Yosemite Through My Eyes ~ Our 10 Year Anniversary

I don’t consider myself a tourist when I go to Yosemite. I grew up about forty minutes from the gate to the park, and have been there around a hundred times (no joke). When I was in grade school we took overnight trips there to learn about nature and the history of the park. We went on night walks to learn about stars and sat in the amphitheater in Curry Village to hear the nature experts talk about birds, bears and other wildlife. Our poor teachers… “Get DOWN from there… Get… Oh my god, stop it! GET DOWN! DO NOT climb on that rock! GET OFF THE … why are you hanging from the bridge?!” Yeah, that’s pretty much how it was.

My dad was a HUGE fan of Yosemite. He grew up in war-torn El Salvador until he was eight, then in San Francisco (on the streets when he was sixteen for a year until he made his own money as a house painter). When he and my mother sold our house in the city when I was five, they purchased a twelve-acre piece of land in a little town called Coulterville that only had one stop sign and no gas station. We were officially country people, and my dad loved it. We had a kind of make-shift ranch with horses, goats, rabbits, pigeons and whatever else Papa decided he wanted to raise.

Yosemite was pretty much our back yard. My friends and I would come home and change on Sunday after giving our morning to God, jump into cars and drive up to Yosemite to walk around and go ice skating in the outdoor rink under the stars. It was AMAZING.

My parents and I often went for the day, giving tours to ANYone who was visiting from out of town. My dad was convinced that everyone who walked the Earth MUST see this amazing place. I have to agree with him there. No matter how many times I’ve been there, it still gives me a religious experience and I feel my place in the universe.

*A note on my dad: Every time we bought drinks at Yosemite Village, after we drank them, my dad collected the empty cans and bottles from everyone, went inside, and got his five cents per container back. He was THAT thrifty. Yesterday, when Mark and I bought drinks and I saw the little sticker on the bottle, I thought, “Oh Papa…” I miss him so much.

When Mark and I were dating, my friends and I took him to Yosemite. One of our favorite things about going is seeing a first-timer’s reaction. He was in love with that place, and at sunset at Glacier Point, I told him I loved him for the first time. He had said it days before in my apartment, but I hadn’t responded. I guess I needed time to process it and trust that it was real. We’ve been to the park countless times in the ten years we’ve been together, so when he asked where I wanted to go for our ten year anniversary trip, I of course said Yosemite.

We rented a tiny cabin in Curry Village for Saturday night and had a BLAST! Saturday we arrived in the afternoon and chose a beautiful spot to eat our picnic lunch and drink our fancy Irish Vineyards wine out of red solo cups, cuz we’re THAT classy! We spent the weekend hiking around, and I took tons of photos – gnarly trees that had interesting shape, little flowers, the architecture at the Ahwahnee Hotel, the people, and of course the waterfalls and landscape. I said, “I shoot everything like it’s a wedding.” What can I say … I don’t just see waterfalls and mountains. People are interesting to me, whether they’re amazed little children, German tourists taking photos, or the girl doing Yoga in the parking lot while we waited for the shuttle after our hike to Mirror Lake.

So here is Yosemite through MY eyes – not a tourist, but a long-time lover of God’s great creation. I hope if you’ve never been, these photos make you want to go, and if you have been, they make you want to revisit. Enjoy.





No one can take a picture of us like I can…



1st and 2nd year anniversary gifts…





Bridal Veil fall…


Bridal Veil Yosemite

I was OBSESSED with taking a photo of this little grove of trees. We walked a quarter mile from the Ahwahnee so I could get the picture. This one might go in our house…



The Ahwahnee…

Ahwahnee Hotel Yosemite

Ahwahnee Hotel Yosemite




Half Dome Yosemite


Had to have a real picnic before our hikes…



Yosemite Falls

Yosemite Falls

Yosemite Falls



Yosemite Falls



On our way to Mirror Lake (which isn’t actually a lake)…



Mirror Lake Yosemite



Oh Papa…


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Marilyn Wilburn
April 15, 2013

Love love love these pics! You really must of had a great time. One of these days I want to stay just one nite at the Ahwahnee. It is expensive but what a great place to be in! Love the surroundings and people, they all seem friendlier in the beautiful park no matter who or where they're from. Now I want to go there again, thanks for this post and congratulations on 10 years of marital bliss!

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