just another straw
is always sunrise somewhere
still holds, reveals much
I have never been to Yosemite and most likely, I have to admit, I will never get there.
But I get pleasure knowing it is there.
I know its a manipulated moment in time, but after years of seeing it, I can still stare in wonder at Ansel Adams photograph, “Clearing Winter Storm, Yosemite National Park.”
It was dismay.
It was with grave misgivings.
It was with sadness that hit my core when I read that someone had visited Yosemite and had to leave a record of their visit with spray paint.
Stupid I know.
Misplaced and maybe over reacting.
But hear me out.
I can spit in any direction and hit more problems with this world than can be collected in an encyclopedia.
Climate, politics, human rights, civility, guns, housing, wages, food and almost any other story that appears on any front page, and it becomes quite the pile of straw on the camels’ back.
I saw a story on NBC news last night about abandoned disabled people in Ukraine that if it didn’t break your heart and drive you to your knees to beg forgiveness from God for being part of the population of a world that allows this to happen then I don’t know what to say to you.
There is enough, too much, we can agree I think.
And Yosemite National Park got tagged.
Why is this the straw that seems to break my back?
I would say it goes to state of mind.
Yosemite is not easy to get to.
I don’t think it is the type of place you say, “Hey lets go spend a day …” but more of the place where you might say, “Let’s plan …” and you make the trip.
According to the National Parks Website, reservations are needed during peak hours.
Once at the park and the decision is made to hike the Yosemite Falls Trail, visitors are advised that:
- Start your hike early; this trail can become very hot mid-day in the summer. By starting as early as possible, you will be able to hike during the cooler part of the day. The upper portion of the trail is exposed, receiving no shade until late afternoon or early evening.
- Avoid becoming dehydrated or experiencing heat exhaustion. Drink plenty and drink often; pace yourself; rest in the shade; eat salty snacks.
- Sprained ankles and knee injuries are common on this trail. There are many areas of loose sand mixed with rocky terrain, which makes for slippery footing.
- Stay on the trail; there are numerous steep drop-offs and ledges off-trail.
- Know your limits. Pre-existing medical conditions can be easily exacerbated on the steep ascent.
- Do not swim or wade in the creek above the waterfall.
The Parks Website states, If you make the one-mile, 1,000 foot climb (via dozens of switchbacks) to Columbia Rock, you will be rewarded with spectacular views of Yosemite Valley, Half Dome, and Sentinel Rock. From there, it is worth the time and energy to hike another 0.5 miles (0.8 km) (some of which is actually downhill!) to get a stunning view of Upper Yosemite Fall. Depending on the season, you may even feel the mist from the fall, which may be welcome respite after the tough climb.
I am assuming that some one read all this, knew all this, packed up there gear, maybe a lunch, water, good shoes and then made sure they had at least two cans or colors of spray paint all ready for the hike.
Who thinks this?
Who plans this?
What does that say about us?
Can you hear them going over their supplies?
As I have already admitted, in today’s news about the climate, politics, human rights, civility, guns, housing, wages, food and almost any other story that appears on any front page, there is plenty to get me going.
As I said, I saw a story on NBC news last night about abandoned disabled people in Ukraine that if it didn’t break your heart and drive you to your news to beg forgiveness from God for being part of the population of a world that allows this to happen then I don’t know what to say to you.
But the story of man’s inhumanity to themselves is as old as Caine and Able.
To willfully damage Yosemite with malice aforethought?
John Muir was the man who set up some of the first boundaries of what became Yosemite National Park and camped their with Theodore Roosevelt that led to lots of parks and preservation of wild areas for the benefit of all of us (Though I have to point out it was Mr. Lincoln who signed a bill on June 30, 1864, granting Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Grove of giant sequoias to the State of California “for public use, resort and recreation,” the two tracts “shall be inalienable for all time“).
Mr. Muir once said, “This grand show is eternal. It is always sunrise somewhere; the dew is never all dried at once; a shower is forever falling; vapor ever rising.“
It is always sunrise somewhere.
It is always a new day.
But this place, once the sun comes up, reveals a place I don’t recognize anymore.
Just one more straw.