Ken Burns on Yosemite

A couple of years ago Ken Burns gave a talk in San Gabriel about one of his favorite subjects, Yosemite, and said I thought many wise things, most especially: “This couldn’t have happened any place else. It is the Declaration of Independence applied to the landscape; the full expression of the democratic experience,” Burns said.Continue reading “Ken Burns on Yosemite”

The Martian Way: Section I of PCT/Sonora Pass

Nicholas Kristof for the NYTimes, who is walking the PCT with his daughter, heading south, wrote recently in a Sunday column about the joy and beauty of the trail, and extolled in particular one section of the trail I happen to have just completed, towards the end of Section I. From This Land is Your Land: MyContinue reading “The Martian Way: Section I of PCT/Sonora Pass”

The natural art of the High Sierra: James McGrew

Yosemite Blog, as a sort of note to encourage us all to apply for the High Sierra Camp lottery, features the young artist/wilderness guide James McGrew, who has been going to these inexhaustible mountains since the age of four, and seems to have gained a pretty good understanding, as seen in his painting: This depictsContinue reading “The natural art of the High Sierra: James McGrew”

“Sheepwrecked” in Yosemite, Santa Cruz I., and the UK

140 years ago sheep were devastating the slopes and meadows of the Sierras and John Muir launched an effort — which took decades — to remove them. He wrote: It is impossible to conceive of a devastation more universal than is produced among the plants of the Sierra by sheep…The greass is eaten close andContinue reading ““Sheepwrecked” in Yosemite, Santa Cruz I., and the UK”

Murder or wilderness? A choice for October

Have been distracted from the PCT by a reporting assignment — covering a murder trial. Alex Medina, age eighteen, is on trial for the killing of Seth Scarminach, age sixteen at the time of his death 2009. Here's a story I wrote for the local paper on this for Wednesday: An eyewitness to a slayingContinue reading “Murder or wilderness? A choice for October”

The Rim fire near Yosmite: Disaster, restoration, or — ?

Haven't posted on the Rim Fire, which has been burning for nearly two weeks on the western slope of the Sierras, not far from Yosemite National Park. Big destructive fires trouble me, and the conventional wisdom on wildfire is that climate change will make matters worse, and, frankly, that's part of the reason I didn'tContinue reading “The Rim fire near Yosmite: Disaster, restoration, or — ?”

The richness of the light of these days: John Muir

Warm and bright, the valley was spanned by fibrous bows of white cloud, heated masses of air from currentless ovens of chambered and bushy rocks lifted by newborn winds and bourne whole or in fragments about the open gulf of the valley…the richness of the light of these days recalls our best mellow autumns andContinue reading “The richness of the light of these days: John Muir”

Yosemite deaths in 2011: Couch potato phenomenon?

That's the hint dropped in Matt Weiser's excellent examination of the numerous deaths this year in the Yosemite Valley recently in the Sacramento Bee. He suggests that visitors to the park are just too removed from nature in their minds to recognize the risks of nature when they encounter them in life.  Visitorship is upContinue reading “Yosemite deaths in 2011: Couch potato phenomenon?”

Winter Sunset on the Merced River (Yosemite National Park)

Winter Sunset on the Merced River (Yosemite National Park), originally uploaded by Robin Black Photography. They say pro nature photographers (including Black, who kindly posted this picture) flock like swallows to Yosemite in February, for the low sunsets and the colors at Horsetail Fall.