It was like lying in a great solemn cathedral, far vaster and more beautiful than any built by the hand of man - President Theodore Roosevelt
Yosemite National Park in January has an average high in the 40s and an average low in the 20s. For a southern California resident, that's cold. Options for accommodations within the park include hotels, cabins, and tents. There are nice canvas tents with heaters, we didn't stay in those. Unheated tents were available and cheap - so we figured we could survive.
I'm usually a fair weather girl. Not too hot, not too cold. So "glamping" in Yosemite, in January, without a heater at night wasn't in my comfort zone.
The first night we arrived after dark. It was very cold and there wasn't much to see except canvas tents, a diner that served pizza, and the front desk. As we settled into our sleeping bags that first night, I tried to stay strong in the cold. Unfortunately my sleeping bag had other plans, it was only meant to be used in the warmer climate zones. After 20 minutes I folded and decided to crawl into my boyfriend's sleeping bag in hopes of staying warm from his body heat. We shared a twin bed.
The next morning I awoke sore, stiff, and cold. Stepping out of the tent, in the daylight, I was able to see the sheer granite rock rise into the sky just beyond our campground. Mist hung close to the ground while the sky above was bright blue. The fresh snow rested delicately against the granite faces, a contrast to the ancient goliaths. It was breathtaking.
The night of peril seemed to melt away in my mind. My heart sang as I spent the day in nature. Seeing the majestic beauty and breathing the fresh air, whatever I had brought with me from home seemed to be lost.
Yosemite like this - without the tourists - is quiet, calm, and a sight beyond what the summer sun can reveal.
At home I had felt numb, stuck in a routine of moderate stress and to-do lists. Here I felt truly alive both in the physical cold and the brightness of my heart and mind.
Neale Donald Walsch once said, "Life begins at the edge of your comfort zone". About a month ago I had heard it in a yoga class. This trip made me feel alive again. Surely out of my comfort zone, I awoke to the plentiful beauty around.
Yosemite is a magical place. John Muir described it as "Everyone needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and cheer and give strength to the body and soul alike". Every once in a while, we all need to get away and visit a place that gives our soul strength - to feel renewed, refreshed, and reawakened. Yosemite is my place, what is yours?