My story begins with my great grandmother, Mary Patterson White. Born in 1860 in Indiana, she came to California in a covered wagon in the wagon train which was led by her father, James Patterson. She first went to Yosemite Valley in a mule drawn wagon, and forever set a path for her descendants.
I now go to Yosemite at least once every year with my children, grandchildren and extended family. This summer, 2013, will mark eight generations of our family who consider Yosemite National Park to be THEIR park. Our camp usually consists of 35-40 people who come from all corners of the USA to be together in this magical place. Through the years, we have introduced many friends to our Valley and have met countless interesting and memorable people.
Between all of us, we have hiked nearly every trail multiple times and have found obscure and enchanting corners of the Park to which we often return. We remember the Fire Fall, Glacier Point before it was remodeled (as well as Lower Yosemite Falls), Camp Curry before it had French Fries and Pizza, the resident Native Americans telling stories and dancing for us as we sat entranced as children, the old campgrounds before they were closed (a VERY sad occurrence), the theater and the dance hall……..and on and on and on.
A few of us remember climbing up the front of Glacier Point on the old trail, that is now closed, and experiencing the magnificent views it afforded.
Yosemite has changed with the times and will continue to change as policies come and go, but the aura of the towering cliffs, the sunlight on Half Dome at sunset, the rippling of the water as it tumbles over the rocks, the breathtaking Tunnel View, the magic of watching a doe and her young…….yes…….and even the bears!!…..will never change, and for that we are grateful.
We will never tire of Yosemite Valley. We will always feel a quickening in our hearts as we approach the Valley and begin to see glimpses of that place we love so much. We will always treasure this awesome gift that God has given to us. Our prayer is that we will be able to continue enjoying the Park and that politics and policy will not ruin what is….. for so many people…..home.
Kathleen Smith Barnes