One night in 1999, after my partner and I chased a bear out Upper Pines Campground, we walked back through the campsite the bear had run through.

The person staying in that campsite had just arrived and was astounded by what he had just seen. In his state of near-ecstasy, he proclaimed us heroes, then went on refer to the bear as “a beautiful piece of machinery.” He was truly in awe. After he calmed down, he told us that he had just arrived (after dark) and, having been drawn to Yosemite by the likes of Half Dome and Yosemite Falls, was quite excited to see Yosemite Valley the next morning.

This man came to Yosemite in search of Half Dome and the waterfalls. Yet, I imagine that now, 11 years later, if you were to ask him what he remembers from his trip to Yosemite, it would not be Yosemite Falls or Half Dome—it would be the bear.

As the Yosemite Blog points out in point #6 of its tips on how to Make your Next Trip to Yosemite Better, those with an open mind can come to Yosemite and find something other than they what they were looking for. Has that been true for you?

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