California. What could be better? I’ve always been a fan of the adventures the West Coast has to offer and traveling with friends is something everyone should do.
Our journey started in San Francisco. We flew in and immediately made a dash for the beach where we quite literally chased the sunset until the moon greeted us. The fresh scent of a coastal breeze is something I’ve always loved.
Early Monday morning, we left for Yosemite National Park – a place where thousands have photographed before and thousands will photograph in the future. It’s been on my photography and travel bucket list for quite some time, and I’m thankful to get to experience the beauty Yosemite has to offer.
Both Glacier Point and Taft Point at sunset are a dream. To overlook the valley from an elevation of over 7,000 feet is surreal. It’s a location that really puts into perspective how small we are in the grand scheme of things, yet so loved and so significant.
At 5:00 am, we woke up to what would be the hardest, most rewarding hike of our lives, so far: Half Dome. 46,569 steps, over 18 miles, 13 hours, and an elevation of 8,842 ft (a 4,800 ft elevation gain). Most people who are familiar with the Half Dome hike know the infamous cables. But for us, the hardest part was the trail of switchbacks that never seemed to end and was a constant test of our endurance, leg strength, and cardio ability. The cables were a test mentally; the switchbacks were a test physically.
An hour before we made it to the base of Half Dome, we passed other hikers who had said it was hailing at the top. We continued – after all, we endured 8 miles up to that point and were determined to make it!
With warnings about conditions, we had all decided we weren’t going to risk our safety on the cables of Half Dome. After all, you’re not strapped in or tied down to the cables on the 75% slope of granite. My friend decided to just go up and at least touch the cables ... Then, almost before we realized what we were doing, we were at the top! The climb was 100% worth it, and the view was incredible.
The remainder of our time in Yosemite consisted of finding the best places to hammock and rest. The wildlife was tame and friendly, and the views never ceased to amaze us.
After exploring Yosemite, we set out for the coast again. First stop, Big Sur. I’ve always loved the West Coast; there’s something dreamy about what it has to offer with a mixture of mountains, coast and, in my opinion, beautiful light ideal for photographing! One of my favourite things is getting to roll the windows down and enjoy the ride along the mountainous coastline.
Finding a perfect hammocking spot, we pulled off along the coast and set up in a large beautiful tree for a few hours while watching the sunset. We even saw dolphins!
Getting to relax by the coast was the perfect way to end our trip - The views of Highway 1 never disappoint and I look forward to getting to go back soon!