If you’re from a Korean church then you’ll know that a typical church winter retreat will always either be at Big Bear or Mammoth Mountain. There’s not really much to do but stay in the cabin and do nothing. So for this past winter retreat, I wanted to go somewhere new and different. I was sick of going to the usual place doing nothing. So back in October 2018, I suggested to my pastor and his wife that we should go to Yosemite for winter retreat. I thought it would be great to try going to another national park since my church went to Zion National Park two summers ago.
I was super excited to go since there was going to be snow and from the videos in Facebook, Yosemite looked like the winter wonderland. I was all set and ready to make a snowman and snow angels. Unlike me, most of the people weren’t as excited to go. Technically, I kinda forced them to go but let’s just omit that part lol.
We left on December 28 at around 6am in the morning. I made sure my car was loaded with snacks and gummy bears. It took us around more than 6 hours to get to our hotel. After, we drove inside to Yosemite and to my huge disappointment, there wasn’t any snow in sight. To be honest, I was pretty sad to see that Yosemite wasn’t how I imagined it to be. But as we kept on driving, my disappointment started to disappear as I saw the beautiful landscapes of Yosemite. We saw waterfalls and rivers, everywhere I looked everything was breathtaking. As we called it a day and drove back to our hotel, we accidentally took a wrong path and somehow came upon a small patch of snow. Immediately, I stopped my car and ran out to play with the snow. Even the snow was too icy to make a snowman; I was able to ride the sled that Pastor Yang brought with him.
On the second day, we drove back up to Yosemite to check out Bridalveil Fall. Like the other fall, this place also was very crowded with tourists everywhere. Huge thundering noise echoed as the ice cracked and breaked off of the falls. Since Bowas and I lost the game the previous night, we had to wash our face in the water. As soon as I dipped my hands in the river, I questioned my life. OH MY GOODNESS the water was hella freezing. My hands instantly became a block of ice and I wasn’t able to feel my hands at all. Hurriedly, I splashed my face with the freezing water which also made my face become a block of ice.
After lunch, our second and last destination was Mirror Lake. The lake was so clear that it reflected the beautiful mountains exactly. As we walked further in, we came upon a frozen lake. Some parts of the lake was melting so the ice was able to easily break. From some dumb reason, I thought it would be fun to walk across the frozen lake to the other side. I was shuffling my feet instead of striding because I was scared that the ice might break anytime soon. After each step, I would hear cracking noises under my feet. I low-key started to panic and started to make a run towards the other side. Okay, not run but more like panic shuffling. I was so close when my left foot stepped on the wrong place and it fell into the lake. My left foot got soaking wet but thankfully, the weather picked up so it wasn’t as cold. But throughout the rest of the day, I had to drag my soaking wet foot everywhere.
Because of the government shutdown, traffic was a total mess and nightmare. We were riding the shuttle bus back to our car but it got stuck in a very congested traffic. The bus wasn’t able to get out because cars were everywhere. Everyone was tired and started to become frustrated. After not budging for 10 minutes, we decided it was best to just walk back to our car. It took us more than an hour and one stop to nature’s way to get to our car.
After the grueling trek to our car, we drove back to the hotel to wash up and rest a little. Everyone was starving so we were debating where to eat. I was about to settle on Denny’s when Ciel suggested that we should go to South Gate Brewing Company. It got over 900 reviews and solid 4 stars so we decided to give it a try. I ordered the South Gate Philly Sandwich with garlic fries. The sandwich was pretty good but it was a little too cheesy for me. I wish they added more meat inside because my sandwich looked pretty empty on the inside. The garlic fries were good but they were too oily and heavy. But overall, if I were to come back to Yosemite again, I would eat here one more time.
We went back to our hotel and all the girls washed up to get ready for my animal face sheets that I bought. I chose the panda mask and let me just to tell you I did not look cute. At all. When I looked at the mirror, I was shocked to see my face. It made my eyes look like they were far apart. Honestly… I don’t want to do another animal face mask again. While we were putting on our face sheets, Lesley suggested that we play UNO and whoever lost had to smell one of the guy’s armpit. I didn’t want to have that tragic fate fall on me so I made damn sure that I wasn’t going to lose.
But Zoey and Lesley almost made it impossible for me to win because they kept on hitting me with the plus cards. At the end, it was just me and Scarlet and by God’s grace, I didn’t lose. Apparently, I screamed so loud that Jonghyun heard me even though he was sleeping LOL. We went to the guys’ room and out of all the guys, we chose Bowas because he had the hairiest armpit. Mind you, the guys just came back from the sauna room so they smelled like sweat and ass. Scarlet was shocked to see how hairy Bowas was and it took her few minutes to muster up the courage to smell it. I took a video of her smelling his armpit and being scarred for life. Man… every time I watch that video it cracks me up.
Even though Yosemite wasn’t a winter wonderland, I had a great time because I was able to spend time with the ones that I love and care about. Memories were created and it was a great experience. I would love to come back here again during either spring or summer. I’m sure Yosemite would be more beautiful during that time of the year.