If this post seems oddly specific in comparison to other locations that I’ve chosen, it’s because Yosemite National Park deserves a section of its own. Yosemite was my first exposure to true mountains and the breathtaking views that come with them, an eye-opening experience that would change my perspective on where I want to travel in the future. To stand beneath the cliff face of El Capitan or hear the pounding of the water in Yosemite Falls was incredible, but it wasn’t until I got up to Glacier Point that I was truly awestruck. To stand on the edge of a mountain, so high up that the rafters on the river below were mere specks and the surrounding mountain ranges visibly stretched for miles, was incredible. As someone who, prior to this trip, had always been in reasonably flat areas of the country, the first time I experienced mountains of this magnitude was difficult to even understand. I think that feeling of awe, the inability to wrap my head around the scale of what I’m seeing, is one of the reasons why I loved Yosemite and every other similar place I have visited since then. Still, I can’t hope to truly put into words the way that these experiences make me feel, so I’ll move on to the other attractions of the park. Although I didn’t get the opportunity to spend time hiking the numerous trails of varying difficulties that snake through the park, my family did take one of the major hiking/biking trails in the middle of the main valley. The scenery was more simple, with fields and trees along the side of a river, and it would have passed for a normal riverside park in the summertime if not for the stunning backdrop behind it. The day that we visited was quite hot, so we found respite in the air conditioning of a small chapel and the shade of trees just outside the building. I would love to return to that chapel at this point in my life, so I could fully appreciate the beauty of such a small building juxtaposed against the towering cliffs that rise nearby. In fact, I would love to return to Yosemite in general, to relive the memories that sparked a love and fascination, which are now beginning to fade a little. I would get so much more out of the park now than I did when I was younger, especially given the time to explore some of the trails and other natural beauties that the park has to offer. No matter where I travel, Yosemite will always have a special place in my traveling soul.