August 17, 2017

Stop & Breathe: 7 lessons from Yosemite and Out West

I: Travelling is better with those you love.

I love travelling alone. And, I’ve done quite a bit of it.

But, I love sharing moments with another person.

I want to share the same laughter, the same tears, and the same awe-inspiring moments together. As Christopher McCandless states in Into the Wild, “happiness is only real when shared,” and in moments like these, it’s difficult to disagree.


II: Out west, it snows… 

during the month of May. So bring that down jacket.

For those unaware, I reside in the southeastern United States in the mountains of Northern Georgia.

Here, we hardly even get snow during the winter, so seeing several feet of (melting) snow on Tioga Pass made me exceedingly happy and surprised. I gladly slipped on my down jacket to avoid the chill during our adventure. And, as an added plus, we also saw some snow on our way to (and at) the Grand Canyon! Weeeeee!


III: Wildlife is everywhere. Even in your bag of tuna.

This blasted (but kinda cute) squirrel at Camp 4 decided to sneak into one of our bags of tuna before any of us noticed!

IV: DO NOT drive 2,438 miles in two days.

In our defense, we just finished up spring semester classes at college, and we were on a time crunch: we had work to get back to, and we only had a week’s time with the rental car.

So we drove, and drove, and drove, and drove. And groaned at the start of each day when the GPS read, “21 hours until destination.”

We drove through…

  • tornado weather
  • dust storms
  • snow storms
  • and heat lightning

There was even a lightning bolt that blew up a transformer right next to our vehicle in Oklahoma. But, Robert kept cruising down the highway whilst I freaked in the backseat.

We camped out at a McDonald’s parking lot in Arizona, and camped under the stars in California.

We were EXHAUSTED, but my gosh, we had a blast.


V: Get THAT photo. 

Every time I travel somewhere new, I always try to get THAT photo; the photo that epitomizes my entire trip; the image that stands as a constant reminder of the smells, the sounds, the sights, the views, and the feelings of each moment. And, I know instantly when I take such a photo.

The picture featured below, from our hike to Glacier Point, is that photo for me; that hike, mind you, was one of the most painful, but one of the most beautiful that I’ve ever done. I highly recommend it for anyone willing to endure four miles (one way) of switchbacks!


VI: Elevation + wind = nosebleeds.

I never had a nosebleed in my entire life…

until I hiked a trail that ascended above El Capitan.


VII: Last, but not least…

Stop and breathe.

The sights of Yosemite and the west taught me to stop, listen, and breathe in places that speak to my heart and ignite my imagination. El Capitan, Tioga Pass, and the views from the hike to Glacier Point did that for me.


All photographs were taken with my 5D Mark II, and my 50mm F/1.4. 

I'm a small wedding and elopement photographer based in the beautiful and mountainous North Georgia. I absolutely LOVE what I do, and truly believe that it's my life's calling to capture and craft incredible elopement days for intentional, eco-conscious couples! But, when I'm not adventuring with couples, you can find me out in nature with my adventure pup Kamots and my love Robert. 

hi, I'm kayla

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