With winter around the corner, and the Yosemite hiking season coming to a close, I'm finding myself saddened by the time I'm not able to spend up there. There's just so much to do and so much to see in that area, yet my current life and current responsibilities keep (understandably) getting in the way. I know the grass is always greener on the other side, and I often wonder if I would truly be happy if I had all the time in the world to hike and adventure as much as I wanted. Would I actually be fulfilled? Or would I simply find the next thing to strive for? For all I know the answer is somewhere in between, but I'm always much more afraid of regretting what I didn't do, than what I did. So I'll just keep grinding towards that freedom.
"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the things you did."
I promise I'll be over my bear obsession soon (we'll see how true that is), but there were so many fun shots I wanted to share with you. Hopefully you're not sick of them yet. This photo was taken about 20 minutes after this adventurous bear got too close to the marina (it actually got on top of the docks at one point) and ended up getting sprayed in the face with bear spray. The bear was in pretty high levels of discomfort for about 10 minutes, foaming from the mouth and unable to open it's eyes for very long, but it soon recovered and was back to it's exploration of the lake shore. I assume it's searching for food in order to pack on a few extra pounds before hibernating for the upcoming winter.
"Bears rose to the top of the food chain solely so they could dedicate half their lives to sleep. It’s the world’s most intimidating power nap."
What was particularly special about my recent bear sighting, was that the bear spent close to an hour simply meandering around; in the meadows, through the woods, on the lakeshore and, as you can see, in the lake. Offering exciting changes of perspective, scenery, and lighting - a photographer's dream client.
"The bear, he says, is many animals in one. Like a lion, he downs mammals much bigger than he; like any ruminant, he pillages crops; he steals grapes and fruit like a monkey; nibbles on berries like a blackbird; plunders anthills and beehives like a woodpecker; digs up tubers and larvae like a pig; and catches fish with the dexterity of an otter. And he eats honey like a man."
While driving around Lake Mary in Mammoth Lakes, I came upon another car going the opposite direction on a fairly narrow part of the road. The other driver and I skillfully navigated the dilemma and as I was preparing to give the driver a "thank you!" type wave of the hand before continuing down the road, I noticed the driver looking directly at me while frantically pointing towards the ditch on his side of the road. I was confused at first, but suddenly this massive bear comes lumbering out of the forest, not ten feet from my car, heading the direction I had just come from. I pulled over, hoping to safely grab my camera and snap some photos, but the bear kept heading away from me and cut across a lakeside meadow, showing me it's backside the whole time. That's when I realized that it was heading towards a different section of the road, on the other side of the lake. So I turned the car around and excitedly made my way to where I estimated the bear was headed. And to my good fortune, I parked the car right as the bear was entering high quality camera range. And proceeded to stay within range for close to an hour. It was big and beautiful and clearly not afraid of humans, as it meandered it's way through the meadow, around the marina, even climbing on the docks and swimming through the water, before continuing it's exploration around the lake. It was the best and longest bear sighting of my life, and marked an incredible end to an already memorable road trip.
"People probably have revered bears for as long as we have interacted with them. And while bear worship is not a part of most modern religions, it is natural for us – even those of us who have never seen a bear – to be awed by such magnificent and formidable creatures."
I recently spent some time in Yosemite, one of the most incredible places in the entire world, in my opinion. And what was particularly neat about this visit is that I hiked to the top of Clouds Rest, a 9,926' peak that sits north of Yosemite Valley. This was not only an incredible experience on its own, but this peak offered a whole new perspective for me. It wasn't just the elevation, although that provided an unbelievable view, but more the fact that from Clouds Rest I was looking south into Yosemite Valley, instead of looking north from the valley floor, as I had experienced multiple times. Similar to discovering a new spice that improves your favorite dish, this novel vantage point made the already gorgeous valley even more exciting for me. A reminder to always be shifting perspective and examine things from different angles. It just might end up being better in the end.
"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but in seeing with new eyes."