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We are all part of the Yosemite family, we’ve hiked and biked and camped. We’ve shared a picnic lunch in a shady grove or on a vista gazing into the Valley.

Share your special memory of Yosemite.

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Becoming part of a Tradition

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I have been coming to Yosemite since before I could remember. As a family, we have tried to make Yosemite a week long trip every year since I was young. I have made countless memories in this park that I will have to share for the rest of my life with family and friends. There is on particular memory that I will never forget, the A-Rock Fire of 1990. We were in the park camping in housekeeping when the fire started. I was only 5 at the time, but remember the Park Rangers waking us up before the sun came up to evacuate the park. I had no concept of the severity of the fire and insisted to the Park Ranger that if I stayed in the water I would be okay. As we left the park they took us along highway 140 to avoid the main fire. As we were driving out I remember seeing fire everywhere. I was devastated that I couldn’t stay and help. The reason this story is my favorite is not because of it’s tragic nature, but because it shows Yosemite’s perseverance. As I mention earlier, we, as a family, have tried to make yearly vacations to the Valley. Over the years I have seen Yosemite battle back from the fire that nearly destroyed it. New trees and vegetation are thriving and Yosemite is more beautiful than ever. This is what makes Yosemite the majestic forest that should be protected and shared with all to come. I will continue with my yearly trips and hope one day that my kids will share the same passion for Yosemite as I do.

Shawn Bonita
Delano, CA

The Beauty & History of Yosemite in Historic Photos

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I love to “re-photograph” historic images from National Parks across the USA. I visited Yosemite for the first time in May of 2014. Locating each historic photo site let me view the landscape through the eyes of photographers of up to 150 years ago, as well as through my own experiences today. From the summit of Half Dome to the floor of the valley, there are amazing changes and surprising similarities between past and present! I will return in May of 2015 to continue exploring and re-photographing this wondrous and historic National Park, and I can’t wait! I appreciate the Yosemite Conservancy letting me share my story and work here.

Paul Horsted
Custer, S.D.
www.paulhorsted.com

Sandi meets the bear

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It was 1946 and I was 5 years old. I was staying with my parents in a cabin at Curry. I spent most of the day in the pool or river. My folks were not hikers. My dad tried to fish, but rarely caught anything. The fish were very smart. I remember so well the old village site with wonderful ice cream cones. My dad often got a haircut there while my mom and I went for ice cream. I remember the shows at the Indian Village where the California costume one can see on display in the Indian Museum was worn to entertain visitors. I am ashamed to say I have forgotten the name of the gentleman who wore it, but you can find it and his name, and more, in the current Indian Museum.

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A Family Tradition

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My family first came to Yosemite in the 1930′s. They were part of the Great Depression migration from Oklahoma. My father came first and fell in love with it so he encouraged the rest of the family to visit. It became a family tradition to spend Memorial Day and Labor Day holidays at Yosemite. My grandparents would come early and set up camp down by the river. There were no sites then. My father and his two brothers and all the cousins would come. Each year there was a new story to tell.

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Fire Falls

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My grandmother and her husband met while they both were working for the Curry Company in the late ’40s. My step-grandfather was a millwright and his primary responsibility was boilers and mechanical systems at the Yosemite Valley facilities that the Curry Company operated. Occasionally, he was tasked with the responsibility of traveling up to Glacier Point to light the fire so several hours later the coals could be dumped off the rim to create the fire falls.

When I’m able to spend time at Yosemite I always wonder if my grandmother hiked the trail I’m on today. She was also an artist so we also have paintings that she did from her experiences while she was there.

Dave
Pismo Beach, CA

We Were Lucky in More Ways Than One!

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Cannot remember the exact date, but in the 90′s we took my husband’s parents (from Australia) to Yosemite. They were absolutely in awe. It was snowing. Been there two days and had Sunday brunch at the Ahwahnee Hotel which was superb! We got in our car and started to leave Yosemite, at which time, there was a terrible storm and the rivers were rising and flooding the park everywhere. We got out just in time as they closed all the roads!! Did not want anything bad to happen, but it made the trip very exciting!! My husband and I have been there before, but this made the trip of course truly memorable!! Yosemite is a truly remarkable place.

Caroline
Capistrano Beach, CA

Outrageous free entry leads to donation

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Recently my family and I were entering Yosemite on our way to backpack the John Muir trail. As we pulled up to the entrance gate, my daughter said that she thought I could get a senior discount because I’d just turned 63. I asked the attendant and she said yes, I can have a free pass to all National Parks, for myself and everyone in my car, if I pay $10 and provide proof of my age. Sure enough, in less than a minute I held a lifetime pass to the parks. It felt like I’d been touched by a magic fairy’s wand, not because I’d done a good deed, but simply because I had managed to exist for 63 years. It didn’t make sense to me that because I’m 63 I can scribble in for free while those of lesser means have to fork out $20.

Anyway, I resolved to up my donation to Yosemite Conservancy to kind of balance things out.

It might be a good idea for the gate attendants to pass out Yosemite Conservancy donation envelopes when they pass out senior passes.

Dan Marshall
Cupertino, CA

Rattler

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In the summer of 1958, my family came to Yosemite for a day picnic. We lived in Pittsburg, CA at the time and I had just finished the 1st grade. My sister and I were walking carefully across the rocky edge of the river, when I felt a stab of pain in my right foot.

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Bears – Drive Slowly

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Just returned from a wonderful Yosemite Experience. Along with many other vehicles on Highway 41, we pulled off the road to watch a cinnamon colored bear sow with cub. At one point the mother bear got swarmed by bees and slid down a pine-needle covered slope on her belly. What a great behavior to witness. Her cub meandered along after mom and was incredibly cute and agile, climbing over logs and up and down tree trunks. Please drive the speed limit and keep the wildlife safe.

Lisa
Bellingham, WA

Cry

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In 1965, visiting YNP for the first time, a ranger giving a lecture to visitors was asked, “What would you do if you only had 4 hours to see the Park”? Without hesitation he responded, simply, “cry”!

George
Los Angeles, CA