While we love our boat-life, “Land-Cruising” is also our thing. When our Cloud10 Racing schedule takes us to the West Coast, we want to see what’s out there! So last fall, after loving San Francisco and racing in a couple J70 regattas there, we took a little detour and drove to Yosemite.
Yosemite is easy to get to, located in the western Sierra Nevada mountains in northern California.
“As long as I live, I’ll hear waterfalls and birds and winds sing. I’ll interpret the rocks, learn the language of flood, storm and the avalanche. I’ll acquaint myself with the glaciers and wild gardens and get as near the heart of the world as I can.” – John Muir, Naturalist/Preservationist
Yosemite is big. And powerful. And beautiful. It felt great to stretch our legs here. In a stunning place like this, one feels the gift of nature in it’s silent modesty.
Being in Yosemite affords an astounding perspective on our own lives. We are really just briefly passing through this beautiful world – this valley has been here for tens of thousands of years. There is a calming effect in the park as well as a refreshing lack of commercialism.
As we hiked around the valley, in the shadows of Half-Dome and El Capitan, we felt so small, as if we were pigmies in a world of giants.
Fun Fact (as found on a Nat’l Park sign): “Forest Spirits: Miwok and Paiute people believed the forest was home to spirits. Nunu, spirits who could harm a person, lived in this area and Oolee, dangerous water spirits, lived in the river. Suchuma rolled rocks on people, created whirlwinds and caused illness. Nenakutu, fairy like creatures, also lived in this area. One had to travel carefully in the forest to avoid evil and danger.”
Yosemite is a magical and mysterious place; There is a great power in the stillness of the rocks. Over five million visitors tour the trails and hike the mountains every year; it is one of our most celebrated National Parks. National Geographic ranks it number three, under the Smoky Mountains and the Grand Canyon.
“No temple made with human hands can compete with Yosemite” – John Muir
Historian John Muir led to the creation of California’s Yosemite Park, with the help of conservationist President Teddy Roosevelt. The mile-wide, 7-mile-long canyon was cut by a river and then deepened by glaciers. We even stumbled upon a small glen, where Muir and Roosevelt shared a lunch and talked “forest good”…
“We have fallen heirs to the most glorious heritage a people ever received, and each one must do his part if we wish to show that the nation is worthy of its good fortune.” – Theodore Roosevelt
Not unlike the unrelenting power of the ocean, in Yosemite you feel the smallness of our existence and that it’s true folly to believe we are really in charge. The place humbles and inspires, which speaks to our Cortado/Sea Team hearts.
It’s hard to explain the scale of Yosemite. It is also hard to imagine what would have become of the area, had it not been protected from development. In the end, President Roosevelt protected wildlife and many public lands by creating the US Forest Service and establishing 150 national forests, 51 federal bird reserves, 4 national game preserves, 5 national parks, and 18 national monuments. Lucky us! It is no wonder that Roosevelt was one of the most popular and important Presidents ever to serve the U.S.
We learned just before our trip that Tony’s dad, Nicholas Rey, was a Yosemite Park Forest Ranger in 1956. It was incredible to imagine him there as a young man – as the Park would not have changed much – which made us feel close to him.
Biologist and writer Rachel Carson wrote that “appreciation of nature’s wholeness gives us the only real taste of immortality.” It’s no coincidence that Nick’s college summer job at 18 years old would have an impact on or family of four 61 years later. He would have loved that we were there.
Oliver and Sophia enjoying a sandwich break, mid-hike.
Sophia, photographing a triple waterfall after a long hike up and around… There is no cell service inside the park, so time spent with nature is 100% all that: An all-natural family outing. One of our primary Travel-School goals is quality family-time and our Yosemite excursion provided that in spades.
Rachel Louise Carson was an American marine biologist, author, and conservationist whose book Silent Spring and other writings are credited with advancing the global environmental movement. (wikipedia)
Rachel Carson quote found on http://www.brainpickings.com. Article by Maria Popova.
Please support our National Parks! https://www.nps.gov/index.htm