Stop and smell the trees. We did that and more as we hiked the Panorama Trail from Glacier Point to Happy Isles during our stay in Yosemite National Park.
Manny, our bus driver who dropped us off at the Glacier Point trailhead, encouraged the behavior. That’s the only way for sure you’ll know whether you’re in the company of a Jeffery pine. So go ahead, bury your nose into the mammoth tree trunk – high enough that the fragrance isn’t spoiled by other low-lying mammals – and take a big whiff for the aroma of vanilla, caramel or butterscotch.
As I landed my nose into what looked like the tall and narrow pine tree, I detected cream soda. Thereafter, it was obviously butterscotch I smelled when I stumbled upon a Jeffrey. All of our sniffers pick up slightly different scents, but vanilla is the common denominator among all of them, Manny reasoned, so smell for it.
When surrounded by such mouth-dropping beauty, it’s easy to get lost in the moment. Like walking into a grand European cathedral, pictures can never depict the experience because it’s so much more than visual. It was the feel of being surrounded by dizzying steep granite walls, the smell of fresh pine-scented mountain air and the churning sounds of water dropping thousands of feet to the valley floor that captivated us in Yosemite.
Regardless of the exact scent – or surroundings – we can take a cue from nature and use all our senses to contemplate the greatness around us. Whether it be a shared laugh among family or taking in a stunning spectacle of nature, stopping to appreciate what’s right in front of our nose is the best lesson from the trail.