One can gain a lot of perspective from a spontaneous trip to California with no plans other than to visit some National Parks with one of your best friends. It’s even better when it’s Fourth of July weekend, and the camps are crowded. Reservations are full, and you just hope that you can find a place to sleep. But not only did we find a place to sleep every night, this turned out to be the best camping trip of my life, and I learned a few lessons along the way.

This trip taught me a lot. First of all, timing in life is important. In Yosemite, we went up to Glacier Point around 1 pm only to be delayed by traffic and a ranger telling us that it was a two hour wait to shuttle up to Glacier Point. Any time past 9 am, the only way up to Glacier Point would be by shuttle. My friend, Lucas, tried the “it’s our last day in the park” card. It didn’t work, and we took what we thought was our biggest loss of the day. Turns out, it was the best thing that happened on our trip. We drove down to Southern Yosemite where we set up camp on a river/small falls. A completely isolated area, we jumped into pools of water, showered down in the raging river, and fell asleep on large boulders sitting in the river. We were able to spend the day cooling off, being boys of summer.

Timing became very apparent, not because of the epic day in the river. No timing became very apparent when we drove back to Glacier Point. We were blessed to see a lot of wild life on our trip. The only animal we really wanted to see left were bear cubs. We got up at 5 AM and had to cross the powerful river in the pitch black. It was FRICKIN COLD. More importantly, we had to make sure our packs didn’t get wet. After crossing the river, we had to hike back down this trail, and drive over to Glacier Point. Sure enough at around 7 AM, two cars in front of us stopped. To our right, two bear cubs were stumbling and walking along with their mother. It was the best life in the wild I’ve seen. We also beat the traffic up to Glacier Point and Sentinel Dome. Timing is everything.

Next, Nature gives you a chance to think. Great men and women have entered the wild, and exited with epiphanies, stories, a new sense of self awakening. It was absolutely refreshing being away from society for 3–4 days, no texts, no messages, no Facebook or Instagram. Even though you’re in active conversation most of the time, there will be times where you get to just think. Your thoughts don’t have to be profound. You don’t have to think thoughts that will change the world, or have a life changing trip. You do learn about yourself when you think though. You find your flaws. I found my own insecurities and ego, and addressed them. It’s easy to lay down next to a river, look up into the sky. The waterfalls roar and you can’t hear your friend talking. You just think. Think of your family and friends. Think of what you believe in and what you enjoy. Think about what you don’t enjoy. Think about how lucky you are to be where you are right now. Then jump into the river with no fear.

Lastly, enjoy life! Work smart, not hard and enjoy the view. We got up at 5 am and beat the crowd. We were able to enjoy every view point without the large crowds. But we enjoyed it all regardless. Every loss we took led to a bigger prize. Every meal and every second won’t be the best you’ve had. We spent a day eating beef jerky, almonds, and candy. Guess what, we survived. And we spent the rest of the time hiking to amazing view points and diving into refreshing water. With timing, contemplation, and a good mindset, I woke up in Weaver Lake at 3:30 am sleeping in a collapsed tent because the rods of my tent were missing. For the first time in my life, I distinctly saw the Milky Way. A large faded streak and bright stars surrounding it, I stayed awake for the next hour enjoying the site. I took a picture to also capture the moment.

Be filled with spontaneity. Camping next to the river was one of the coolest things I’ve done. Being able to relive a childlike feeling is unbelievable. The falls were absolutely stunning and land was ours to explore. Be fearless and enjoy the ride.

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