Sometimes, getting into a car with a group of strangers will be one of the greatest things you’ll ever do. *(you will have to use your own judgement on that though, I accept no responsibility for any choices you might make following this post.)
A few months ago, while planning my trip to the States for the HECK YEAH PHOTO CAMP, this wonderful person called April posted something about a pre-camp road trip in the HYPC-Facebook group. It sounded like fun, so I decided “why not? I’m going all the way to the States anyway, might as well see some nature!”. Fast forward to a few short months later, and there I was, getting out of my comfort zone (I hate that place to be quite honest) and into a car at Fresno International Airport with three strangers (otherwise known as April, Jen and Katy), heading out to our first stop, Yosemite National Park. After the first few polite pleasantries, we quickly came to find that sharing such close quarters for the next few days meant breaking down those boundaries real fast and just getting to the raw, unadulterated core of true friendship. The memory of a sudden chorus of cursing, before stopping and jumping out to take pictures (in the rain, I might add) because everything is ‘just so dang beautiful’ (censored), will stay with me always. We saw epic misty mountains, SO MUCH GRANITE, and plenty of snowy vistas. We also met up with the legendary Trevor Lee for some intense exploring, picture taking, and some pretty incredible life-talks. Road tripping with three beautiful women/photographers also means plenty of model photo-ops, so there will be the occasional image of a fine face amongst the grandness of nature.
Yosemite in itself was a pretty spectacular experience. I might even go so far as to call it profoundly spiritual. What tends to often happen in a place of this scale, is that you are reminded how small you truly are, and how clearly you relearn to decipher the meaningful from the meaningless. One of my favourite quotes by John Muir (whose writings on this fine place, is something I’d say has rather a LOT of meaning), from his book ‘My Summer in the Sierra’, reads as follows: “We are in the mountains and they are in us, kindling enthusiasm, making every nerve quiver, filling every pore and cell of us. Our flesh-and-bone tabernacle seems transparent as glass to the beauty about us, as if truly an inseparable part of it, thrilling with the air and trees, streams and rocks, in the waves of the sun, –a part of all nature, neither old nor young, sick nor well, but immortal.” And standing there in Yosemite National Park, somewhere ‘utterly and profoundly indifferent to me’ (Thanks Cheryl Strayed for those golden words), next to the John Muir Tree no less, there was a moment or two in which I truly did feel immortal.
I would definitely recommend adding it to your ‘must-see list’. (Just remember to take waterproof shoes if you’re visiting in winter, I learnt that the hard way.) The next leg of our epic road trip will follow soon.
Suggested listening: Woods – Bon Iver (as loud as possible)
*(Note: The link opens up Youtube in either a new tab or window, depending on your settings, so open it up, come back and enjoy an audio-visual experience of grand proportions.)