John Muir once said, “Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul alike.” Never have I believed that there was a national park out there to be so memorable and amazing as I have heard. However, as we ascended up the mountain, I looked out of the window to the left of our Dodge truck; I noticed deer jostling amongst the pines as if welcoming us into the park. Further up, we passed a clear blue lake surrounded by many trees and hills, looking serene and peaceful as it mirrored our every move. The beginning traces of snow were sprinkled around the lake and on the pines, providing a look of tranquility and hospitality. Then, just upon entering the royal national park, a wooden overhead read, “Welcome, to Yosemite National Park”.
My doubts of such a park to withhold as much beauty as I have heard were proved incorrect along our way to our housekeeping camp (http://www.yosemitefun.com/housekeeping_camp.htm). I looked around me and saw canyon walls surrounding us as if protecting us from the outside world. Then, in the distance was the beautiful, yet treacherous, Half Dome peak which towered over every mountain around us, claiming control over the park and its inhabitants (http://www.yosemitepark.com/). We were going to hike up to the top of that mountain. Yosemite National Park held a meaning within our family, my grandpa, Richard Elliott, spoke about the park’s vivacity and sense of homeliness when we were young. Though he is in a better place, I know he looked down on us chuckling as we were amazed by an indescribable beauty that surrounded us. Creeks curved and rivers trickled with ice cold water, deer and birds roamed free among meadows and trails, waterfalls sprayed a mist across open fields, and clouds billowed over us as the chilly breeze swept across our face. This was a different vacation, it held a meaning and sense of tradition that my grandpa planted in our family.
Nights were cold and chilly in our housekeeping camp, I wished we brought more blankets along but I loved the idea of being out in the woods like a survivor. However someone down the camp forgot to store their food into the storage container. A deep growl roared through the camp and heavy steps pounded on the ground. A black bear was in our campsite! Separated by only a curtain, we lay frozen in fear as the bear stepped on our camping equipment searching for food. Finally, after opening a few containers, it leaves. My dad and searched the wreckage and shined a flashlight down into a meadow, there appeared the bear in the distance seeming to be peacefully eating something that it discovered. That was the first time I have seen a bear in the wild! Our neighbors next to us just amazed as we were, came over and told comical stories of many bear encounters they had in Yosemite.
Throughout the week, in all our daily activities, such as sightseeing, bike riding, swimming, shopping, and hiking, I learned to appreciate Yosemite’s constant energy and respect the beauty it displayed. As I stood on top of half dome, looking down on the canyon, I realized that nothing in the world could withhold so much beauty and tranquility, but Yosemite National Park. Furthermore, I realized the true description that my grandpa tried to put in words and realized how much he contributed to our family by bringing us closer.
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