During my recent trip to California, I decided to check a few items off my bucket list. Simply visiting California was something I had never done before, but I wanted to see as much as I could in the five days I was there. One of those things was to see the Raiders play in Oakland for the very last time, and the other was to visit Yosemite National Park.

I had heard of Yosemite before, but never imagined I'd ever have the opportunity to go. We stayed in San Francisco, which is about 3 hours away from Yosemite. However, I knew they offered bus tours to and from the park, so I figured that was our best bet. The night before (why did I wait that long?) I decided to try to book our day trip to Yosemite only to find out every tour was sold out. We couldn't do it the next day because of the game, so we were devastated that we missed our shot. My fiance was not about to let this opportunity to pass us up, so he started brainstorming.

After some negotiation, we decided to rent a car and go ourselves. Now, we had no idea what to expect and neither of us had ever navigated California roads before...let alone up the Sierra Nevada's. I was a little intimidated, as I'm used to Indiana's flat and relatively boring commutes. For just $50 we rented the car for an entire day and started our trek to Yosemite. The drive alone was breathtaking - rolling hills and mountains filled with evergreen. To some it might just be a landscape, but to me it was a dream. My fiance and I love the mountains, so we felt blissful during the entire experience.

Yosemite was the part of California I had to see before leaving. After being less than impressed with San Francisco, we needed something to prove to us this trip was worth it. And boy, Yosemite didn't disappoint.

Take a look, even though pictures hardly do it justice.

I was able to see real, natural waterfalls (another bucket list thing). 

How is this even real?

This is the Half Dome. Unfortunately it was clouded during our trip, but the snow caps are still visible.

This is probably my favorite photo I've ever taken. You can't tell just how huge these mounds of rock are, but it's astonishing.

This was our favorite part of the entire park. It's called El Capitan and holy moly...it's humongous. It is so big that it doesn't even seem real when you're standing next to it. I've snowboarded down several impressive mountains, but this was an entirely new experience.

If Yosemite isn't on your bucket list, I highly recommend adding it. While we didn't get our and explore too much, I would love to go back and camp there for a long weekend. I do recommend taking the time to stay, and I wish so desperately we could've. It's too much and too beautiful to try to cram into one day.

So, to sum it up: San Fran, nah. Yosemite, yah.

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