It's been over a month since we flew to the West Coast for our Golden State getaway - and I've only done one very high-level post about our trip! It's funny how you think that when you get back from vacation you're going to sit down and organize all your photos, but then, reality hits and you get swept into the day-to-day.
When I was growing up and would attend a school dance, we would all snap tons of photos on those yellow one-time use disposal cameras. Then, we (read: all the high school girls) would rush to get them developed and bring them into school in little flip albums to show everyone! We would even get duplicates of EVERY SINGLE PICTURE developed -- just in case. How excessive were we?! Can't risk only having one copy of me awkwardly wearing an ill-fitting strapless dress standing with a classmate who's a full foot shorter than me and making a peace sign with my eyes closed.
But looking at everyone's photos at school (in between writing notes) was such a highlight. As you can imagine, the quality of my pictures were nothing short of superb:
|Spoiler alert: Every single one of us went on to win at least one season of America's Next Top Model.|
The process of taking and sharing photos has changed dramatically in our life time. But, much in the same way we would excitedly share our hastily-snapped prom photos with one another, I'm excited to share my hastily-snapped Mariposa Grove photos with you! Good news: I've abandoned strapless dresses and stuck to a full-on lululemon outfit for exploring Yosemite.
The Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias is located about 2 miles from the South gate to Yosemite National Park.**
I have never seen anything like the Giant Sequoias. They truly looked like they were from another, more whimsical, world. Stephen and I started our day at around 7:30 am there, so we beat the rush. (A big thing about Yosemite you should be aware of if you've never been: lots of people! We even went late in the season, in September, and there were still tons of people visiting.)
|many of the trees were named!|
|"Bachelor and Three Graces"|
|The Grizzly Giant|
|Ok, maybe "petite" is a stretch. But I look, you know, not abnormally large.|
|Stephen taking a walk through the tunnel tree.|
|Why do people insist on carving their names into trees? You're not adding anything to the natural beauty of the forest, you guys. I'm looking at you, DAVID.|
The giants actually rely on fires to survive, since they are built to withstand them (and other species are not as resilient.)
When European settlers first arrived, they put out any and all fires. They had the best intentions, but by doing this, the Giant Sequoias almost went extinct! The sequoias are made to resist and live through fires, and they depend on the fires to kill out other types of trees/plants so that they can "rule" the area.
Isn't that ironic***? Trying so hard to save something that you're actually hurting it? I'm not going to get all philosophical (first the "Graduation" song, then this!?), but if you think about this, it can perhaps be a metaphor for some relationship in life that you might be holding onto so tight you're actually strangling it. Or not. Perhaps Europeans are just stupid and like killing all things they stumble upon. (Being a descendent of 5 separate European nations, I can say that.) (Thanks, Columbus.)
Fortunately, nature won out in this case. And the park now orchestrates controlled forest fires in these areas.
|Deer! The only wildlife we saw other than squirrels. Though we were only there for one full day (and lived in constant fear of seeing a bear.)|
*That's still how all dances still end, right? p.s. first line in that song: "So we talked all night about the rest of our lives, where we're gonna be when we turn 25...." Real tears.
**My senior prom was located at the Hyatt less than 2 miles from the Pittsburgh International airport. (since I know you're all wondering. Theme: "Come Fly Away")
***Maybe. I have this theory that you can never ask the question "Isn't that ironic?" without people coming out of the woodwork and screaming all the reasons it's not, actually, ironic. Thanks, Alanis.