On an October day Randy and I hired a guide for a tour of Yosemite National Park while traveling from San Francisco to Carmel. We chose Close Up Tours , and we highly recommend them for a more personal experience of the park. They go out of their way to accommodate your needs. Our guide was Joe, a former ranger at the Park, and he had tremendous knowledge.
It is difficult to even express the wonder of Yosemite, and I have been to many places on this planet that are awe inspiring. Our day in the park was perfect…the autumn sun was shining, at times the clouds were low and gave tremendous drama to the scenery. Although the waterfalls and rivers had been dry since July, a rain a few days before our visit gave us the opportunity to see gushing waterfalls and roaring rivers. Yosemite is a huge piece of art created by nature’s bounty. If you have not been there, I tell you it must be on your list of places to see before you die. There are no words to accurately describe its majesty and beauty.
Yosemite is located in the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range. For over 3,000 years Native Americans lived in the mountains and valleys. When the first Europeans came, the Ahwahnechee tribe was in the Yosemite Valley. When the California Gold Rush began, the area began to fill up with non-native people (whites), and tensions grew between the Ahwahnechees and the settlers. The Mariposa War chased the Ahwahnechees into the heart of Yosemite Valley, and it rapidly became known as a scenic wonder. The Gold Rush quickly depleted and destroyed the resources the indigenous people depended on, and disease brought by the Europeans spread and killed many. Extermination of native culture became a policy of the United States Government, as horrible as that is. Our country was brutal to Native Americans, there is no question about that.
Yosemite and the Mariposa Seqouia Grove were ceded to California while Lincoln was in office, and he signed the bill. John Muir came to the valley in 1868 to work on a ranch while he explored the area. He became alarmed at the overgrazing of the meadows, and the cutting of the great sequoia trees. “Muir’s wish was partially granted on October 1, 1890, when the area outside the valley and sequoia grove became a national park under the unopposed Yosemite Act.The Act provided “for the preservation from injury of all timber, mineral deposits, natural curiosities, or wonders within said reservation, and their retention in their natural condition” and prohibited “wanton destruction of the fish and game and their capture or destruction for the purposes of merchandise or profit.” (Wikipedia.)
We enjoyed lunch at the famous Ahwahnee Hotel, now known as the Majestic Hotel. There is huge controversy over the renaming of places within the park, and lawsuits have been filed. You can learn more about it at http://www.latimes.com/business/hiltzik/la-fi-mh-the-corporate-grab-yosemite-park-s-trademarks-20160119-column.html. The hotel is, indeed, majestic. I’m sad that it was full when we went in October, though the park was not overcrowded. We stayed at Mariposa Lodge, a cute little hotel in Mariposa that I certainly recommend. After lunch we strolled the grounds and came upon a mother and her fawn. They were so beautiful, and as long as one didn’t approach noisily or too closely, they were fine with humans.
In 1903 John Muir, founder of the Sierra Club, camped with President Teddy Roosevelt beneath Glacier Point. Check out this very cool photo of them in the park! After 3 days, Roosevelt was convinced to take Yosemite and the Mariposa Grove away from California and declare it federal property. He did so, and thanks in great part to Muir and Roosevelt, we have many incredible national parks. If you want to help protect our natural resources please visit the Sierra Club. The rest of our day continued with wonder, and gratitude that such places are protected (we hope).
From Glacier Point back down to the Yosemite Valley, the day was almost over. The sunset in Yosemite is spectacular. Our day ended in a blaze of color.
Please protect Yosemite National Park.
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