Erika and I spent April 26-30 in Yosemite National Park. John Muir and many others have raved about the majesty of Yosemite. Their words are not exaggeration. The earth falls open to reveal blankets of rich green sewn with threads of flowing whitewater; flora climbs huge granite sculptures painted with redwood monoliths. Life seeps from its every pore. Mother Nature is reflected in every pool throughout Yosemite. Her voice in every leaf. It is grandiose, splendorous, humbling. To try to capture its beauty in a photograph is an affront. Photos of Yosemite are mere ambassadorsâ€”a tease for future visitors. You cannot capture a star in a telescope.
We slept in a primitive camping area in Hodgdon Meadow where temperatures plunged into the lower 30s at night. All campers throughout the park are required to lock away all food in bear-proof lockers or canisters. A fire was a necessity every night. This is no complaint. You can’t commune with nature by locking yourself away in an air-regulated hotel for large portions of the day. Next time I visit, I certainly want to camp in the back-country and attempt some of the many multi-day hikes… to really experience Yosemite. I want to lie on one of its higher peaks and see the stars unobstructed.
Amidst the trees, waterfalls, rapids, and rivers we saw numerous squirrels, chickaree, woodpeckers, chipmunks, and other creatures. Along the road, we dodged two deer and spotted a foraging bear. We hiked a few trails, felt the spray of a few falls, surmounted numerous rocks, and stared in awe at the sights. Yosemite can keep a person busy for a life time. We’ve barely begun to see it.
Our last day was spent rafting 16 miles down the Merced River with Zephyr Whitewater Expeditions. This was Erika’s first rafting experience, my second. I can’t wait for the day I get to raft class 5 and I hope to eventually have the knowledge and skill to traverse whitewater alone in a kayak.
The night before leaving for Yosemite we camped atop the little-known Pine Mountain with Extreme Things. The night was cold and the wind was ceaseless. The stars were the most populous I’ve ever seen.