A Merced Summer Day by Sean Marc Lee in The Merced River, Yosemite National Park, California

I currently live in Taipei, Taiwan, for a little over two years now, but I have been visiting Yosemite National Park annually for over 20 years with my family. Summer never really begins until I come here. Even with all the grand waterfalls, hiking trails, giant sequoia groves and wildlife, nothing beats lazy rafting and lounging in the Merced River that runs straight through the valley.

This is what I look forward to the most every year. Crisp cold mountain water, perfect weather, surrounded by towering granite walls and the people I care about the most in my life. Some years it’s the whole entire family, other years I bring friends. Every year is always guaranteed to be great. (Except that one year in 1990 when the largest forest fire in the history of the park was happening and I had to sleep in the trunk of our mini-van).

Name:Sean Marc Lee



All the above

Tell us about the place you live:

Yosemite National Park. Despite the increasing amount of tourism every year, I am still constantly amazed by it. I’m even more amazed it’s only about 4 hours from San Francisco, and about 5.5 from Los Angeles. Both cities I still continue to call home. Even living half way across the world now, it’s something to look forward to each year.

A perfect day?

Arrive the first day early afternoon, set up camp/check in (if you are “glamping” – glamorous camping). Set up that folding chair, turn on some music, smell the forest pine air.

Begin the next day bright and early, take a hike up the mist trail for Vernal Falls and Nevada Falls if you are up to it. Bring some fruit and snacks to rest up top in spot under a tree with your feet in the cold mountain water. Descend by lunch, half a deli sandwich at Degnan’s Deli. Walk back to your campsite, take an afternoon nap. Put your swimsuit on, float down the river or lounge on the shores of it for a few hours. Head back, freshen up, eat some dinner and then take an evening walk to Lower Yosemite Falls watching bats fly overhead. Finally, end the night just lounging with conversation, music and a drink or two.

Rinse and repeat for the next day.

What is the best thing about your spot?

I have yet to grown tired of it after 20+ years.

What is the worst?

The crowds and tourism, at the same time it’s nice to see the National Park Association close areas off for regrowth and restoration and seeing it work.

What would be surprising about this place to an outsider?

The main tourist part in the valley is only about 7.5 miles long and 1 mile wide, but the entire park is about 1,190 square miles. There’s so much to see outside the valley and most visitors never realize it.

Before I die I want to visit:


Who are three of your favorite artists?

Filmmakers inspire me the most, but admittedly I’ve been slacking lately, but the last films that I saw that I enjoyed were Abbas Kiarostami‘s “Like Someone In Love,” a fresh 35mm reprint/projection of Yasujiro Ozu’s “Tokyo Story” and Derek Cianfrance‘s “A Place Beyond the Pines




Name:Sean Marc Lee


Favorite place to eat:

Usually we make our own salads and premade food, but the go to nice place is the Mountain Room at The Yosemite Lodge

Favorite place to drink:

The best bar is the drinks you bring to enjoy at your campsite!

Favorite shop:

The Village Store

Local Tip:

It is completely a different experience depending on what season you come, winter brings snow but not many activities. Summer is the best but has crowds. Early summer has the best water levels as by late July/August it mostly has dried up.

Must Do:

Lounge in the river!