On September 19-21, the Young Adults had many, many members go to Yosemite. Thank you, Kevin, for your reflection about your trip.
Flash back one year. I had been in the city for only two months and recently joined St. Dominic’s. I had heard whispers about an upcoming trip to some nearby nature: Yosemite. The word certainly conjures up some fantastic imagery and thoughts of scaling the world. Unfortunately, of all of the weekends in the year, I had to have a business trip back home to Phoenix. While there is certainly plenty of natural beauty scattered throughout my state, I wanted forests and massive mountains. And more importantly, to experience the wonders with this new community I was coming a part of. But alas, duty called and I filed the notion of Yosemite to the back of my mind.
With September rolling around once again I made sure to constantly ask when Yosemite tickets were going to be available and secured mine early. Our car arrived to the park late in the night after experiencing classic San Francisco traffic, some fantastic barbeque, and brilliant conversations. On the way, we pulled over to fully experience one of my favorite sights: the stars. Their beauty and sheer number constantly stun me to silence. It always blows my mind to realize that looking at stars is looking into the past. After a few minutes of ogling at the night sky, we continued on to camp where we met up with the rest of our merry group and chatted late into the night.
Upon waking up and stepping out of our cabin, I froze mid-step. Driving up at night hid the massive edifices of Yosemite from our sight, and now, on the Valley floor in broad daylight, they rose up around us like giants. I had never seen anything so breathtaking. But I knew there were even more stunning views to come. Our group offered three different hikes to choose from, all with fantastic views and amazing people. I chose to tackle the medium difficulty hike: Nevada Falls. I quickly learned that “medium” can be used quite loosely. I struggled up the side of cliff, my legs screaming when reaching for each additional step carved into the façade. My small group which had splintered off finally reached the top. Success! We were ready to head back down…not knowing that right around the corner was the rest of our group and a view unlike anything I had seen in my life. Yosemite is described as, “the thin veil between heaven and earth.” That description fit perfectly as I looked out at never-ending forests and mountains that put skyscrapers to shame. God’s hand could clearly be seen in this beauty and the community of young adults around me.
The three groups reconvened at basecamp and were all filled with wonder from their amazing experiences. We came together to say a rosary around a roaring campfire, a surreal experience to say the least. There have been few times when I felt so connected to those around me and to God as I stared into the flames, focusing on each word of every prayer. This sense of togetherness carried on when two guitars appeared and the group joined our voices in song. A thunderstorm scattered some of us, but most of the group remained, singing through the storm. Our last act as a group was Sunday morning mass at Our Lady of the Snows. The perfect way to end the weekend, we were able to come together one more time and share our joy and our thanks with other members of the community. As we drove away, I could only think of the view from the top of Nevada Falls and the sense of connection I felt with God, nature, and those around me. I truly cannot wait to experience this magical place once again.