February 9, 2017
Winter and traveling seem to go hand in hand for us. Annually we pack up our chunky knit beanies and down jackets and head towards the snow-covered peaks. Maybe it's the lack of seasons in our Southern California backyard or the need for recovery and reflection after the long summer's heat that draws us to the cold, but either way, we look forward to our annual winter trip and this year we chose one our favorite places, Yosemite National Park.
We woke up early, packed the car and hit the road. After about six hours of driving, we finally reached the entrance of the park. The drive was a bit draining but when we saw the sign for Tunnel View, arguably one of the most beautiful views you will ever see, our spirits were immediately lifted.
Slowly we crawled through the long dark tunnel and as we finally emerged Half Dome gleamed in the distance, El Capitan stood tall over the valley floor and the icy waters of Bridal Veil Falls crashed on the rocks below. It was everything we remembered it to be and more. This amazing view set the tone for the rest of the trip!
After making a few stops along the drive through the valley we finally arrived at our campsite. The drive took a little longer than expected so we rushed to set up camp before the sun went down.
With freezing temperatures, we were determined to keep the fire roaring and our cups filled with hot coffee. We spent hours laughing and telling stories with friends and planning out our next day. It is these moments that we look forward to most while outdoors.
Every day was a new adventure. From visiting the powerful Lower Yosemite Falls to hiking the diverse Valley Loop, every inch of the park felt like it was on the cusp of transformation. The light breeze and deafening silence were so peaceful.
As we wandered through the forest we couldn't help but be overcome with a sense of calm. We focused on mindfulness as we trekked across snow covered trails and listened to the thundering avalanches in the distance. Although we have been to Yosemite before, winter had shown us a completely different side of the park.
After days of wandering the cold forest of Yosemite our time had come to an end. We packed up camp and reluctantly got into the car for the long journey home. Although leaving such a majestic place can be bittersweet, there is always a part of us that is ready to come home. Because the sooner we are home, the sooner we can start planning out our next adventure!
Winter camping is filled with reflection and recovery. It's become a time for us to think about the past year and look forward to the next. Although the cold might not be for everyone, it is a tradition that we will continue to do together for years to come.
About Kira Gulley
Adventurer seeker, artistic soul, and nature lover are just a few of the ways friends and family have described me. Born and raised in sunny California I enjoy spending lots of time outdoors with my sketchbook always by my side. For me, nothing beats finding a quiet place in the woods where I can draw and be inspired.
Simplicity is something I always strive for in both my life and my art. It's what has drawn me to focusing on the smallest details in an array of botanicals and trying my hand at expressing them with minimal brush strokes. Sharing my art has been an inspiring journey, and I am humbled to be able to share something that I love with people who share similar passions.