The definition of the word “Yosemite” should be: ‘wonder, awe and amazement’. Picture yourself in Yosemite Valley, feet widespread, hands reaching to the sky as you view El Capitan: a huge granite mountain rising straight up from the valley floor – could the word be a universal word of praise for the unparalleled beauty rising upward 3,600′ right in front of you? Yosemiteeee! So huge, that picking out the 10-12 climbers we eventually counted was impossible with the naked eye. But no, the word is the name of the Native Americans that lived in what is now Yosemite Valley.
My friends Laurie and Kevin joined me for a four-day exploration of Yosemite National Park. Route 120 had reopened from the Rim Fire the day before I visited the park, allowing me entry from the East side of the park. My friends came from the West side and we met in Yosemite Valley at Housekeeping Camp. Such fun, we had some pretty awesome gourmet meals thanks to Laurie’s expertise! I cooked one night, she cooked 3 nights!
On our first day’s exploration, we went to Glacier Point and the Mariposa Sequoia Grove. The view from Glacier Point included Half Dome in the distance and Cathedral Point.
Half Dome was formed during the glacier age about a million years ago. The ice smoothed the top of the domes (there are many mountains with smooth domed tops), giving them striations just like the Devil’s Postpile area.
Half Dome with the remains of burnt trees in the foreground. Yosemite is one of the parks that has begun to allow fires to burn through the park. Many pines (and the Sequoias) don’t release their seeds until heat from fires make it happen. The sequoia seeds will only root if they fall on cleared ground (as in ash from a fire). They won’t even sprout if there are leaves, underbrush and pine needles!
During the drive to Glacier, I was in the midst of remembering a family trip through Yosemite when I was five years old – that I hadn’t recollected until I drove into the park the day before. I had gotten a feeling of deja vu while taking a photo of a lake when I drove into the park. Then, as I was reading the details of the Mariposa Grove, I realized that I remembered being in the park with our 1953 green Chevy coupe parked near the giant sequoia tunnel tree. My parents had not been story tellers, and I don’t think I ever heard them say that we went through Yosemite to get from Donner Pass to Hollywood. One of those things you wish you’d asked them before they passed away. Found the slides from the trip though! – will post a pic once I get them converted to digital.
The Sequoia grove is one of those things you have to see to believe, as there is no way the camera can capture how big these trees are – even with a spiffy wide-angle lens! We hiked to the top of the trail where a nice little museum detailed facts about the sequoias. It brings it home how old they really are when you start counting backwards to see what was happening 2500 years ago in history. (Confucius around 2500 and a few hundred years later the birth of Christ and the tree was a sapling).
Mariposa Grove Museum (at the top of a goodly sized hill).
An editorial note here: When you see printed words in blue – that’s a link to something else to see. I realized that not everyone knew that after visiting my friends Bren and Larry last night who are horse people and I knew they’d like the Mule Days video of the mules first rolling around without their packs, then later pulling the borax wagons and how they have to jump the trace to keep the wagons from falling over. But they hadn’t realized that they could click the blue words and get to something else. ALSO, don’t be afraid to sign up to ‘follow’ my blog. They won’t email you with anything else except my blog – it works most of the time to notify you of my newest blog posts.