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.
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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.
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.
Pismo Beach, CA
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.
Capistrano Beach, CA
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.
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.
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.
My daughter was 2-1/2 years old when we were packing to go to YNP. I said, “Alysha we are going to Yosemite.” She responded, we’re going to MY Semite? Yes, Mysemite. Fourteen years later, “MY SMTE” became the subject of her first automobile license plate. Not surprisingly, I found, while researching 7-letter license plates, that similar license plates had already been issued. Many a child may have, perhaps, uttered that same phrase!
Los Angeles, CA
To All of You Who Love the Treasure We Call Yosemite–
When I was in college, I thought I had the best job in the world. Every summer, for four summers, I worked as a cowboy on a cattle ranch in Sheridan, Wyoming. This was a working cattle ranch and family-owned since the 1880′s. I was friends with one of the sons. He invited me to the ranch and they took me in like I was one of the family.
My parents drove to Yosemite from Berkeley in 1935, when I was 4 years old. They set up camp, and then decided I should be there, too. So, they drove all the way back to retrieve me, and we went every year from then on! Our car had no trunk, so we had things tied on top and on the back. A heavy canvas umbrella tent, wooden camp cots, blankets, stove, food, etc. The road up from Merced was usually lined with cars that had overheated. You had to pull over to let the car cool off every so often. We didn’t have a cooler – my dad took a wooden orange crate,covered it with canvas, and soaked it regularly to keep food cool. We also had an old cookie sheet mounted on a pole which was a wonderful bird feeder. I loved the grosbeaks and tanagers who visited daily. And, of course, the bears visited nightly, too. The magic of the valley seduced me. I learned from the rangers at Junior Nature School to observe and love the nature there, and I’m still seduced every time I return!