Last weekend Heather and I took a weekend to visit one of our favorite places on earth, Yosemite. It’s a place we have a special connection to. We’ve camped here for many years, first just before we were married, and find it’s forests, trails and air to be soul regenerating. In the summer we like to camp in the high country in Tuolumne Meadows and in a rare year, we also like Yosemite valley in winter.

Winter here in the valley is just magical. Cold and fresh with nature asleep beneath the snow. The summer crowds are gone and you can be alone in this place. In the Ahwahnee Hotel the fireplaces are roaring and waiting for the hikers to return for afternoon tea. From the window of our room, Upper Yosemite Falls cascades through the mists moving along the face of the canyon.

Breathe in and feel the cares of the world melt away. Breathe in and fill your soul with energy and new life.

I first came to the valley when I was about five. My mother brought our family here to camp. We kids climbed over boulders, waded in the water, and roasted marshmallows before crawling into our sleeping bags.

I remember standing in the meadows and seeing the Fire Falls being pushed off Glacier Point. I recall it was late and I was anxious to get our campfire started because Mother had bought us a fresh bag of marshmallows from the camp store, but she said I needed to see the fire fall because this might be the last year they do it. She told me that it was important to remember.

Now, nearly 50 years later, I am among the few who left alive who’ve see that fire kindled on Glacier Point and promptly at 9:00 pm pushed over the side into a spectacular display of fire and light. Even standing in the snow covered meadow, my eyes turn towards Camp Curry and follow the lines of the granite cliffs up to the sky, hoping to see that magic from my childhood.

This year the snow and ice was too deep, too fragile to allow us to get to the base of Yosemite falls and those familiar rocks my brothers and I climbed over and slid down as our patient mother watched. This year the trail was covered in ice, the roar of the falls muted.

This year, Heather and I mingle with the Japanese tourists. They’ve been bused in for the day and aren’t dressed for the weather. They take selfies, marvel at the falls and later in the food court laugh about American food and the novelty of a fork.

I simply breath in the spirit of the place and let my soul fill with new life, restoring air, and healing wind.

In time all things end and too soon I call the desk to have the bellhop collect our bags as we prepare for the drive back to the world. The young man keeps up a pleasant and well rehearsed conversation as we walk to the car, “Where are you from?”, “Did you enjoy your stay?”

And as the last bag is loaded he asks, “Do you know how to get to the highway?”

Oh son, let me tell you what I know of this place.

Till next week,

About Andrew Reynolds

Born in California Did the school thing studying electronics, computers, release engineering and literary criticism. I worked in the high tech world doing software release engineering and am now retired. Then I got prostate cancer. Now I am a blogger and work in my wood shop doing scroll saw work and marquetry.
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26 Responses to Yosemite

  1. "HE WHO" says:

    Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Eric H says:

    Definitely a magical place, especially in the winter

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Beautiful story Andrew. We took our kids there in the late 80’s as part of a 2 week trip to California (we lived in Ohio at the time) – they were 6 and 8 – and I remember that it was magical. It was summer the park was crowded, but we spent a good part of the day playing in a stream panning for gold with virtually nobody around us. Hubs retires at the end of April – maybe we need to go back?

    Liked by 1 person

    • You should. If you’re not taking school aged kids, consider avoiding the summer months. The valley is beautiful in spring and high water makes for spectacular waterfalls. In the fall the rivers are lower and the meadows dry, but the views are still great. Best of all, the crowds are about half the summer rush, but there will still be the Japanese and European tourists on busses.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Sounds heavenly. I’ve been meaning to get to Yosemite for years. I need to plan a trip.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Allan G. Smorra says:

    Nice memories, Andrew. Thanks for sharing them with us.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I too have loved Yosemite. It was my daughter’s choice vacation before she enlisted. I will never forget those memories.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. mukhamani says:

    ” I simply breath in the spirit of the place and let my soul fill with new life, restoring air, and healing wind. ” Such a wonderful idea and we too feel the same 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. jfwknifton says:

    Sounds a wonderful place!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. You have weaved quite the tapestry of memories. I can see why you hold this part of the world in honoring and also a special place to weave more memories.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. PiedType says:

    I’ve always wanted to visit Yosemite. Not likely at this point. But I have my beloved Rocky Mountain National Park. I know exactly how you feel.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. davidprosser says:

    Sounds wonderful Andrew.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. RegenAxe says:

    I was in Yosemite last September. I took the yellow tram tour and they asked if anyone there had seen it. I was one of two people on the tour that had.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love it! I have that happen too, a young ranger was talking about at a campfire presentation and out of about 25 there, I think there were three of us who’d seen it. It was an amazing thing to see.


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