My Grandparents used to live in Oakhurst, CA, right outside of the southern entrance to Yosemite National Park. I was fortunate because this enabled me to visit the park, and surrounding places like Bass Lake, many times. The Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad is a memory straight from my childhood, as we stopped by top see this train many times.
This past Saturday was the first time I had a chance to actually ride on it. I’m not exactly sure why we never rode it as kids. I think it’s because whenever we stopped to see it, it was either on our way to or from visiting Yosemite itself. It was never really a destination.
The train takes a 4 mile round trip loop through the surrounding forest. It’s based on an old logging train, so much of the narration from the tour guide is focused on the logging history in the area. We opted for the first ride in the morning, 9:30 AM, and were joined by a tour bus full of Koreans on their way to the park.
While I started off taking pictures of everything I could, mostly to start getting used to the new camera, I ended up putting the camera away about halfway through the ride. The combination of the fresh mountain air, the scenery (the trees!), and just being “in the moment” with my wife and friends was far better than experiencing everything through a viewfinder.
It just felt good to be there. To take everything in. To relax. All in all, it was a fun way to spend the Saturday.