Day 58 consisted of grocery shopping, driving to a small town outside Yosemite, and seeing Mission Impossible. Day 59 was more exciting because we got to YOSEMITE! And we got a campsite at Tamarack Flat, a really beautiful spot next to a granite boulder/hill thing. Next we decided to explore the valley and visit some of the museums and visitor center I'd been waiting to go see with them. A gallery in one museum even had Thomas Moran and Albert Bierstadt paintings! We ventured on to the Upper and Lower Falls, which still have water, but less than when I started my painting last week. We found a bench and sat for a while and watched the falls...very peaceful. Funny how you can get tired slow-walking through museums all day.
Later that night we went to a program at the park theater (I told you arts are alive here - there's a program every night of the week) called "Ranger Shelton Johnson: Through the Eyes of a Buffalo Soldier." I recognized his picture from the National Parks documentary by Ken Burns. So I wanted to see him! He's basically a celebrity! I maybe should have paid more attention to the subject after his name because the history of the Buffalo Soldier wasn't high on my agenda for this trip. He gave a vivid performance but parts seemed like he was taking an hour and a half to tell a story that could be told in about fifteen minutes.
So, in honor of the documentary that inspired us seeing this show, I want to give a little background on Yosemite that I wasn't able to do with Yellowstone. Yosemite was originally set aside at a state park under the care and control of California, and I believe the third national park after the idea caught on. In the mid and late 1800s, travel to Yosemite required a two day trip from San Fransisco, then a "grueling" 2-3 day trek in the mountains by foot or horseback. Frederick Law Olmsted wrote that Yosemite was "the greatest glory of nature...the union of the deepest sublimity with the deepest beauty." Theodore Roosevelt spent several nights in the park with John Muir, rejecting a lavish banquet and feast that had been planned for him, opting to sleep outdoors. There is also a long history of native peoples who lived and worked in the valley, well known for their elaborate and intricate basket weaving. Again, many different perspectives at play in the history of the park (only briefly touching on a fraction of them). I feel blessed to be here on my own journey.
|Tamarack Flat campsite. Recently paved road three miles down to the campsite was a bonus.|
|Awesome mural in the visitors center.|
|Me and Muir, again.|
|Thomas Moran painting of Bridalveil Fall.|
|Dark and moody Bierstadt painting of the valley at night.|
|Upper and Lower Falls.|
|Aww, mom and dad!|
|Taking it easy at a bench with a view of the falls.|
|What is that rope/string on the Arrow?|
|Serenaded by Ranger Shelton Johnson.|