When Life Tells You To Take a Hike, Head to Yosemite

When Life Tells You To Take a Hike, Head to Yosemite

Modern life for the working adult is a grind. National parks like Yosemite are there as beautiful reminders for people to appreciate nature and focus on the essentials.
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Adult life is stressful.

Oftentimes we find that we as adults are behind on sleep and have not met our deadline. Weeks can be long, and the only way you can survive a work day is praying for the next coffee break or fantasizing about the nap you will be taking as soon as you get off. Even after work, the drive back home is filled with frustration as you pass drivers who have no business on the road and make way home a dangerous place.

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One day you wake up and discover that you need a vacation from the weekly grind. The beach is nice, but the surf is crowded with tourists and the towns are a pain to drive through. Disneyland sounds like a sick joke from someone who wants to see you with an empty wallet, tired legs, and chapped lips from waiting in the sun for Space Mountain. The real escape that will melt away the stress from the craziness of a work week is a trip to a national park.

For me, Yosemite National Park is the most beautiful and relaxing place.

From my town of Fresno, it is an hour long drive up to the mountains where I can get out and breathe fresh pine-tree air. Yosemite does not have crowds of littering beach-goers or children crying in line to see Mr. Toad's Wild Ride. Instead, it has a solid group of nature-loving people who make their trip up to Yosemite so that they can be among the solitude and beauty of the forest. Yosemite is a place where you do not have to wait in line for an adventure made from another person's imagination. It is a place where the ultimate freedom awaits for those who have a spirit of adventure and who are not scared to take a dusty trail to see what beauty is beyond their horizon.

My favorite weekends are the ones where I pack my hiking backpack and set off for my favorite trail in Yosemite. With a couple bags of beer jerky and preparedness, I can have a great, refreshing weekend where I push myself up the mountain and relax at the top. The hike up to Upper Yosemite Falls is strenuous, and with a pack filled with provisions, hiking the distance uphill requires a great deal of resting between pushes onward.

Once you make it to the top of Yosemite Falls, you are instantly rewarded for your effort. The air is cooling and the pools that form before the waterfall are gratifying and the perfect place to draw water for purify in your water-bottle. The greatest reward is setting your pack down at the top of the hike and going to the edge of the falls. There you can see Yosemite Valley below and all of the beautiful rock faces that surround it. All the while, the waterfall is close by the edge and creates a nice mist to cool you from your hike as you take in the fantastic view.

To set up camp, all that is needed is a short walk from the falls to the best campfire pit available. Because of the hike, exhaustion will play a factor in how long it takes to get to camp and set everything up, but the need to rest and relax will be a powerful motivator. Unpacking the tent and sleeping bag is easy, and once a campfire is set, all that is needed to sit back while the food cooks and enjoy all the nearby nature. As the night progresses, the pools are nearby to take a dip in and refresh. They provide the best shower available after a hike that far into the mountains. There are also the stars that pepper the sky when it gets really late. My favorite part of the night is looking up at them through my tent's see through ceiling and having that be the last imagine in my head before I fall asleep.

After a night in the mountains, I start to miss my bed and feel like a shower would be nice. Usually, I jump into a stream to wake up, and then I make my morning coffee and heat up my freeze dried eggs. After a bit of packing, I start the trek down the mountain with all the comforts of civilization on my mind.

When I reach my car, it is a relief to put on some fresh clothes and make my back out of the forest. Before I head home, however, I make sure to stop by my favorite gastro pub in Oakhurst called South Gate Brewing Company and pick up a tri-tip sandwich and some of their in-house made root beer before I finish the drive back to home. The food is always great, and sitting down at the nice restaurant gives me time to appreciate the journey to the wilderness and back that I just had.

Once the weekend is over and the daily grind starts again, its back to my normal coffee dependency and lack of sleep. Getting out to Yosemite gives me something to remember as I wake up early and make my way through the week. I can rethink about the beautiful trails on my hike or the starry night sky over Yosemite that I looked into before I fell asleep.

There is nothing as effective as taking a trip to the mountains to relieve stress through the beauty of nature and through the exercise of hiking. National parks like Yosemite are there for us to admire and remember that life is not always a grind, but there is always untouched beauty out there that relieves the tension of modern-day life and deserves appreciation for its majesty.

Cover Image Credit: Robert Breuer

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To The Boy Who Will Love Me Next

If you can't understand these few things, leave before things get too involved
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To the boy that will love me next, I need you to know and understand things about me and my past. The things I have been though not only have shaped the person I’ve become, but also sometimes controls my life. In the past I’ve been used, abused, and taken for granted, and I want something real this time. The guys before you were just boys; they didn’t know how to treat me until it was too late. They didn’t understand how to love me, until I broke my own heart. Before you truly decide to love me I want you to understand these things.

When I tell you something, please listen.

I’m my own person, I want to be loved a certain way. If I ask you to come over and watch movies with me please do it, if I ask for you to leave me alone for a few hours because it’s a girl’s night please do it. I don’t just say things to hear my own voice, I say things to you because it’s important to my life and the way I want to be loved. I’m not a needy person when it comes to being loved and cared for, but I do ask for you to do the small things that I am say.

Forgive my past.

My past is not a pretty brick road, it is a highway that has a bunch of potholes and cracks in it. I have a lot of baggage, and most of it you won’t understand. But don’t let my past decided whether you want to love me or not. My past has helped form who I am today, but it does not define who I am. My past experiences might try and make an appearance every once in a while, but I will not go back to that person I once was, I will not return to all that hurt I once went though. When I say those things, I’m telling the complete and honest truth. I relive my past every day, somethings haunt me and somethings are good reminds. But for you to love me, I need you to accept my past, present and future.

I’m just another bro to the other guys.

I have always hung out with boys, I don’t fit in with the girl groups. I have 10 close girlfriends, but the majority of my friends are guy, but don’t let this scare you. If I wanted to be with one of my guy friends I would already be with him, and if you haven’t noticed I don’t want them because I’m with you. I will not lose my friendships with all my guy friends to be able to stay with you. I will not cut off ties because you don’t like my guy friends. I have lost too many buddies because of my ex-boyfriends and I promised myself I wouldn’t do that again. If you don’t like how many guy friends I have you can leave now. Don’t bother trying to date me if you can accept the fact I’m just another bro.

I might be a badass, but I actually have a big heart.

To a lot of people I come off to be a very crazy and wild girl. I will agree I can be crazy and wild, but I’m more than that. I’m independent, caring, responsible, understanding, forgiving, and so such more type of woman. Many people think that I’m a badass because I don’t take any negatively from anyone. Just like we learned when we were younger, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.” Most people can’t do that in today’s world, so I stick up for myself and my friends. I don’t care what anyone thinks about me, or their option on how I live my life. The only thing I care about is being able to make myself happy. Even though I’m an independent woman, understand that I do have a big heart. Honesty when I truly care for someone I will do just about anything they ask, but don’t take advantage of this. Once you take advantage of this part of me, all respect will be lost for you.

I’m hard to love.

Sometimes I want to be cuddle and get attention, and sometimes I don’t want you to talk to me for a couple hours. Sometimes I want you to take me out for a nice meal, but sometimes I want a home cooked meal. Every day is different for me, sometimes I change my mind every hour. My mood swings are terrible on certain days, and on those days you should probably just ignore me. I’m not easy to love, so you’ll either be willing to find a way to love me, or you’ll walk out like so many others have.

I’m scared.

I’m scared to love someone again. I’ve been hurt, heartbroken, and beat to the ground in my past relationships. I want to believe you are different, I want to hope things will truly work out, but every relationship has always ended up the same way. I’m scared to trust someone, put my whole heart into them, just to be left and heartbroken again. I sick and tired of putting my whole body and soul into someone for them to just leave when it is convenient for them. If you want to love me, understand it won’t be easy for me to love you back.

When “I’m done.”

When I say “I’m done” I honestly don’t mean that I’m done. When I say that it means I need and want you to fight for me, show me why you want to be with me. I need you to prove that I’m worth it and there’s no one else but me. If I was truly done, I would just walk away, and not come back. So if I ever tell you, “I’m done,” tell me all the reasons why I’m truly not done.

For the boy who will love me next, the work is cut out for you, you just have to be willing to do it. I’m not like other girls, I am my own person, and I will need to be treated as such. For the boy that will love me next, don’t bother with me unless you really want to be with me. I don’t have time to waste on you if you aren’t going to try and make something out of us. To the boy who will love me next, the last thing I would like to say is good luck, I have faith in you.

Cover Image Credit: Danielle Balint

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16 Countries I Want To Visit Before I Die

Italy. Italy. Italy. (Because Italian food)

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I have a dream to travel. My entire life, I have adored traveling more than almost anything in the world. There's just something magnificent about seeing beautiful places with your own eyes. The Grand Canyon is more breath-taking than any photo of it could boast. As someone who has a love affair with beautiful places, I wanted to share my top 16 places where I'd like to visit before I die!

1. Italy

2. Ireland (and Northern Ireland)

3. Fiji

4. France

5. Greece

6. England

7. Egypt

8. Netherlands

9. Switzerland

10. Scotland

11. Germany

12. Spain

13. Austria

14. Israel

15. The Bahamas

16. Maldives

Do you think I can manage to travel to all 16 of these and more? I think it's entirely possible as long as I'm conscious of how much I'm spending! In the meantime, I'm going to mentally plan each trip that I'd like to take to these beautiful locations. If I manage to knock any of these off my bucket list, I will be sure to update!

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