Some will rush to Disneyland to check out Mickey Mouse and his friends, others will venture to the beach to acquire that all-important tan, and perhaps the more serious among us will visit an historical site or two.
Shopping, browsing, sampling local foods—the world is beginning to return to “normal” again, with people doing what they like best regarding travel. But have you considered changing your travel routine to something different and soul-enriching? Why not reserve a guided tour to somewhere unique, a wondrous place where Indians and trappers and naturalists came before you? Think about hiking into the wilderness of Yosemite National Park.
At its best, a vacation can be about rest and introspection, a time to unwind and disconnect from the world. But it’s almost impossible to do that when you are surrounded by the stresses of everyday life, passing others who are rushing to complete their daily tasks. You may be on a holiday, but there is no denying that with our phones in our pockets 24-7, it can be challenging to escape from our buzzing email and text notifications, which creates the opposite experience to what a stroll in nature should be.
“Being in nature can boost your mood and improve mental health. Spending quality time in the great outdoors reduces stress, calms anxiety, and can lead to a lower risk of depression,” a Stanford University study notes. “In addition to having mental health benefits, being outdoors opens up your senses to your surroundings and improves your sensory perception.”
Now comes the unique part. How can one camp in a tent, on the ground, similar to how John Muir—the famous 19th-century photographer, naturalist, and environmental preservationist—did in the 1800’s and still consider it a luxury tour?
This is where our expertise comes in. We have the knowledge and skill to diplomatically plan and relate a tour and location to meet the needs of your private group while maintaining the respect and dignity of the natural treasure that is Yosemite. For example, would John Muir approve of caviar and a glass of chilled sauvignon blanc in the backcountry? Maybe. But more likely he would insist that you experience Yosemite like a native, both respectful to yourself and the community around you. That can mean meandering the high-country trails, climbing the steep hillsides or exploring where few others go, away from the typical tourists, to see the true heartbeat of the Sierra Nevadas. It’s the same style of trip Muir offered President Teddy Roosevelt in 1903.
Your visit to Yosemite, we believe, should reflect who you are and what you believe in. Are you the caviar and wine type? Then consider staying at the Ahwahnee Hotel during your time in the national park, even during one of their specialty events such as Vin de Vino or the Bracebridge Dinner. In other words, hiking and sweating your way to the top of Half Dome in the hot summer sun may not be up your alley. On the other hand, if you are a marathon runner or an Ironman contestant, then let’s tighten our shoelaces and venture into the wilderness to ascend some 13,000-ft. peaks. Do your Yosemite travel desires land somewhere in between? We can offer the Yosemite sightseeing experience to match your personality.
Even for newbies, learning how to backpack in Yosemite can be a rewarding experience. No embarrassment in front of a group or membership fees to join a new club here, just a small-tour operator in San Francisco who wants to connect you to the place he/she loves in a smooth way, so you can explore Yosemite safely and efficiently now and in the future—because not everyone wants to follow a tour guide with a flag.
And we notice this new tour trend not only in Yosemite. Many seek out our private San Francisco tours for the same reason, not wanting to feel like a head of cattle on a massive group tour. There is a big difference between a rehearsed speech and a local guide introducing you to his home.
Now this doesn’t mean other people don’t experience the beauty that is San Francisco by not touring with us. Far from it. The Golden Gate Bridge, Lombard Street, Chinatown—these are all wonderful places where you can enjoy yourself with or without a private guide. But is that the most efficient way to spend your limited time if you are new here? Do you feel like a tourist or a knowledgeable member of the community when you self-guide? The internet search bar can only help you so much.
That’s where a small-tour operator has a chance to be different, more personal. We offer what we do best, and what we enjoy, sharing our unique local knowledge, whether in Yosemite or the Bay Area. Eventually, we’ll most likely expand and offer more than intimate tours. But in the post-Covid era, we are seeing that life can be short, and providing insight and doing what feels good for everyone matters most to us.
Airplane Mode for Days
That’s why nature is number one for us, providing an escape from the ubiquitous phone, the busy world around us, and other technology. We miss the times before the internet when we would connect with each other face-to-face, without an interrupting ding, and want to offer private, intimate tours which promote that serenity. For example, can you think of the last time you were able to completely disconnect from technology for more than a few hours? Really. A permanent airplane mode for longer than a night, where you do not check, not even think about your text messages or email?
We all know the idea of turning off our phone, disconnecting from our family, friends, and potential emergencies, can be difficult to do. These devices are seemingly the connection to the world around us. They let us know what’s going on, the news, and bring us anything we need at the touch of our fingertips. To many, the phone might seem like the Swiss army knife of life. But are you a slave? Do you reach toward your phone more times than you should? Are you thinking about it now?
And what about your family? How many times have you caught them feverishly reaching for their phones to obtain their fix of dopamine? Do you do the same? Believe it or not, these are all signs of an addiction.
Your phone signal will be there when you get back. In the meantime, you’ve noticed real time out in real nature, doing real things with the people you love (or like). That might be the only thing to break the habit. We know because we see the change on our private tours. No electronics, no music, just a human connection. Think of it like this: Imagine you, after having a few days out hiking in nature with your companions with no interruptions. Will that give you time away from distractions so you can recalibrate on what’s most important to you? Your mind just might become clearer, the stress reduced.
The pandemic is hopefully winding down. Many are beginning to travel again, yet do you know how you want to explore in the post-Covid era? Yes, many like to relax while an expert takes care of the legwork, but can an experience like that be offered in a national park such as Yosemite, where you can hike to the top of Half Dome? We believe the recent pandemic has changed the psychology of many travelers, including luxury travelers.
There is no denying Disneyland or Disney World can be a fun place to visit with your family. But instant gratification will never replace the sweat and toil required to hike to a mountain peak. Maybe that sounds like a nightmare to a luxury traveler, in which case we recommend you stay in a hotel and take milder hikes. But for those looking to dirty their boots for an experience they will find nowhere else, we are in San Francisco and are one phone call away for a private Yosemite hike, short or long, simple or grueling. It’s about creating an unforgettable experience.