed to a busy city street? What sounds do you hear – are they human, animal or nature sounds? Welcome any thoughts that come into your mind as you walk along.

-Michelle