Taking a Gap Year through Yosemite

e758e76913fbd30aead4c0e4850c65b8.jpgEvery country in the world has its globally renowned wonders and its hidden gems. For every country around the globe, there are natural wonders that are entirely unique to that one place in the world. At each of these destinations, there is something wondrous to behold, something special that sets them apart from anywhere else. Australia has Uluru and the Great Barrier Reef. New Zealand has fjords and glacier-fed lakes. Vietnam is home to towering Oceanside cliffs that people can glide through on scooter or by car. The United States is home to the Grand Canyon, route 66, and national parks that are unparalleled in their beauty. One such national park that stands out as a crown jewel among the rest, its beauty amplified beyond reason, is Yellowstone’s Yosemite National Park. While all the national parks in America (and the world, for that matter) are beautiful in their own right, Yosemite holds on to the hearts of all who visit the stunning area. It leaves an imprint on every individual that is lucky enough to witness its granite peaks and picturesque scenery. While man has made its mark on the area by building hotels, restaurants, and stores in the area, its vast expanse means that the area feels virtually untouched as one wanders through the emerald trees, breathing in the crisp air. Yosemite National Park has become a bucket list moment for people all over the world, and is renowned for being one of the most beautiful places in the world to travel to.

When people first started to go to the area, visitors to the area were left so spellbound by the natural beauty of Yosemite that it became the first area to be preserved by the government for visitation and use by the public. In 1872 it became the first national park to be created at Yellowstone. It is little wonder that it was…the grandeur of the stunning peaks and valleys is so spectacular that the area is literally a screensaver on millions of people’s devices around the world, inspiring them to travel more, to reach for more, to expect more of the world around them. As time went on, the park became more popular, people began to talk about it more. When the internet virtually connected the entire planet, Yosemite began to soar in global popularity, simply because individuals that were never aware of it before were now suddenly seeing pictures and footage of the incredible place. Over 130 years old as a national park, Yosemite is entirely unique. Sculpted by monumental glaciers over three million years ago, Yosemite began to take form when the entire area – save for the highest peaks in Sierra Nevada – was cloaked in ice and snow.

Today, The stunning national park attracts over three million visitors annually, making it one of the most (if not the most) popular national parks in America. The park draws in travellers from all over the globe, and then it draws them in further. Spanning over 1,200 square miles, visitors could literally spend years exploring the stunning area and still not see it all. All in all, there are thirteen campgrounds inside the park, as well as hotels, gift shops, restaurants, a grocery store, hiking stores, and supply stores. Travellers should generally spend (at the very least) a few days exploring the dazzling beauty of the area, because a day trip will only just scratch the surface of what this incredible natural beauty has to offer. Yosemite is open to travellers year-round, although some trails and hiking sections are closed off in the colder months, rendered too dangerous or inaccessible by the weather.

Visitors can hike through the park in search of the enormous waterfalls set in amongst the granite cliffs and greenery, or they can come in the winter months and do a snowshoe hike (an important thing to note is that you must check the weather conditions before going throughout the year, as not doing so can prove to be a dangerous – sometimes deadly – mistake). For those that are particularly adventurous, they can literally climb the granite expanses – just be sure to be experienced or try to have a guide with you. There is also so many waterways, lakes, and waterfalls throughout the park that travellers can kayak through them, taking in the stunning views and the wildlife among the emerald greens and smooth granite finishes. Unfortunately, there is not a place to hire kayaks from currently, so you will have to bring your own kayaks with you (be sure to have a rack on the roof of your car for kayaks so that you can safely transport them to and from the park…no one likes an accident dampening their travels).

Yosemite National Park is a stunning expanse of granite mountains and cliffs, sparkling waterfalls, emerald trees, and creeks and waterways so perfect they look like shimming glass placed over the earth by the gods. There is nowhere in the world quite like Yosemite, and it has more than earnt the global recognition and adoration that it has amassed. Visitors can choose to camp or stay in hotels, and can bring their own kayaks to explore the waterways or opt for rock climbing the granite peaks. There is no shortage of ways to explore or things to do in Yosemite, but instead a curious promise that one could spend years upon years wandering through the national park, and still never see it in all its entirety. There is something wondrous about being somewhere that you will never fully comprehend…it feels almost mythic. Yosemite National Park is an unbelievable natural reality, and every traveller should aim to go there – even if it is only once. Yosemite is exactly the kind of place that inspires travellers to reach for more.


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