Spring Has Sprung in Yosemite

Posted on in by John Degrazio

Half Dome from the Summit of El Capitan in Yosemite

Spring is my favorite season for many reasons. Waterfalls and wildflowers come to life and everything is green again. Spring is also a time to shake off the winter doldrums and get active again. My last post described some ways to stay active during the cold months, and this is now the time to really put a plan to action.

I have been able to enjoy some of my favorite activities throughout the past couple of weeks as I prepare for my summer season guiding in Yosemite National Park with YExplore. Sometimes I think it's a little unfair that I get to enjoy so much living in California's Sierra Nevada, but this is the life I've chosen and I couldn't be happier.

Spring is a time for longer hikes and bike rides as the warmer temperatures make it easier to start early and the extended daylight hours let us explore a little longer. I recently came down from a three day backpack trip in Yosemite Wilderness where I was able to summit a couple of popular peaks and take countless photographs from above Yosemite Valley. One of my favorite trails is Eagle Peak, known for its exceptional views along a peaceful path away from the crowds. Snow still lines some of the trail, but the lack of mosquitoes makes it incredibly enticing. On my latest expedition, I was able to take a day hike to the summit of El Capitan from our base camp where we explored the wild terrain above the world's most famous "Nose" by ourselves.


Fig Bars Make Great Climbing Partners

Although I have not yet climbed El Cap, it is a long term goal of mine. Climbing season begins in Spring, and I was able to spend a day with my partner on a couple different routes on the Glacier Point Apron. I have grown to love the sport of climbing and there's no more exhilarating experience for me than sticking my chalk-covered fingers into cracks of warm granite as I explore Yosemite geology on a vertical line. Plus, climbing routes always have the coolest names. My latest conquest was the Grack, a 3 pitch 5.8 climb overlooking Yosemite Falls and Eastern Yosemite Valley.

As much as I love climbing, I will have to say my favorite activity of all has to be hiking with my family. My daughters are now nine and three, and both are adopting a love of the outdoors. I recently took my family up the Mist Trail in Yosemite where I was able to watch my nine year old thrive as she gained 1000 feet of elevation in one and a half miles of hiking. She climbed the Giant Staircase like a champ and shared her ambitions of hiking to the top of Half Dome this summer. Taking my children hiking in the Sierra is easily the most rewarding aspect of my outdoor lifestyle. Watching them climb rocks and enjoy the scenery helps me know I made the right choice to come to California.


The DeGrazio Family Above Vernal Fall in Yosemite

Spending time outdoors with your family enables everyone to relieve the stress of being cooped up all winter. It also provides new challenges for your children and it's amazing to watch them succeed while developing new leadership skills. I think the greatest part of the hike was watching my daughter discover a new confidence in herself.

Spring is ephemeral, and summer will be here before we know it. There are still plenty of opportunities for wildflower walks and bike rides along with hikes alongside waterfalls. I only have one question. What are you waiting for?

John Degrazio

John has hiked and biked through thousands of miles of the Sierra Nevada and also enjoys the sport of rock climbing which offers incomparable adrenaline rushes and unique perspectives.

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