The other day I received a post card in the mail from a friend who was visiting Yosemite National Park. I’m pretty sure she has no idea the memory it reminded me of, and how far I’ve come since that memory, but thank you, Sara.
Back in 2003 I took my first Contiki tour, it was a 6 day tour called California Highlights. We started in Vegas and our first stop was Yosemite National Park. At the time I was NOT a big natural person, I’m afraid of animals, hiking was NOT my thing. I actually have a fear of hiking downhill, the fear involves me slipping and falling to my death. My only real vacation as an adult before this had been visiting a friend in LA for a week. Although I didn’t require anything fancy, I did see vacation as a time to relax.
When we arrived in Yosemite that 2003 morning, everyone was talking about hiking. I clearly remember thinking, “hiking? I thought this was a vacation?” But I went on a hike with a nice group from my tour, we were hiking to the Lower Yosemite Falls, from what we were told it sounded fine to me. I would do a little hiking, get some nice pictures and then a break to relax. Except my group kept going after we got to the lower falls, though in fairness, it’s not really marked “Lower Falls” with a sign telling you to go back. Of course the hike to the upper falls was much loner and tougher.
At a certain point it’s not a good idea to turn back unless someone will go with you, and everyone was happy hiking. I found out later on that we had almost made it to the upper falls. As we got close we ran into our driver who was on her way down, I knew we were cutting it close on time so I turned back with her.
In the end I made it back to the valley floor with enough time to catch my breathe, but not enough to eat lunch. I also got some great pictures from Yosemite and a new appreciation of nature and the National Parks. In the future I would be more excited about a hike through the national parks, but also more aware of my limits and working within them. I’ve definitely done some hikes that were a stretch since then, but also skipped on some that didn’t call to me and instead just sat and enjoyed a view. I think there is a place for both of those in our lives, but sometimes you have to push past your limits to find out what they truly are.