Yosemite is the third most visited national park in the United States with almost 4 million guests in 2012, and right now it’s closed. I was lucky to visit before the government shutdown temporarily shuttered this national treasure.
Fortunately, it won’t stay closed long as a deal in the Senate appears to be on the verge of reopening the government and national parks along with it.
Late last month I took a 3-day backpacking trip, lead by Southern Yosemite Mountain Guides, to the park. This was my third time to California and first time to Yosemite. In the short time I was there, I became convinced that there can’t be many other places on earth that pack in even half of the jaw-dropping views I saw while hiking the North Rim Trail.
With trees that seem to touch the clouds and an endless jigsaw of granite monoliths, the 22-mile loop is one idyllic panorama. Add to this an endless potential of camping locations and the North Rim Trail hike easily takes the cake as my favorite weekend-sized adventure.
I hope the gates are soon lifted to this and many other national treasures. Until then, enjoy some photos of one of the most beautiful places on earth. —Amy Oberbroeckling