Yosemite National Park

Note: This blog post is part of a series documenting a late-May road trip from Los Angeles to Seattle. For other posts in this series, please head to the bottom of the page where links are located. Thanks for reading!

Day three of the trip was spent on the road. An eight-hour drive from Death Valley to the west entrance of Yosemite took us all over California – the (much) closer Tioga Road entrance was closed due to the massive amount of snow the area received last winter. If you ever have the chance to take the longer route, I actually recommend it – this route ended up being one of my favorites. We arrived shortly before sunset, squeezing in a few photos before nightfall.

Before we get any further, travel back in time with me for a minute. Deal? Deal.

It was May 2014. Many months before my father and I watched that night's sunset on top of Sentinel Dome, we were sitting in the kitchen, casually talking about traveling. One thing led to another and we ended the conversation talking about a potential trip to Yosemite. Six months from that moment, we'd find ourselves boarding the plane to head West.

It was the first trip that just the two of us took together. I'll never forget it. One of those trips you tell your grandkids about, you know? While most of my photos and videos have been lost due to a crashed hard drive (back up everything, kids), the few photos I have left – along with my vivid memories of our week there – have always stayed with me. Like I told myself three years ago – I don't know when I'll be back. I just know that I will be back.

It may be cliché to say how trips have changed you as a person – but the trip in May of 2014 with my father did just that.

Forward to 2017...

We had three days in the park. While each day held a different itinerary, every night ended the same: pizza, beer and gazing up at the night sky above Half Dome. The no-cars-on-the-road sunrise drives around the valley, picnics along the Merced river and aimless walks around the valley floor filled the short amount of time we had there.

We stayed at Half Dome Village (AKA Curry Village) throughout our stay. The ability to wake up, walk outside of your "tent" and find yourself standing in the shadow of Half Dome...can't beat it.

Glacier Point to Yosemite is what Times Square is to New York – but at least in Yosemite's case, Glacier Point is worth going to.

Yes, it may be filled with tourists (including myself), but we all go to Glacier Point for a reason. You feel as though you're on top of the world.

Those dots along the face of El Capitan you see below? Rock climbers. Just days after we left the park, Alex Honnold climbed the entire 3,000-foot wall without a rope. I repeat: without a rope.

Want to read more about the road trip? Check out the other posts below.

Death Valley National Park
Pacific Coast Highway
San Francisco
Oregon Coast