Saturday, March 3, 2012

Poppies and Teddy

The Merced River canyon below the park boundary has an early abundance of wildflowers including slopes covered with poppies in places. We've had a few modest storms over the past couple of weeks, adding a bit of snow above 5000 feet. The wet has brought out fiddlenecks, cranesbill, popcorn flower, baby blue eyes, paintbrush, red maids, etc. I haven't been up the South Fork but I bet it's getting colorful.
Chorus frogs are singing in various places, California ground squirrels are emerging in some spots, a turkey vulture was seen in the Valley this week. In El Portal, flickers and titmice have been 'singing.'
While spring tiptoes in at low elevations, we had a bit of frazil ice in Yosemite Creek this week, too.
The park has a new official place name: Roosevelt Point. This is on the south rim of Yosemite Valley, just west of Sentinel Dome, near the top of Sentinel Falls. Some scholars believe that Muir and Roosevelt camped near here on the second night of their 1903 trip together. They're usually described as having camped at Glacier Point because that's a better known landmark than the forest near Sentinel Dome, and because of the famous photo-portrait of the two men at Glacier Point. Sentinel Creek would've been the most reliable water source for a camp, so it's likely that they actually spent the night there.
TR will be coming to Yosemite Conservancy's Spring Forum on March 31 in the form of actor Alan Sutterfield. He and John Muir (Lee Stetson) will chat about their time together and their passion for park stewardship. Muir visits us again on John Muir Day, April 21, this time in the person of actor Frank Helling. He'll be strolling with Muir's great-great grandson, Robert Hanna for one of the Conservancy's field seminars.
We pursue Muir's footsteps again in July, backpacking on a field seminar to where he recognized the first known glacier in the Sierra. Climate change (as even Muir realized back then) has removed all but relictual evidence of the glacier's presence. We visit a living glacier in August's field seminar trek to the north slopes of Mt. Lyell.
History lives on.

1 comment:

  1. So many millions of visitors to Yosemite a year, so many stories, do the visitors all go to Facebook or Twitter now instead of blogs?
    We are coming to Yosemite partially because of the story of a family we met last year (2011) at Spring Break while camping in Cunningham Falls, MD, State Park--the Dad, a full year later, was still raving about the Yosemite trip, and still dreaming about quitting his job and becoming a Park Ranger. They had 3 wonderful girls, under age 10, who all had loved it. We were sitting around a campfire telling stories and were no longer strangers, but in the moment, were the oldest of friends, in the way that nature negates time.

    The world wide web, in order to be truly wide, and to attempt to include the whole world, diminishes when one interface designed by one or two companies becomes the predominant format of the majority of users, in the same way wild spaces are wasted when they are desecrated for the short-term want/needs of a time-limited group of people who ignore the awe that millions of future generations will experience if it is left pristine (as Yosemite is).

    I would love to read the comments of other people who have long-time connections to Yosemite, as well as of people like us, who have never been, and because of the expense, view it as almost a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. We have not flown anywhere in 10 years, but this one time, will surely be worth it. The flowers here in D.C. are reminders that soon we will see ones we've never seen before. I bought a hand lens today.

    And the eloquence of Shelton Johnson is surely that of Muir, tapping that subconscious connection that can be many words or no words, but still point to the same elements that all of creation knows on the cellular level--visceral connections that are difficult to put into words, but which we know intuitively when the "wild" is not so far outside from us but is recognized as simultaneous with us when we roam the earth--even roaming urban landscapes, but none so powerful as a relatively unblemished wilderness...

    I enclose the link to Ranger Johnson's latest very moving video because I think it would be wonderful if the NPS rangers blogged too. An array of voices and observations of the changing nature of Yosemite would be delightful.