For nearly two decades massage therapist Marla Nunes has helped her clients improve their well-being by using various therapeutic techniques such as myofacial release and deep tissue massage to help relax contracted muscles, reduce pain, increase blood flow and circulation, relieve tension along with other health benefits that come from massage therapy.
With the very nature of her job being that of creating stress relief for others, Marla has learned over the years that in order to be the best therapist she can be, she too must find ways to relieve her own stress, to unwind and take a step back from the daily grind in order to refocus and regain the energy needed to help her clients. But where does a massage therapist, who spends her days focused on the needs of others, go to relax, slow down and regroup? For Marla, one such perfect place is Yosemite National Park.
Together with her husband Bill, the outdoors-loving couple regularly enjoys taking the drive up Highway 120 to visit the 150-year-old national park. There the couple takes delight in long, peaceful hikes through the majestic woods filled with cedar, pine, black oak and sequoia trees. The fresh, crisp air and the spotting of wild animals in their natural habitat such as black-tailed deer’s, make for the perfect tranquil getaway.
“We love experiencing nature and getting away from the TV, computer, and the responsibilities of home and work,” Marla said. “We believe that it is very important to have a balance in life. Being in nature reminds us to prioritize the things that really matter most.”
Marla and Bill have backpacked to the High Sierra Camps and have enjoyed staying in the nearby canvas tent cabins available with wood-burning stoves at different times but have also found that staying outside the park has its benefits as well. Spending the night at one of the bed and breakfast cottages just outside the park allows the couple the opportunity to arrive at the park entrance in the morning, beating some of the crowd without having to rush through packing up and getting out of the tent cabins before sunrise.
Now having familiarity at the national park, Marla suggests Yosemite Valley as the perfect place for first time visitors but does note the importance of arriving at the park entrance early as it gets crowded and mid-morning traffic is quick to slow to a crawl making parking hard to find.
While Yosemite Valley is approximately an hour drive away from the park entrance, as Marla and Bill have discovered, there is so much to do there that it makes the extra drive worth it.
“In the valley there are bike rentals, walking trails and beautiful hiking trails that range from easy to strenuous,” she said. “There’s also lodging, shops, museums, nice options for dining and also a hybrid shuttle bus that allows visitors to see a great deal of the park.”
Some of the favorite places to visit in Yosemite for the couple include Tuolumne Meadows and Glacier Point not only because the view in both areas are simply breathtaking but because the crowds are fewer which allows for more quiet time to take it all in.
Another favorite and admittedly most scenic site for Marla and Bill is Glen Aulin which follows along the Tuolumne River at an elevation of nearly 7,800 feet. “The hike to Glen Aulin is spectacular.”
One exceptional site at Glen Aulin area according to Marla is the Waterwheel Falls. This waterfall is considered the most unusual waterfall in Yosemite due to its natural design which causes the water to shoot into a groove then soar up high in the sky before continuing downstream. It is most assuredly a site worth seeing.
Hiking through the natural beauty of Yosemite National Park, breathing in the pure, fresh air and taking in the many stunning sites is the right kind of therapy for anyone, including this massage therapist, needing to get-away from their daily routine and experience peace and relaxation.