National Parks have become an obsession of mine, after my visit to Yosemite in August 2018 with Chris’ family (my fiancé). Driving into Yosemite Valley is something out of a dream, with pictures only doing partial justice. Since this was our first trip and the massive size of Yosemite would take years to explore, we stuck to the pretty basic trails. Even the easy hikes open up to vistas and staggering waterfalls. However, my favorite part was our first morning wandering around the meadows of Yosemite Valley. We saw two huge bucks grazing in the early morning sunshine. You felt tiny under the granite giants surrounding you, especially when that shadow covering someones face was not a cloud but a tower of rock.
All of this reminiscing is hard when I am unable to hop in my car and head that way. So as a way to learn more about Yosemite from afar, Chris and I have watched some amazing documentaries. Yosemite has attracted thrill seekers since it was deemed a National Park, and naturally rock climbing has become a cultural cornerstone. Free Solo is a documentary following Alex Honnold on his journey to climb El Capitan…without any equipment. It is heart racing and beautiful, showcasing some of the most unbelievable angles of the park. If you would like to better understand the ecosystem of Yosemite, I recommend America’s National Parks: Yosemite. What I found most interesting about this documentary is how it discussed changing climates effects on different populations of wildlife. Both are available on the National Geographic section of Disney+.
This is the best time to find a National Park you would like to visit after quarantine, and study up on trails, animals, wildflower seasons, and of course the history (Yosemite for example, has a rich Native American history). I would obviously recommend Yosemite, but some others on my list are Big Bend, Zion, and Yellowstone.