In Episode 79 of the Wandering But Not Lost Podcast, co-hosts Matt Emerson and Jan O’Brien turn the conversation toward motivation and mindset.  In our WBNL 52, we walk you through how implementing a daily success routine will get you started on the right foot and improve your overall game.  In Wandering Zen, Matt takes us up into the high country of Yosemite and shares the sights and sounds of Tioga Pass.



WBNL 52:  Your Daily Success Routine

In this episode, we focus on motivation and mindset, specifically starting your day off on the right foot and a positive note.


What is Your Morning Ritual?

How you start your day truly impacts how the rest of the day plays out!

Adopt a daily ritual. A morning routine, to start your day in a positive mindset and with focused intention.  Show up every day: Mentally, Physically, Emotionally and Spiritually.  Now more than ever it’s important to get up, do your morning mindset ritual, get dressed for success and get to work!

Some suggestions:

  • Morning meditation or prayer
  • Read a few pages from a book that inspires you
  • Daily gratitude – journal what you are grateful for each morning
  • Exercise, stretch, take a walk
  • Review your goals and say your affirmations
  • Eat a healthy breakfast
  • Review your day’s tasks and schedule

Win the day – know your measurement for daily success

What are the one to three specific things you could on a daily basis that would really drive your business and life goals? What are the one to three actions that have the highest return and the most valuable use of your time?

Do the most important things first in the morning, preferably without interruption, for 60 to 90 minutes, with a clear start and stop time. If possible, work in a private space during this period, or with sound-reducing earphones. Finally, resist every impulse to distraction, knowing that you have a designated stopping point. The more absorbed you can get, the more productive you’ll be. When you’re done, take at least a few minutes to reflect and refresh.

Some ideas to get you started:

  • Make “X” connections with people in my database
  • Send “X” personal notes
  • Add one new person to my database
  • Set one appointment daily
  • Make “X” calls, texts, emails to my niche or primary prospecting target
  • Hand out 5 business cards and ask for business, a referral or for permission to add them to my database

I have two daily measurements for business success (the growth of my brokerage) that has helped me stay focused in the chaos of any given day.  My daily success measurement is to accomplish at least one of these daily actions:

  1. Five connections with agents
  2. One recruiting appointment set

I am happy to report; this is really working for me!  Regardless of how busy and full my day is, I know that I am not finished and the day is not a success until I have either set one recruiting appointment or talked to at least five agents about scheduling a meeting.

Final thought on winning the day, get an accountability partner!

I have an accountability partner for my morning routine and one for my business daily success.  This added layer of support truly motivates and keeps me on task.

In today’s instant access and fast-paced world, we can all benefit from the power of slowing down and staying focused an a few key things that are the true drivers of our overall success.

  • What is your morning routine?
  • How will you win the day and the week? 
  • Who is your accountability partner?

Mentioned in this episode:

My Path 2019 (Download)


Wandering Zen – Tioga Pass



Yosemite’s high country is something that should not be missed.  Today we wander the Tioga Road through giant trees, granite cliffs, glacial lakes, and meandering meadows.




If you are a regular to The WBNL Podcast it is no surprise to you that this one is on the list.  Yosemite National Park is my thoughtful spot, my home base and most definitely where I find Wandering Zen.  It is also home to one of the very best alpine roads in the country.  CA-120 or the Tioga Road is the only eastbound exit in this area of the Sierras and it takes you on a different adventure with each trip.  From Yosemite Valley to Lee Vining you are looking at about an 80-mile drive which should take you a couple of hours with no stops.  Of course, that is an impossible feat because there are many sites to see as well as some of the very best hiking in the park.  Here are some of the highlights:


Tuolumne Grove

Located just east of Crane Flat, the Tuolumne Grove has about two dozen mature giant sequoias. Sequoias are only visible after a one-mile hike with 500 feet of elevation loss. (The one-mile hike back to the parking lot gains 500 feet and is strenuous.)  The drive takes about 45 minutes from Yosemite Valley. Parking is limited.

Merced Grove

Located on the Big Oak Flat Road east of Big Oak Flat Entrance and approximately 6 miles west of Crane Flat, the Merced Grove has about two dozen mature giant sequoias. Sequoias are only visible after a 1.5-mile hike with 500 feet of elevation loss. (The 1.5-mile hike back to the parking lot gains 500 feet and is strenuous.)  This grove is also about 45 minutes from Yosemite Valley. Parking is extremely limited here.

Olmstead Point

This is a must-stop location along Tioga Road.  The views back toward Yosemite Valley are stunning and you get a fantastic look at Half Dome from a different angle than you are used to seeing it with on the Valley floor.  Fredrick Law Olstead was an American landscape architect, journalist, social critic, and public administrator. He is popularly considered to be the father of American landscape architecture. Olmsted was famous for co-designing many well-known urban parks such as Central Park in NYC.  He, among many others including his son, were instrumental in the development of the National park Service and protecting Ameria’s wild and grand spaces

Tenaya Lake

This spectacular alpine lake is located between Yosemite Valley and Tuolumne Meadows. The lake sits at 8,150 feet and was formed by glacial action.  Get out and give your legs a stretch here and take a short walk along the shore. 

Tuolumne Meadows

At 8,600 feet, Tuolumne Meadows is one of the largest high-elevation meadows in the Sierra Nevada. From this point all the way to the south of Mt. Whitney, no other roads cross the High Sierra. Thus, this roadway marks the northern end of the largest contiguous roadless wilderness in the continental United States.

Within Tuolumne Meadows, visitors see the Tuolumne River meandering quietly through its meadow channel and cascading over the granite river bottom against a backdrop of rugged mountain peaks and glacially carved domes. The river, declared by Congress a Wild and Scenic River in 1984, originates in the high country near the east side of the park.

What is the source of Tuolumne Meadows groundwater and where does it go? Water sources include two forks deep in Yosemite’s wilderness—the Dana and the Lyell—and include three creeks—Budd, Delaney, and Unicorn. The Tuolumne River runs through the middle of the meadows, for three miles, and is supplied by snowmelt and hill-slope aquifers. In spring as soon as the snow melts, it is not uncommon to see large areas of the meadows flooded and practically transformed into a lake. Most of the water that filters through Tuolumne Meadows eventually becomes the drinking water for San Francisco, via the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir. That water is so clean, that it is one of the few urban reservoirs in the United States to require only minimal water treatment.


Hikes in Tuolumne Meadows Area  (descriptions from the NPS website)

Tuolumne Meadows: Soda Springs and Parsons Lodge (easy)

1.5 miles (2.4 km) round-trip; 1 hour

Begin at Lembert Dome parking area (shuttle stop #4)

Walk along the gravel road and pass the locked gate (signed Glen Aulin and Soda Springs). Soda Springs—carbonated, cold water bubbling out of the ground—is protected within a log enclosure. Historic Parsons Memorial Lodge offers exhibits (limited hours—see Yosemite Guide for schedule). A path winds to the bridge below and continues on to the Tuolumne Meadows Visitor Center.


Lyell Canyon via the John Muir Trail (easy)

8 miles (12.9 km) round-trip, 200-foot elevation gain; four hours

Begin across the road from the Dog Lake parking area (shuttle stop #2)

This trail passes through Lyell Canyon, along the Lyell Fork of the Tuolumne River. Early in the season, the trail can be muddy in places (please remain on the trail even if it’s muddy). There are several creek crossings, including Rafferty Creek (bridged) and Ireland Creek (unbridged). Spectacular Kuna Creek cascades down the side of the east canyon wall near the eight-mile mark.

For a shorter trip, walk 1/2 hour each way to the Lyell Fork and “Twin Bridges.”


Elizabeth Lake (moderate)

4.8 miles (7.7 km) round-trip, 1,000-foot elevation gain; 4 to 5 hours

Begin at Tuolumne Meadows Campground near group camp

The trail begins in the B loop of the campground and climbs steadily to a glacier-carved lake at the base of Unicorn Peak. The return hike follows the same route.

A cirque rises behind a partially snow covered Gaylor Lake

Gaylor Lakes (moderate)

2 miles (3.2 km) round-trip, 500-foot elevation gain; 2 hours.

Begin at Tioga Pass Entrance Station. (Shuttle service is available twice per day.)

This hike offers some of the most spectacular high-country views off of Tioga Road. From the trailhead, climb steadily to a ridge with views of the high Sierra including Mt. Dana and Dana Meadows with its scattered ponds. At the ridge crest, the trail drops 200 feet to Middle Gaylor Lake. Return via the same route.


Cathedral Lakes (moderate)

7 miles (11.3 km round-trip), 1,000-foot elevation gain; 4 to 6 hours.

Begin at Cathedral Lakes trailhead, 1/2 mile west of the Tuolumne Meadows Visitor Center, Shuttle Stop #7

The trail climbs steadily to Upper Cathedral Lake. Near the top of the climb, it passes a spur trail to Lower Cathedral Lake (0.5 mile to lake). The return hike follows the same route. This is one of the busiest trails in the Tuolumne Meadows area. Since parking at the trailhead is limited, consider taking the shuttle bus.

Upper Sardine Lake (foreground) with Mono Lake in distance. Photo by Victoria Mates.

Mono Pass (moderate)

8 miles (12.9 km) round-trip, 1,000-foot elevation gain; 4 to 6 hours.

Begin at Mono Pass trailhead, on the Tioga Road six miles east of Tuolumne Meadows (shuttle service is available twice per day).

This historic, trans-Sierra trail climbs gently at first from the Mono Pass parking area, through wet meadows and rushing creeks. At the Spillway Lake junction, the trail climbs steadily and more steeply to Mono Pass (elevation 10,600 feet). Don’t miss the spectacular view of Mono Lake and Bloody Canyon: from the pass, hike a bit farther toward Upper Sardine Lake.

Waterfall cascades into calm water, Glen Aulin. Photo by Victoria Mates.

Glen Aulin (moderate)

11 miles (17.7 km) round-trip, 800-foot elevation gain; 6-8 hours

Follow the Tuolumne River as it drops to Glen Aulin. Tuolumne Fall and White Cascade are four miles from the trailhead. Beyond Glen Aulin are California Fall (13 miles roundtrip), LeConte Fall (15 miles roundtrip), and Waterwheel Falls (18 miles roundtrip). The return hike follows the same route.

Dog Lake; peaks rise in background. Photo by Victoria Mates.

Dog Lake and Lembert Dome (moderate)

Dog Lake: 2.8 miles (4.5 km) round-trip, 600-foot elevation gain; 3 hours.
Lembert Dome: 2.8 miles (4.5 km) round-trip, 850-foot elevation gain; 3 hours.

Dog Lake and Lembert Dome: 4 miles (6.4 km) round-trip; 4 hours

Begin at the Dog Lake parking area (shuttle stop #2, just west of Tuolumne Meadows Lodge).

The trail rises steeply for 0.75 mile to a signed junction. Turn left to reach the top of Lembert Dome for a spectacular view of Tuolumne Meadows and surrounding peaks. To reach Dog Lake, continue straight at the junction. Allow four hours for a leisurely four mile (6.4 km) roundtrip visit to both Dog Lake and Lembert Dome.

Stay off domes during thunderstorms!

mountain rises from trees. Photo by Victoria Mates.

Vogelsang High Sierra Camp (strenuous)

13.8 miles (22.2 km) round-trip, 1,400-foot elevation gain; 8 hours.

Begin across the road from the Dog Lake parking area (Tuolumne Meadows Shuttle Stop #2)

The first two miles of the John Muir Trail are relatively level as they follow the Lyell Fork of the Tuolumne River. At the Rafferty Creek junction, the trail begins its 1,200-foot ascent to Tuolumne Pass. Follow the signs to Vogelsang High Sierra Camp, another 160 feet higher in elevation. Hike beyond the camp to Vogelsang Lake (0.5 mile, 280-foot elevation gain) or to Vogelsang Pass (1.5 mile, 600-foot elevation gain).


Tioga Pass



Whoa Nellie Deli

Established in 1996 The Mobil has become a one-stop destination for travelers and locals alike. This family-owned business situated at the corner of Highway 395 and 120 is an ideal location for access to Yosemite and the Eastern Sierras. Eat some amazing grub at the famous Whoa Nellie Deli, grab some snacks, find some great souvenirs, fill up your gas tank or just enjoy the spectacular views of Mono Lake and the Dana Plateau.

High Sierra Camps

5 Camps, Limitless Adventure

Imagine all the joy of backpacking without the burden of a heavy backpack filled with tents and cooking gear. That’s the appeal of the Yosemite High Sierra Camps, nestled high in the wilderness and surrounded by nothing but nature. Accessible on foot or by mule, once you’re here you’ll be free to explore the backcountry—carrying only a day pack as you head out each day. Camps are spaced 6 to 10 miles apart along a loop trail. If you’re new to wilderness travel, guided mule trips and hiking trips are available.  Learn MORE.


Mono Lake

Mono Lake is a saline soda lake in Mono County, California, formed at least 760,000 years ago. The lack of an outlet causes high levels of salts to accumulate in the lake. These salts also make the lake water alkaline. Learn more about this otherworldly place – HERE

The trip over the Tioga Road is incredible, but the conditions can get a little hairy in the late fall and spring so it is always good to check the latest road conditions.  For Updates – Click HERE

Matt Emerson Wandering But Not Lost Tioga Road.

Mentioned in the Episode (Resources & Links)



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