one year anniversary trip to yosemite national park

And after ten years of wandering and wondering in the heart of it, rejoicing in its glorious floods of light, the white beams of the morning streaming through the passes, the noonday radiance on the crystal rocks, the flush of the alpenglow, and the irised spray of countless waterfalls, it still seems above all others the Range of Light.
— John Muir, The Yosemite

Considering how much we travel, one of the most common questions we get asked is "what is your favorite place you've been?" and we always hesitate because it truly is an even tie between Moab, Utah and Yosemite National Park. They hold high places in our hearts for a lot of reasons, some immensely different and some just the same. 

I first went to Yosemite with my family when I was 10 years old, and I really wish I had a story more like Royal Robbins (the first time he saw those walls at a young age, he dreamed of climbing them, and has gone down in history with a lot of significant first ascents!) or Chris Burkard (the valley filled him with wonder and inspired his path to photography). I am going to be completely honest and tell you that while I do remember peering over glacier point for the first time, and I do remember feeling the mist of bridal veil falls as a kid, the most significant thing I remember from that first trip was playing with a chunk of ice we found on the edge of the Merced (Texas kid probs). The second time I went was with my family again, at age 16, and it was the first big trip Callen joined my family on! I'll give you one guess as to where my 16-year-old brain's primary focus went during that trip. But something about the valley stuck with me, a tiny seed of wonder, and it grew and grew for those next few years I spent in Texas.

At some point, that seed sprouted and my heart started dreaming it's way back to the valley on a regular basis. There was something about those walls that I missed like crazy. In college, I began painting them from photos, researching anything and everything I could find about the park. I watched Valley Uprising and I swear to you, I felt my heart ache for Yosemite. When Callen and I got engaged and began planning a wedding, it wasn't even a discussion where our honeymoon would be, it was obvious! If there was any question of my love for the valley before, it was fully set in stone the minute we arrived in December 2014. I will never forget the hours we spent just sitting in the meadow staring up at half dome, talking about our wedding, our hopes and dreams for our marriage, and how incredibly happy we were. Pretty much as soon as we were back home, we were dreaming of our next trip to Yosemite.

It's amazing to me how much has changed between our honeymoon and our one year anniversary trip to Yosemite. Since that trip, we have developed such a travel-oriented lifestyle that I couldn't have even dreamed of then. We have built a fulfilling photography business that we both love, and we've discovered so many new places that spark a similar heart-ache home-sick feeling when we're away from them. But Yosemite has held strong on that special spot in our hearts. We love this valley. My hope for these photos is for them to remind you of how Yosemite makes you feel if you've been there, or inspire you to get the heck out there if you haven't!! And be sure to watch the video Callen made at the bottom of this blog post!


watch Callen's video from the trip:

Yosemite National Park // Hearnes Celebrate Year 1 // via Callen Hearne