This May, I got the chance to visit Yosemite National Park for the first time with my boyfriend, Chris. As a photographer, I’ve seen thousands of photos of the place, and I can honestly say that no photo I’ve seen does it justice. Yosemite is known for its gorgeous, enormous granite walls tested by the most elite of climbers including Tommy Caldwell and Alex Honnold. Before it was explored by climbers and other visitors, Yosemite was (and is) home to the Ahwahnechee people who have resided in the area for thousands of years.
Entering Yosemite Valley for the first time felt surreal. This was partly because of the migraine I had which I can attribute to dehydration and the winding roads, but what shocked me the most was the sheer size of the rock features. I have pretty high prescription contacts, but when Chris would point out to me a climber scaling the side of El Cap it would usually take a solid ten minutes for me to find the tiny dot and another five minutes for Chris to convince me that the microscopic dot was, indeed, a human.
I never feel as though I’ve really visited and appreciated a place unless I get off the beaten path and away from the designated viewing areas and climbing is an incredible way to get a new perspective – literally and figuratively. Yosemite is a place where I could spend a lifetime, and I left feeling so inspired to push myself to climb harder so I can return and take on some longer routes.