What do a Scottish road, a glacier and a national park all have in common?

“The world’s big and I want to have a good look at it before it gets dark.”

John Muir

There are a few places in the world where the phrase “pictures don’t do it justice” really apply.  The Grand Canyon, Hawaii and Yosemite National Park are my top three.  I had heard how beautiful Yosemite was but had no idea until we entered the park and saw….well….pretty much what you see in this picture.  Except, this really doesn’t do it justice.  You have to go there to really get it.

John Muir got it.  He is widely considered America’s most famous naturalist.  He is credited for founding Yosemite National Park, as well as Grand Canyon, King’s Canyon, Petrified Forest and Mt. Rainier National Parks.  That guy really got around.  He travelled the entire Western U.S. exploring, writing, discovering and teaching, in a time most people didn’t travel more than 50 miles from home.  Not only does his legacy lie in these parks, but also streets (including one in his birthplace in Scotland), bridges, buildings, monuments, mountains and even a glacier on Mt Rainier all carry his name.  He really understood that life is All About the Journey.

The place for which he is probably known most is Yosemite National Park.  One step into the park and you feel you walked into a scene from Narnia.  Steep granite walls thousands of feet high, massive cascading waterfalls in every direction and a thick forest full of wildlife.  This place truly feels magical.  The first day we got there, I was already planning my next visit. 

I heard this week about a study that says most people would rather have a gift that creates a memory than a tangible object.  That makes sense to me.  Your journey is your memories, the lessons learned (and not learned) and the people and relationships along the way.  It isn’t good enough to just “go” to Yosemite.  You must “experience” Yosemite.  Marshmallows around the campfire while the sound of thundering waterfalls rumble in the background; hiking across Half Dome or up to Yosemite Falls; touring the Ansel Adams museum, experiencing Yosemite is very easy to do.  There is nothing to wait for.  The Journey Starts Within.  Yosemite National park is a great place to get started.