Today we feature a guest blog by Maureen L. of Oakland. Anyone can guest blog here about your passion, just send me an email – MrHalfDome@gmail.com
“2012 is the 100th anniversary of the publication of John Muir’s The Yosemite. This book is a great way to get to know Muir, and to get to know the Park. Muir writes about his hikes, the Park in winter, glaciers and the geology of the park, the plants and the trees, the birds, and some wonderful folks he knew and hiked with, Galen Clark and James C. Lamont.
The flowery meadows Muir talks about on his hike across to Yosemite from the Coast in My First Summer in the Sierra are gone. But almost 150 years later, we can enjoy most of what Muir enjoyed in Yosemite thanks to his efforts.
So I’m celebrating this anniversary, and Muir, by hiking in his footsteps.
Chapter 10, “The South Dome” recounts Muir’s ascent of Half Dome using George Anderson’s rope on November 10, 1875. As Muir says, this was “a month or two after Anderson had gained the summit.” Anderson tried to dissuade Muir, as it had already snowed, but up he went. Some things never change! (Editor: And no permits!)
Chapter 12, “How best to spend one’s Yosemite time,” describes a number of hikes. The first one-day excursion, using the contemporary trail names, starts at 3:00 in the morning, which Muir says is daybreak, and maybe it was before daylight savings time. (Editor: The Uniform Time Act of 1966 began DST although it was tried in 1918.) This hike goes up the 4-Mile Trail to Glacier Point, along the Pohono Trail to the top of Sentinel Dome and back, on the Panorama Trail to the top of Nevada Fall, and back to the Valley on the Mist Trail. One-day excursion number 2 goes to the top of Yosemite Falls, up Eagle Peak, to the west to the top of El Capitan and then across Ribbon Meadow and back to the Valley on old Big Oak Flat Road.
“The man loved speed,” as Galen Rowell says in his commentary in the wonderful edition of The Yosemite illustrated with his photographs. This version was published by the Yosemite Association (Editor: Now called the Yosemite Conservancy) in 2001 and is still available. I got my copy as a donor thank-you gift from the Association; I’ve seen it for sale on-line.
You can access the text of The Yosemite here.”
Unrelated thought worth quoting: “Keep close to Nature’s heart … and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.”
― John Muir
*MrHalfDome™ – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com