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Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Day 54: Upper and Lower Falls (7/28/15)

I took it easy this morning and set off for a shower this morning in the valley. Then I made my way to the Yosemite Art Center to book a watercolor class with my mom next week when my parents join me. There is so much arts programming here! The arts are alive! I think they should have these kinds of art programs every national park. I read somewhere that there is an artist residency in Yosemite but it's been on hold because the house or cabin the artists stayed in sold or something. Seriously, I'll camp!!!

I walked across the Ahwahnee Meadow in search of a Yosemite Falls view. I saw an artist painting with water colors on the way out! Haven't really seen any artists this whole trip. Like I said, the arts are alive in this park. I could see the falls from the busy bike path along the meadow but it was right in the sun. I kept walking, crossed the Sentinal Bridge, and found a tucked away path that led right along the river. It was perfect. Tucked away in the shade, the Merced River flowing in front of me as I worked, and an amazing view of the falls. It was quiet and peaceful, minus a couple families floating by on rafts. You'll notice in the picture of the falls that there's a sharp shadow line...the afternoon sun changes quickly and that shadow kept creeping over as I worked. I'll have to come back another afternoon to finish the painting. The water over the falls could be gone when I come back - so it was important to capture what water is flowing.

The most important thing about today is that it's my last full day by myself. Tomorrow I head to Angela and Donnie's house in Martinez, California for two nights, and then I pick up my parents from the airport in San Francisco! It is pretty surreal. I think every person, at some point in their lives, should take a vacation or trip alone. I have grown in so many ways and truly enjoyed the time by myself. I feel strong, independent, and self sufficient. I have been given the opportunity to test my skills on many levels; with each success my confidence has grown, with each failure and struggle a chance to learn (and learn to quickly forgive myself, being my own best friend on this trip). I had to be decisive and responsible. I discovered the kindness of strangers, some strangers that became lifelong friends, and realized I was rarely alone as I met new people every day. I have friends in art and nature who will keep my company my entire life. "Travel far enough," said David Mitchell, "you meet yourself." Lastly...this quote by artist Nicolas Uribe sums up what I have strived for daily on this trip, and will strive for in my lifelong pursuit of art:

Be moved by what you see, let the way you reflect or react upon your observations be your one and only guide. If you let your life be your story, you will realize you are a fascinating human being. Just be constantly mindful, be respectful of what you feel, be courageous, commit to what you believe in, accept who you are, never compromise and never ever let go.

Half Dome! Never enough photos.
Ahwahnee meadow view of the valley (I think that's the name of the meadow).
Whoa!!! The whole valley must have been filled up. Insane!
Beautiful afternoon on the Merced River painting the Upper and Lower Falls.
Light shifted too back another afternoon to finish.
A stunning spot to spend an afternoon...
Another view of Half Dome in the late afternoon.
Cathedral Rock?
View of the valley from Tioga Road, right before the three tunnels.
Because my hearty van deserves a shout out.
Never did the world make a queen of a girl who hides in houses and dreams without traveling. Roman Payne




  1. "Never did the world make a queen of a girl who hides in houses and dreams without traveling." WOW. The end of this trip is not the sad kind. It's the kind that makes you want to say "I cannot wait to see what the hell this girl is gonna do next!" I am so proud to know you and to call you a friend. I've said it before, but it's because I really mean it: you are an inspiration. You ARE your own role model. And you make others around you shine and want to join in!! WAY TO GO, EMILY!!!!!!!

  2. Wow to Emily and Katherine! Emily, I read this after we have already spent our week together in Yosemite and are, in fact, almost home! So very proud and sense a peace in you even as you are trying to finish your blogs and move back into the real world of wedding planning, gallery show planning and all other things you have missed out on all summer! Your life is blessed! Thanks for letting us spend a week with you!!!
    Love, mom