Coming Home to Yosemite

“As long as I live, I’ll hear waterfalls and winds and birds 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

img_1498.jpgI think everyone has a special place in their memory that shaped their lives.  Yosemite was mine.  Every year from the time I was four years old until I was eleven, my family packed up our ‘56 red and white Chevy station wagon and went camping in Yosemite National Park.  For two glorious weeks, we lived among the pines and I ran free scampering over granite rocks, playing in the creek and swimming in the Merced River.  We slept under the stars and woke to the “shhhhh” of the Coleman stove where my mother was making hot cocoa and cooking Spam and eggs for breakfast.  My older brother and I would walk to the Curry Village store to buy Charms suckers so huge, they would last for hours.  To top off the day, every evening at 9:30 we watched the “Firefall” (no longer in existence). It began with a park ranger shouting from above “Let the fire fall!” followed by a cascade of bright red coals pushed over the top of Glacier Point 3000 feet up.  We would “oooh” and “ahhh” never tiring of this IMG_1494spectacle.

My father took us on bike rides, hikes and mule rides.  Then one year Dad hiked the Chilnualna Falls trail from Wawona with my older brother and me.  I was maybe eight years old and my brother twelve.  It was a challenging hike-4 ½ miles, pretty much up 2000 ft.  Though the actual main waterfall cascaded unseen into a ravine below, the top rewarded us with a fabulous view and a wonderland of small cascades over granite in what I called “moon pools”. These were pools rounded from thousands of years of swirling water.  I remember exploring these looking for bugs and tiny fish.

My father passed away on May 5, 2017. He requested that his ashes be scattered on top of Chilnualna Falls and so this last week we honored that request.  I traveled from Oregon with my son and daughter-in-law and rendezvoused with my younger brother and my older brother and his wife in Yosemite. Over 50 years later we retraced our steps, climbing to the top of Chilnualna Falls where my father will have now have a forever view.

IMG_1502It was bittersweet to revisit Yosemite after so many years have passed. My childhood paradise is suffering from climate change and too many people, but there is still such beautiful magic among the granite cliffs and spires. I am forever grateful to my father for giving such happy family memories in this special place.

R.I.P. Bruce Pass

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Art of the Cairn

I learned to look for cairns when I began backpacking in the Sierra Nevada at a young age.  Cairns are little towers of stacked rocks to mark the way of a path or trail.  In the Sierras, they are especially helpful when traveling cross-country away from the main trail.  They are a welcome sight on the granite terrain, knowing you are headed in the right direction.

Since my backpacking days, it seems my entire life I’ve been looking for cairns, literal or metaphorical.  Now I build them, usually with my group three other women friends that I been adventuring with for going on over 25 years.  Usually, these are for more spiritual reasons, sometimes to mark the passage of a loved one.  It is a treasured ritual we have adopted.  Below are some of the cairns we have built or come upon.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Continue reading “The Art of the Cairn”

The Artful Beach

IMG_1233I just returned from a wonderful week visiting Vancouver Island B.C., Canada.  Four nights of that stay were at the Point No Point Resort where myself and three of my friends enjoyed, among other things, beachcombing on the stunning beaches in the area. They provided a gallery of natural art.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I’m hoping my photographs can give you some idea of the beauty we encountered.

WP Photo Challenge: “Prolific” Sea Life on the Edge of the Oregon Coast

On our way to our favorite coast getaway in Yachats last week, we stopped by the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport.  In their display tidepools, they had specimens of the prolific sea life in the Oregon tidal zone. There was a wonderful selection of sea anemones, starfish, mussels, and sea cucumbers to view and touch.

IMG_0369

IMG_0371
A sea cucumber is in the top left quadrant, the bright red organism to the far left is a Strawberry anemone

IMG_0422

A collection of an unidentified shellfish on a piece of driftwood that I found on a beach

Prolific

WP Photo Challenge- Weathered, the Stories of Rocks

“Rocks and minerals: the oldest storytellers.”
― A.D. Posey

I’ve always been fascinated by rock formations.  There is a story there if you pause to notice…..

IMG_2278

A drought in New Mexico?

IMG_1439
A volcano in Central Oregon?

DSC00196An uplift of an inland sea?

'11 ski, house, summer 049
An ancient sea bed?

Weathered

Weekly Photo Challenge: Focusing on Nature’s Mystery

Animal, vegetable, or mineral?


I was walking along a beach in Ireland and came upon a small upturned Jellyfish.  On focusing in, it was quite beautiful.

img_0944-4

 Focus

Weekly Photo Challenge- The Evanescence of Water

Walk a half mile down the McKenzie River Trail from Clear Lake, Oregon & you will come upon a treasure of waterfalls and azure pools.  I like to stop & gaze at the dance of the water, infinite incarnations in the blink of an eye.

waterall cairn 2
Evanescent