You know when you have one of those moments... when you are some place, or with someone and you think... "this is as good as it gets" and you soak in all the sights, sounds and smells that surround you at that moment?
One of those moments hit me in 2003 when I was visiting Yosemite National Park with my best friend, T. We had climbed up to the top of the Sentinel Dome without knowing what we were about to experience. We stood there in awe as we took in the 360 degree view of mountains, waterfalls, cloud formations, and the amazingly beautiful Jeffrey Pine (the remains of it... it had died in the 1977 drought) that was perched ontop of the rocks. I looked over at T and said "this is as close to 'heaven on earth' as I'll ever get"... time stood still... to feel the wind and see such untouched beauty... it made me feel so alive.
The Jeffrey Pine no longer stands atop of the Sentinel Dome. Not long after our visit, it toppled over during a storm. When I heard the news, it made me sad... but I felt so fortunate to have experienced being up there with it... this tree that had been made famous by an Ansel Adams photograph.
Our two-week trip out west in 2003 was great. We travelled to the Grand Canyon, Sequoia National Forest, Yosemite National Park, Yellowstone National Park, and the Black Hills. We saw many great sights and really experienced the beauty that the U.S. has to offer.
The landscape of Yosemite
But by far, Yosemite touched me and I will always treasure the time I spent within the park and especially up on the Sentinel Dome.