We all need a break every now and then, away from our normal routines.
And it has been said that ‘a change is as good as a holiday’, and we all like to visit someplace different.
However, whether you’re in a lock-down situation or incapable of travelling somewhere due to physical constraints or monetary constraints, you are still able to view some locations around the world.
How do we do this? With modern technology, be it simply with some wearable tech or a virtual reality device.
How does this happen? With devices counting your steps, or GPS tracking, we can simulate a walk in another country. For this experiment, I’m using a Fitbit Watch paired with a smartphone to hike through the Yosemite National Park in California.
What does this really mean though? During my day I now get a notification that I have reached a new landmark on my virtual trail. I can check out what I could be witnessing if I did this in the real world.
Yosemite National Park
When it comes to Yosemite, it doesn’t get more classic than Tunnel View! Driving out of the tunnel and into the parking lot, offers a spectacular first glimpse of El Capitan, Half Dome, and Bridalveil Fall. And when you return to your car at the end of your adventure, you can take it all in one last time before heading out.
Mountains in the mist
You’ll often see fog in Yosemite, wrapping its fingers around granite facades and spires, and wisping through trees as you hike along the trails. The park is generally wet – due to melting snow that accumulates during the winter months, forming Yosemite’s spectacular waterfalls and feeding its rivers: the Tuolumne and Merced.
On summer nights from 1872 to 1968, a voice called out “let the fire fall ‘ just before a bonfire tumbled over Glacier Point, cascading glittering embers down to the valley. But Large viewing parties were destroying the meadows, so officials banned the firefall. Today, crowds gather on the other side of the park in February to see a ‘firefall’ when the setting sun hits Horsetail Fall just right.
Sleep under the stars
There’s nothing like sleeping out of your tent to witness the Milky Way and the distant sparks of climbers’ headlamps on the valley walls. It’s just you – and the stars. Camping in the backcountry may be outside of your comfort zone, but the experience is worth it!
Made by hand
Take a break from looking up at Yosemite’s natural wonders, and look down to catch a glimpse of marks etched deep into the stones and steps beneath your feet – tangible reminders these paths were created by hand. The etchings come from drills and other tools used to cut the granite, in some cases more than a century ago.
Protecting the land
Yosemite had been a popular destination years before naturalist John Muir began writing beautiful words about the land. But he’s credited for putting it on the map. Dismayed to see a growing number of visitors littering the landscape with trash and livestock, Muir used the power of his pen to help persuade President Teddy Roosevelt to establish Yosemite National Park in 1890.
Look out at the world
This secret spot is one of many you’ll find just off the trail when you keep your eyes peeled. It offers an opportunity to gaze across the valley and admire Yosemite Falls! Not to mention a chance to appreciate how far your journey has taken you – no matter where your steps land.
Yosemite is a bucket-list for photographers, day or night. Even the soft lights of the valley floor can’t stop the stars from popping against the park’s clear, evening skies. Catch the Milky Way, shooting stars, and sparkling planets in the distance, and head out on a moonless night for the best possible light show.
Talk about resilience: Jeffrey Pines can grow at altitude, in dry, cold climates and poor soil. They can also withstand high winds, which are why the trees are sometimes bent. Ansel Adams famously photographed a twisted Jeffrey Pine atop Sentinel Dome in 1940, but the tree fell in 2003. Its windswept remains rest along the 8000-foot granite summit, and still exude an inimitable sense of beauty.
Warmth with a view
Cozy up at this popular meeting spot while taking in views of Half Dome and the valley. The Glacier Point fire pit provides welcoming warmth if you happen to cool down after a climb. There are other designated campfire spots around the park in campgrounds and specific wilderness areas (by permit) – yet this high-altitude hearth is a fan favorite.
Your steps will take you across all sorts of bridges – some stone and steel, others more wild, like the classic tress bridge at Muir Lake. Man-made or natural, they’re all taking you somewhere great.
Glacier Point’s Geology Hut has become a quintessential Yosemite photography spot. Originally built in 1924 to house an educational museum, the hut blends with the park’s natural granite features, and provides a stone frame for views of Half Dome, North Dome, and the Merced River Canyon. Arrive at sunset if you’d like, to catch Half Dome awash in pink.
Hacking your way to better fitness
However you want to incorporate technology into your daily routines, it can be a great way to motivate you to push a little bit further to achieve your goals even quicker.
What technology do you use to help hack your way to better living?