Sunday, July 12, 2009

Yosemite – Part 2

I have an ancient memory of following my father along a narrow track in a field, keeping up (which was not easy), and it being hot, although the trail was sometimes marshy. When I began hiking the Illilouette hikes with my father, I remember being a little disoriented. That’s because the memory is of Tuolumne. And Illilouette is nothing like Tuolumne. We did Tuolumne when I was a teeny bit; about 5, like the picture.

On Thursday, we went for a walk through Tuolumne Meadow, which is one of the most beautiful places on this earth, in my opinion. Legend has it that Tuolumne was what inspired John Muir to work to make Yosemite a National Park. John Muir, a fellow Scot, is a family folk hero. He also founded the Sierra Club, which I’ve belonged to for decades. I am in awe of people like him who are so effective in their passionate belief in something and actually get things done. Especially, when it took so much time and dedication.

I don’t like to get too caught up in taking pictures, because I want to enjoy the moment, but when I saw M following behind my dad exactly like I had done (although I hope she was having a better time), I took this picture.

We stopped along the Tuolumne River, and I took off my shoes and cooled my feet in the icy water. This delicious clear water, essentially snow melt, is what I learned to swim in. As years passed, I would swim in the Pacific, much to the consternation of friends. Cold water seems natural to me. A trip to the Sacramento Delta one time was a surreal experience; the water was both silty and warm, and it wasn’t hard to believe that the Creature of the Deep Lagoon lived in its depths as my older brother told me. (I was totally freaked out that I couldn’t see my hand in the water)

As much as I refrain from trying to make M take on my own traits, I admit that when she – on her own – does something that I would do I am charmed beyond words. She took off her shoes and stuck her feet in the water, too, and was soon making up an elaborate imaginary play by the river bank. We stayed there, soaking up the sunshine and the beauty, until my parents wanted to go.

When I am in Yosemite, I am free, I am happy, and I am content in a way that is hard to describe. It is why, despite having to travel long distances sometimes, and at great (for me at the time) expense, I have never let more than five years go by between visits. This decade, I’ve been three times, twice with M.

Colorado is beautiful, and it is the closest thing I could come up with in making myself a mountain home. I feel best living at altitude, and where I will be living (NEXT WEEK, YAY!) is at 5450 feet. I know many places in the Rocky Mountains that make my heart sing, and there are many left that I have yet to explore. But I will return to Yosemite again and again. It is that much part of me.

I’m not going back with my parents, however.


  1. I am so jealous! I'm not big on camping (more of a hotel and sight seeing kinda gal lol) but I would make an exception for Yosemite! How absolutely gorgeous and wonderful! What wonderful memories you are building for you and your daughter:)

  2. What a beautiful post and wonderful pictures and gorgeous daughter! I'm SO HAPPY for you both!

  3. It is truly a gorgeous spot on this earth.

  4. A beautiful post, and so well-written! I'm so happy that you are moving on to your new mtn. home. You and M deserve nothing but happiness, my friend.


  5. I think I just made up my mind to go to Yosemite in late August. We've been back and forth and several options and this has been one. Your comment about not letting half a decade go between visits is almost exactly the one I've tried to live up to regarding Glacier NP in Montana. I really am jealous of you folks who live out west. Maybe one day we'll drop our shitty careers and head that direction.....a guy can dream.

  6. tb: I'd be happy to answer any questions you have about Yosemite - just email me.