The Journey to Yosemite National Park is Miraculous!

On the way, we have a quick glimpse of the Californian scenery from a different angle. The view suddenly expands broader as the bus we take drives out of the downtown area. For the first time, we get to know the agricultural aspect of California, the prosperous state famous for its movies and sunny beaches. 

At first, all we can see is boundless golden grass sprawling until the skyline. Impressed, yet a little confused is what we feel, as everything we see seems to have been dried by the dazzling Californian sunshine. There are only a few trees with twisting trunks and lush green leaves scattering among the wide wilderness that indicate a sign of water. How could it be possible to have a good harvest on a vast yet arid land? 

​However, before long, we spotted large and small lakes in between the rolling golden hills, with waves shining like silver under the azure sky. “That could be the answer”, we think. Later on, the well-managed large-scale farms catch our eyes. The farms seem to be operated by individual farmers, which is easily proved by the commonplace hand-written signboards and small stalls beside those farms along the road, claiming “GOOD AVOCADO, 6 for $1” and similar things. 

All farms we see deploy mechanized techniques to boost efficiency and cut down expenditure on labor, which is quite different from the agricultural environment of the region where we live in China. In China, there are limited and irregularly shaped paddy fields. They depend largely on a labor force to grow and take care of the fields. All we see astonishes us and helps expand our horizon.

Several hours have passed, and the road wraps around or dig through higher mountains instead of spreading on the surface of large plain or hilly land. We know we are approaching Yosemite National Park, a famous site which embraces “High Sierra, Granite Cliffs, Sequoia Groves Valley” (Yosemite National Park’s official leaflet), thus attracting crowds of hikers, campers, backpackers, climbers and families every year. The shade from grand trees block the blaring sunshine. We've already crawled up to an altitude of about 1,500 feet, according to our nice Californian tour guide Lisa. The sunshine seems less intense with all the forests thriving overhead.

After a sharp turn of the bus, the valley suddenly reveals its true appearance. As soon as we see it, we mistook it for an unspoiled dreamland that only exists in fantasy. Sheer cliffs in the distance spring up among dark forests underneath, with a skinny yet tall and torrential waterfall hanging over the surprisingly flat precipices. There is even a rainbow rising in the mist, which adds to the marvelous beauty of Yosemite. What a masterpiece of nature!

Later, we wander amid gigantic sequoias and have eye contact with those wildlife fairies. We bow down to touch the mossy stones and feel the refreshing torrents flowing through our fingers. We reach the bottom of Yosemite Fall and step to the top of Vernal Fall to hear the roar and feel the mist that the falls generate surrounding us. We feel the whole weekend at Yosemite is too good to be real.

Though reluctant, we are about to leave the marvelous Yosemite. On the way back, the sun still shines. The fields, the orchards and the golden meadow seem as if they are beckoning us to visit again. We will never forget this summer when we spent two days and a night enjoying the tranquility of a paradise detached and surrounded by mountains and forests. 

We will also remember the evening when we returned to our dorm with the rosy twilight pouring down onto our youthful faces. In Berkeley, this unfamiliar yet friendly place lit up with all the warm downtown street lights as well as glowing windows of stores and houses. We will continue to seek for something that can be used to build our dreams in the future, not just the natural beauty at Yosemite.

Overall, if any of you are interested in the landscape of Yosemite National Park, here are some tips:

First, inform your family members, friends, teachers, or anyone concerned about your whereabouts. Yosemite is a detached paradise, which means it sometimes has no phone signal for calls and/or internet connection! Tell them everything beforehand or they could get very worried.

Second, bring books, cards, or any off-line time killers. For those of you who are network addicts, you don’t want to spend a boring night in a disconnected environment, do you?

Third, bring swimming suits and waterproof gadgets or clothing – alternative clothing helps, too. Yosemite is famous for its waterfalls and creeks. There are many chances to safely swim, raft or simply just get wet from getting too close to the mist around waterfalls. So having these things at hand will ensure a more joyful trip. Also, DO NOT violate rules or ignore safety instructions!

Lastly, wear sunscreen! Don’t let the ultraviolet light hurt your delicate skin. This is extremely important especially in the mountain area.


~ From Jingzi Zhou, an SAF Student Correspondent