Visitors to Yosemite have become our own worst enemy. The park is struggling to accommodate what is now over 5 million visitors each year and still provide a nature experience. Park entrances have long waits and the road are gridlocked. It’s even recommended that the average visitor reserve a camping space for your car (actually just a parking space). Much like Climate Change, this is the future that is looming over Yosemite.
Yet even with all of this, it’s entirely possible to find your own place to explore. All it takes is to leave the comfort of your car behind and wander down a trail. Skip the tourist mentaility of driving from viewpoint to viewpoint and escape the sound of cars entirely. Even on crowded summer weekends I have been able to hike a short distance and be alone in nature.
I bring this up here for two reasons. First, to encourage you to get out an enjoy the world around you. There is so much beauty out there to experience. Find a lesser known trail and discover where it goes. Second, if it’s your wedding day, you have to ask yourself wether you’d rather spend more time outside or inside a car.
The photograph above is from Melissa and Tyler’s wedding last week. We had a plan of where in the park we would drive to together for their portraits until we found a closer parking spot. We quickly parked the car and walked around the surrounding area for a little over an hour taking in the Merced River, Lower Yosemite Fall, Cook’s Meadow, and much much more. Best of all, we even had the opportunity to do it all under the power of our own feet. Had we chosen to stay in the car and stick to our plan we would have spent more time in a climate controlled environment together, while they would have missed out on a wonderful opportunity to explore the park on their wedding day. And I know without a doubt that had we stayed in the car, their wedding photographs would have suffered.
With so much traffic and congestion becoming the new normal, expect to walk on your wedding day. You will enjoy yourself so much more and your wedding photographs will thank you.