The 2nd national park in the U.S. remains one of the nation's greatest legacies over 100 years later. People from across the globe seek things that cannot be found elsewhere on Earth; few leave disappointed.
Let children walk with nature, let them see the beautiful blendings and communions of death and life, their joyous inseparable unity, as taught in woods and meadows, plains and mountains and streams of our blessed star, and they will learn that death is stingless indeed, and as beautiful as life, and that the grave has no victory, for it never fights. All is divine harmony.
Below I will share a few more photos, quotes, and bits of advice for anyone hoping to visit in the near future.
Yosemite Park is a place of rest, a refuge from the roar and dust and weary, nervous, wasting work of the lowlands, in which one gains the advantages of both solitude and society. Nowhere will you find more company of a soothing peace-be- still kind. Your animal fellow-beings, so seldom regarded in civilization, and every rock-brow and mountain, stream, and lake, and every plant soon come to be regarded as brothers; even one learns to like the storms and clouds and tireless winds. This one noble park is big enough and rich enough for a whole life of study and aesthetic enjoyment. It is good for everybody, no matter how benumbed with care, encrusted with a mail of business habits like a tree with bark. None can escape its charms. Its natural beauty cleans and warms like a fire, and you will be willing to stay forever in one place like a tree.
This has been a cold, wet year in the Sierra. As a result, the snowpack is deep, and the waterfalls are gushing at record volume.
The late & heavy snows have kept the road to Tuolumne Meadows closed, so access to many popular trailheads is limited to those with backcountry capabilities for another couple weeks, at least. Even the Half Dome summit remains closed as June dawns.
Fortunately there are a few lovely trails originating within the Valley for those wanting more than a drive by photo op and a T-shirt.
My two days were sublimely entertaining even though I was limited to just two day hikes.
- Yosemite Point/ Upper Yosemite Fall trail
- Mist Trail to John Muir Trail
Your results may vary.
The battle we have fought, and are still fighting for the forests is a part of the eternal conflict between right and wrong, and we cannot expect to see the end of it. ...
So we must count on watching and striving for these trees, and should always be glad to find anything so surely good and noble to strive for.
This is a steep and sometimes slippery trail that winds up the side of El Capitan. The skinny on the journey is that it will take around 6 hours roundtrip to the top of Yosemite Point (the little rock at the top right by the blue sky in this photo).
If you are a fast & confident hiker, the descent can take as little as 90 minutes or less, but be prepared for lots of wet steps that might be tricky and dangerous.
The crowds are generally heaving, so be prepared for lots of backups and the need for patience. We were lucky to get a late start that day. Earlier there was snow atop the trail, and some people were told the viewpoint was "closed". By the time we got there, the sun had broken through and the views were accented by puffy clouds. Also, the trip down the mountain was eerily quiet. By 8PM (with over 90 mins of light left in the day) there was nobody else on the trail.
• Tip #1: Bring plenty of snacks; you will need energy for your trip downhill.
• Tip #2: Bring at least 2 liters of water per person. In the summertime, you may even wish you had more.
Protip: A water purifier is also good to bring. If you carry one, you can bring just enough water to get yourself to the top of the falls (maybe 1 liter/person). Then, you can refill and reach the valley overlook at Yose Point. If you still need more water, the creek is still there for you on the way back down.
• Tip #3: A walking stick or poles will give you lots of extra support and confidence on the descent.
Another glorious Sierra day in which one seems to be dissolved and absorbed and sent pulsing onward we know not where. Life seems neither long nor short, and we take no more heed to save time or make haste than do the trees and stars. This is true freedom, a good practical sort of immortality.
• Tip #1: It is highly recommended to Ascend using the Mist Trail and DEscend using the John Muir Trail. The slippery steep aspect that is inevitable at Yosemite Fall trail can be mitigated here.
• Tip #2: Do NOT ever use the switchback "shortcuts" on the trail! It damages fragile and delicate land that takes lots of work to repair.
• Tip #3: It is entirely unnecessary to cloak yourself in a giant garbage bag/raincoat like oh so many overly cautious tourists. The spray could hardly have been greater than it was last week, and naught but a light glistening of moisture resulted. Put the camera in a plastic bag and you are good. Then laugh at all the Hefty hikers with their visqueen uniforms and be Glad you are not one of them.
The same advice mentioned above about water & hiking poles applies here.
Amazing how those rocks' geology naturally formed those retaining walls and switchbacks, isn't it?
Wouldn't it be great to see such investment in our nation's heritage during this time of economic hardship?
See this diary, which makes a better case than I would have:
Bring back the CCC
Harley Jolley, Joined the CCC in 1937: Each man would send home twenty-five dollars each month and keep five for myself. Now the dollar had enormous precious impact in the 1930s. So twenty-five dollars sent home, multiplied across the nation by thousands, that’s a lot of economic improvement nationwide.
And then not only were the boys there employed, remember they had support people — foremen, superintendents, engineers, all this. So here are skilled people employed as well. Then supplying the camp food, all the things it takes to run a camp for a week, that went to the local economy also. So it was a major impact on all the economies wherever the camps went. And they went everywhere.
And the CCC and WPA projects still contribute to the economy 70-some years later. How many of our states could have the same recreation and tourism industries without the foundation of the CCC projects? I will venture to guess none.
I was overwhelmed by the beauty and quality of the John Muir Trail. So much work went into designing and maintaining this unique treasure. I could not help but wonder why we are not seeing more efforts to enhance, protect, beautify, and make more accessible our nation's most delicate and lovely places during this period when so many Americans are in need of work.
I hope you get a chance to take advantage of your National Parks soon, and that you support their preservation and improvement if such a proposal were to be introduced by a visionary FDR-esque politician in the days ahead.
All quotes by John Muir.
All photo, video by the diarist.
x-posted @ The Laughing Planet