Greetings from Yosemite National Park

My parents divorced when I was a toddler but I still got to benefit from their shared love for the outdoors. My mom moved us to Northern California when I was 8 and I’ll never forget my first visit to Yosemite where we camped for several days. I vividly remember the majesty of El Capitan and the glorious Bridalveil Falls. I remember the trees. The enormous amount of trees. That is the trip that single handedly gave me my own love of nature. I remember studying John Muir in school, even wrote a book report about him. We continued exploring the area for the following 4 years, heading to the ocean, Monterey Bay and the Sequoias. We even lived in the Sierra Nevada Mountains for 2 years. Those places are amazing in their own right but Yosemite is different. It stays inside you, shapes you, grounds you. I moved back to the Chicago area when I was 12. After high school, I took a pause in visiting the parks while life happened but would visit occasionally as finances and time allowed over the years. Now, things have changed. If there is anything positive about the pandemic, it brought nature back to the forefront for me. I visited my local preserves 2-3 times a week, even through the winter. I have always gone when I needed the break, searched for re-grounding or to release some stress but this past year has been different. It’s a part of me again. I find myself reflecting on and being so thankful for my short time at Yosemite 40 years ago. How it has stuck with me after all of these years. There’s a spark again. My family and I will leave for a trip to GSMNP next week which I plan to be the first of many as I teach my own kids about the gifts of these parks. Someday I’ll get back to Yosemite, where it all started.


Yosemite National Park

With its sculpted granite rock formations, towering ancient sequoia trees and spectacular waterfalls, it's no wonder Yosemite is one of the most celebrated national parks in the world.

State(s): California

Established: 1890

“While Yosemite was my first experience, it wouldn't be my last. My dad had moved to Colorado and I spent my summers and holidays with him there from the age of 10. We spent weeks on end at RMNP, he adored that place and I grew to love it. I imagine that was his Yosemite as it was for me. It gave him a kind of peace that I could even sense as a kid. I support the parks because of their natural healing abilities. Their non-discriminatory accessibility. Their infinite availability. Most of all, we owe it to the people who worked so hard to preserve them for me, for my kids and generations to come. ”

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