Returned to the homeland’s Yosemite granite to find paths of Ansel Adams. Over five decades disappeared since being there. Heard en route from Oregon were stories near and across the border. Hearsay along the way: foreign interests of the Pacific Rim are commercially scaled pot growers up north and others are buying up wine country. Ambiance of an earlier time is disappearing. Driving south, KCHO-FM out of Chico aired a Radio Lab’s story, The Montreal Screwjob, about the fiction of pro wrestling. The audio told of our need to search for and find the “authentic moment” as epitomized in the spectacle of pro wrestling. The 17th century novel Don Quixote was described to be about our desire for balancing between reality and fantasy. Listen, whether in or out of a car: http://www.radiolab.org/story/montreal-screwjob/
Off the freeway for a gas station stop, street-worn young men approached our car asking for its gas. They offered to get us the bathroom key, others loitered at cars nearby. We high-tailed eastbound on Hwy 108. Adios meth heads. Continuing through Oakdale, traffic stopped and sirens wailed for an overturned Harley and motionless rider on the asphalt, people hovered over him. On down the road a tidy farm store was our pitstop at last. A petite elder lady wearing a crucifix greeted us with fruit smoothy samples. We bought nuts. East in Groveland, lunch with cider was in California’s oldest saloon, the Iron Door, built in 1852.
Rare snow fell in the high country a week before we arrived. Water flowed for our visit, and likely won’t this summer. Western drought persists. About our decreasing vital resource, listen to Oregon Public Broadcasting interview with professor Aaron Wolf:
Time at The Ahwanhee was a must before and after hiking Mirror Lake, Vernal Falls, off trail along the Merced River, and meditating at Happy Isles. The architect who designed The Ahwanhee, Gilbert Stanley Underwood, later designed Oregon’s great Timberline Lodge.
Into the Park everyday, one morning was fueled by Jimi Hendrix. His sound matched the scale of the landscape, all windows down. Smooth cruise into tunnels and out the other side into ancient granite grandeur on this 150 year of Yosemite National Park. My experienced travel partner and “possibilatarian” described our journey as “epic”. At 6,000 ft elevation, just kiss the sky.
I always found in myself a dread of west and a love of east . . .
It may be that the birth and death of the day had some part in my feeling . . .
— John Steinbeck, EAST OF EDEN
Sketches and photos, CReed
Look for more this summer.