Impulse: Exploration Begins Here


By Cullen Kobayashi


I glance down at my feet as I sit, precariously perched over a cliff. My boots still glisten from the pristine water of the creeks that I traversed to reach the peak. A coral hue embodies the skies as the sun descends upon the mountains. Fresh snow contrasts the granite faces while towering above the luscious green forest below. Silence surrounds us, and rightfully so. Words do no justice in describing the absolute grandeur that I am a witness to.

Rewind a week:

I am preparing to spend a dull week at home for spring break. My plans never seemed to sprout from the ground and I have accepted going home as the only option for my break. By pure luck and some persuasion from my friends, I find myself packed in a car heading west just days later. Our destination is Yosemite, but besides that we don’t have a concrete plan in place.

This spontaneity was new to me. I have never went on an impulsive trip nor have I seen the west before. Each road brought a new experience and unfamiliar scenery. The hours dragged on at points, while other times an hour felt like a minute. We reach Yosemite State Park early on Friday morning. The drive down into the park is as terrifying as it is beautiful. Roads are cut out of the mountainside with the utmost precision. To the right of our car lays a few feet, a guardrail, and then a colossal drop to the forest ground. My heartbeat accelerates, I can feel the adrenaline coursing through my body as we scale down the treacherous roads into the valley. At last we make it; this is where the real trip begins.

Fast forward a few days: My friends and I embark on the last hike of the trip. With nothing else on our agenda but seeing the sunset we travel to Tunnel View, home to some of the most spectacular views in Yosemite. Following the course of spontaneity, we begin walking on a trail with no clue where it leads. We confer with a few friendly hikers along the way, each one with insight on the “best” view. Finally we come to the consensus that we would be hiking to Artist Point.

Our path is lined by sparse trees and an abundance of streams from the snowcaps above. Babbling down to the valley, the surge of water is resilient. It does not waver for any obstacle; instead it weaves it’s way onwards. Our feet are heavy as we trek forward; cracking twigs and loosening the rocks of our path. Infrequent foliage allows for glimpses of the impressive ridges beside us. A clearing appears. Light pours down upon us, signaling that we have reached Artist Point.

I take a seat on the cliff edge as I eagerly await the sunset. My friends and I are consumed by the awe-inspiring view. Speechless, I begin to reflect on this moment and the trip as a whole. Some people live their whole lives without experiencing this. Without impulse, none of this would be impossible. This trip taught me to take the risk, to leave my comfort zone. Adventures don’t begin with a routine but rather they arise from the unknowingness of your next move.