John Muir, founder of the Sierra Club, wrote, “Everyone needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where Nature may heal and cheer and give strength to body and soul alike”. John’s observation is more relevant than ever….get out and enjoy nature, even if it is in own garden!
In 1903, Yellowstone was the only national park. Teddy Roosevelt wanted to expand the federal program and wrote to Muir 1903 asking for the two of them camp in Yosemite to exchange ideas on conservation and protecting the land.
Over 100 years later, thanks to John Muir and Teddy Roosevelt, all 750,000 acres of Yosemite grandeur is here for everyone to enjoy. Terry had visited Yosemite in the past; this would be my first time.
We made our reservations early in 2019 for a cabin in Foresta. In March, 2020, the park was closed due to COVID. Each week we watched the park website for information about the park opening as our departure date approached. The park opened just 3 days before our departure. There would be restrictions … no tour buses; limited number of visitor admissions and limited camping spots. Indoor dining would only occur in the hotel restaurant. The gift shops, bike rental and visitor centers would be closed. The grocery store would limit the number of guests and the purchases would be monitored.
An unlimited park pass came with our rental. It was an eerie feeling to enter the park and find deserted lookouts. Those lookouts provided jaw dropping views of the landscape… granite faced mountains scraped the sky; deep green forests camouflaged prolific wildlife and colossal waterfalls sent thundering sprays thousands of feet to the valley floor. We shared the park with just a few others. We rode our bikes on practically deserted trails and could pull the car over anywhere along the roadway.
Nature heals and brings life into perspective. We wandered through Tuolumne Grove where giant redwood sequoias have stood in silence through hundreds of years. Those sentinels of the forest will be there on their majestic watch long after we are gone. Don’t shy away from the two hour drive to Olmstead Point and Glacier Point. Their lookouts offer sweeping vistas of Tenaya Lake, Half Dome and the valley almost 5,000 feet below. Our companions were inquisitive marmots who dashed along the trail with us looking for treats.
We enrolled in the Ansel Adams Gallery photography workshop. Dillon, our instructor and guide, met us just before sunrise at Valley View near the South Entrance just before Pohono Bridge. This proved to be the perfect place to capture a sunburst at the edge of El Capitan. The surrounding forest, streams and mountains made a shift from dark shadow into a light filled tableau streaked with vibrant greens, blues and gold as the sun climbed higher in the sky.
We hiked throughout the valley photographing Bridal Veil Fall, Upper and Lower Yosemite Fall, Horsetail Fall and the Three Sisters. We took a lunch time break and a well deserved nap before meeting Dillon in the late afternoon.
Capturing Half Dome bathed in the golden light of the setting sun was the shot of the week. We hiked back to the car as the landscape receded into shadow and the stars overhead took center stage.
We will finish our summer trips by heading off to the Grand Tetons, Jackson, Forest City (to order the little RV), Mt. Rushmore, Sturgis, Moab, Monument Valley and finally home in late August. We hope you are well and finding a way to enjoy the healing effects of Nature this summer.