I woke up shivering. The scent of freshly fallen rain, coupled with the essence of nature’s brewery at work captivated my senses; however it was the chilly air and the puffs of breath in front of me that dominated my attention. I looked around, and saw small puddles of water on the floor, and noticed condensed droplets of water along the inside walls of my tent. I quickly wiped the damp walls down with a napkin, and slipped into my muddy shoes.
I stepped outside, and let the aroma of the forest envelope me. All around me was tall trees that told stories of its experiences thousands of years in the past. I looked up, and saw Half Dome looming over our campsite like a maternal guardian. The adventures I had at Yosemite Valley can never compare to anything I have ever experienced.
Fourty-four classmates and I, along with two teachers, embarked on our trip to Yosemite, unsure of what to expect. Throughout my five-day stay I managed to defy the odds. I conquered dangerous heights, hiking up to Nevada Falls, I ran errands through the snow, and attempted to dry my soaked clothes and tent (thanks to the horrendous rain!).
While this bipolar weather pattern aggravated my classmates and prompted them to whine and groan about going home, I managed to suck it up. This trip was for acknowledging all aspects of nature – for recognizing the beauty that Yosemite had to offer. I embraced the rain, the snow, the cold. After a while my entire class managed to do the same. Our week at Yosemite became a bonding experience. We learned how to figuratively defy gravity. We became a close knit group of family, as we worked together to conquer these adversities. We learned how to be conscientious, independent adults as we took turns preparing our group meals, taking responsibility for our actions. Through this experience I became aware of the universal beauty of Yosemite. I became open minded to what true beauty really is – embracing something even at its worst, and learned something about our earth and the mysterious, ethereal quality of our universe.
All in all, Yosemite was not just a trip. It was a chapter in my life. Although it lasted only 5 days, I came back, stronger, intellectual, perceptive, and wiser. And that, is the Spirit of Yosemite.
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