After Nick and I finished our hike and dinner in Yosemite, we decided to drive back up to Glacier Point so that we could see the sunset and look up at the stars.
It was about an hour drive. The road that you take to get up to Glacier Point goes right through the park, so at any given time, you might see deer or bears or waterfalls or mountains.
We were only in Yosemite for one day and one night. So what was I doing while we were driving up this beautiful road in my favorite national park?
Looking at pictures from our hike.
Because, you know, we got so many great ones that I couldn’t wait until we were home or on the plane.
About 10 minutes into our drive, Nick says to me: “Did you see that deer?!”
I said, “No! Where was it?”
Nick: “It was right next to our car! How did you miss it?!”
Me: “I was looking at pictures.”
Nick: “You’re gonna miss out if you do that. Just look at them later.”
Normally, I don’t like it when people tell me what to do, but I was annoyed that I missed the deer, and I knew that Nick was right, so I put the camera down.
I decided that I would show him — I would find another deer or possibly something even better. I kept my eyes looking out the window and was determined to one-up him.
Not even 5 minutes later, I screamed:
“THER’S A BEAR!!!”
Nick immediately turned around, parked the car, and we got out to see the bear. Brown bears live in Yosemite, but I had never seen one in my three visits. It was only that morning that I had been told that they are all different colors and mainly eat grass.
If I hadn’t known that, I might have missed this bear eating dinner in the field:
Earlier that day, a man who works in the park told me he usually sees one bear about every two weeks, so while they are common, you’re not always going to see them roaming around. They’re also scared of people so they keep to themselves, unless there’s food around.
Nick and I hung out from a good distance for a while, until the bear was heading back into the forest. I don’t think the bear even noticed us. I had never been that close to a bear before and it was an incredible moment.
This beautiful moments reminded me once again of the importance of being present. This was probably the most important lesson of our entire month-long trip. Sure, it’s fine to take pictures and send quick texts, but you don’t need to be staring at your phone, answering emails, checking Instagram, looking through all of your pictures, etc, on your vacation/weekend/date night/whatever.
Just live in the moment.
If you keep your eyes open, you will see that world is full of beautiful things. If you’re staring at a screen, you’re going to miss them.
A few weeks ago I wrote a long post about how travel has changed the way I live my life. Experiences like this make me more able to live in the present in everyday life.
Nick was driving and he said he didn’t see the bear from the car, so if I was still looking at my camera, we would have missed this awesome experience.