Dance amongst the clouds with our contributor, Marcie Moonridge.
All my life I’ve heard the phrase “reach for the sky”, but I’ve always found it best to dance amongst the clouds. My husband Shawn gifted me with my earth name, Low Cloud, just for that reason. He says I’m like the fog — it doesn’t want to reach for the sky because it’s too busy dancing on mountain tops.
Chasing the fog up mountain peaks and looking out into forever, my eyes resting on the furthest point on the horizon line…it grounds my soul. I am reminded of my place in the universe. I have an understanding and a peace with who I am in that moment.
We call ourselves weekend wanderers. It doesn’t matter if our week is consumed by deadlines and our mind swarmed with responsibility; when the weekend begins, we can release the week’s burdens and run. We just run, and let our feet lead our souls to places so beautiful our eyes can barely stand it.
We made a weekend escape to Yosemite, a place so dear to our hearts — a year ago, we escaped here on our wedding night, to sleep under the stars amongst the towering giant trees.
Living in San Francisco, we have access to so many beautiful mountain ranges within a few hour’s driving distance. If you are from out of state, Yosemite is only a 3 1/2 hour drive from the San Francisco Airport!
The earth is slowing down, the sky is painted in tones of grey and our hearts long for cozy night by the fire and hot cocoa.
What to pack!
A pair of hiking boots is essential when heading to the mountains. Hopping over boulders and trailing creek sides, meandering dirt trails and dancing in rain require a good pair of sturdy shoes that will keep your toes warm.
A camera! I am an obsessive visual memory hoarder, so I rarely venture out without a trusty camera. A 35mm disposable camera is just as fun as a digital — the grit and grain and realness that comes from a cheap drugstore camera is pretty unreal. I highly recommend you bring one.
An adventure buddy!! (I’ve had my fair share of lone wandering days, too. Two years, to be exact, when Shawn was serving a mission, so being alone is cool too! but…) Having someone to DJ your drive, howl at the moon with you, snuggle up in a tent or the back of your bus with, build an epic campfire, braid your hair and swap secrets with…anyone who will add to the magic of a mountain adventure!
Something to sleep in! Grab a tent, a car, a teepee, rent a cabin…there are so many options. Don’t forget to bring the rain fly!
Get the look: Fletcher Cable Poncho
Grab ALL of your cozy sweatshirts and jackets. Go crazy with layering, as the weather is often unpredictable this time of year. Scarves, beanies, thick socks and gloves are a must. When we first arrived in Yosemite, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. The morning after we woke up to rain pounding on the bus roof and, on our way home, we were detoured because of a snowed-out road. Be prepared to change plans on a whim!
I see the world through my camera lens; and so, I often view the world that way — cinematic — and music threads these beautiful sights and feelings together. Our current playlist is:
James Vincet McMorrow: Early In the Morning
Fleetwood Mac anything. (because when you are cruising up a mountain in a 73 Volkswagen bus, you need a Fleetwood fix)
Gregory Alan Isakov: This Empty Northern Hemisphere
Daughter: If You Leave (for the moody grey skies and rain fall, it’s hauntingly beautiful to pair together)
Islands: Bears Den
Angus and Julia Stone :An Old Friend album
Iron and Wine: Our Endless Numbered Days
Low Roar: Low Roar
You can’t go to Yosemite and not see Glacier Point, the ancient granite half-dome reaching 8,839 feet above the earth. As the sun sets upon it, Glacier Point looks like it was dipped in gold. For miles around there are only waterfalls, mountain peaks and trees, winding rivers trailing through bottomless canyons. It is otherworldly.
Let your mind settle. Lay out in a field and find satellites in the star-studded sky. Sing songs by the camp fire. Make hiking buddies, nurture laughter and love. And, as you’re packing to go home, you will know that you gained something on your trip. The mountains will always bestow passion for life, and time to ponder your plans. The mountains will always be calling you back.
+Where is your nature escape?