This month we had the joy and honor to write an excerpt for the Mischief Collective’s travel blog. The Mischief Collective is a crew of uniquely inspired individuals sharing their talents in art, music, photography and handmade crafts. Stop by their website and give it a look!!
Yosemite National Park is considered by many to be one of the awe inspiring wonders of the world. In 2013, almost 4 million people visited Yosemite, that’s the 3rd most for any National Park. It comes at no surprise; the sheer scale of Yosemite is incomparable. Seas of granite towering above, wildlife around every corner and breathless-interchanging seasons of vibrant colors and new life. These are only a couple of the reasons we set out to explore and discover more of this region. Just up the road from the Valley lies an often overlooked region of the park called Tuolumne Meadows. This was one of our very first stops on our journey into California.
Crossing Nevada-California border
The history of Yosemite dates back to 1889, when a scruffy ‘mountain man’ discovered that the meadows surrounding Yosemite Valley were being overrun and destroyed by domestic sheep grazing. The result: a fight for protection and conservation. John Muir, born in Scotland in 1838, immigrated to Wisconsin with his family at 11 years of age. He soon realized life on the plains did not fit so well and enrolled himself in what he later referred to as, “the University of Wilderness”. Muir’s first visit to Yosemite was in 1868 and astonished by the landscape of the Sierras, returned a year later to make permanent residence until 1874.
“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul alike.” – John Muir (from his book, The Yosemite)
L to R: Tresssider Peak – Cathedral Peak – Echo Peaks – Matthes Crest
He first found a job herding sheep then took up mill working, all the while studying nature’s interactions as well as the flora and fauna of the Sierras. In 1871, his first article was published by the New York Tribune about other studies he had conducted on glaciers. This was a ground-breaking time as he gained notoriety as a naturalist, constantly focusing his energy on the preservation of the land and natural landscape. Upon his return to Yosemite, Muir discovered the extensive damage of the delicate ecosystems due to livestock in the region. In 1889, Muir took Robert Underwood, editor of Century Magazine, to Tuolumne Meadows to witness the destruction himself. Johnson decided to publish an article to bring about public awareness based on their findings. In turn, this decision led to public awareness and a conservation bill being pushed through to Congress. So in 1890, Yosemite was declared a National Park. Muir took up a duty and responsibility of what he saw as an issue. He made a decision and saved a stunning playground for generations to come.
Today, Tuolumne Meadows and the surrounding landscapes including Tioga Pass, Mono Lake and the handfuls of stunning peaks, thrive due to the preservation of our predecessors. I’ve stepped foot in many different regions of this Country and gazed upon the lands in the North, South, East and West, yet few are comparable to the regions of Yosemite and their marvel. It may be a direct reflection of my climber within, that entices me to Yosemite, but then again, I don’t believe they’re that many (4 million) climbers entering the park every year. We all share our own unique relationship with nature and it’s allure.
The Cathedral Fork creek
Our experience in Yosemite was nothing short of amazing, Casey, our friend Justin and I chased as many peaks, trails and summits as our bodies and daylight would allow. Entering into the middle part of the week, we decided to cover as much distance as possible, linking the summits of many peaks, therefore getting all we could out of Tuolumne Meadows and it’s surrounding high country.
Resting for a ‘breather’ after summitting Tenaya Peak - 2000ft of elevation gain and hiking 2 miles towards Matthes Crest ahead
From the vast views of Fairview dome to the crazy spires of Cathedral Peak, we tackled each endeavor only to discover the most magnificent views along the way. Sore muscles and aching bones each evening, we laughed and smiled around dinner, about the memories that would stain our lifetime’s forever.
We are taking a ‘break’ now from our trip in the Southeast, working and financially preparing ourselves to ‘hit the road’ again at the end of March. Our sights set on the Spring climbing season in Yosemite and on into the Pacific Northwest, Canada, Wyoming and Colorado. Til then, weekends allow us the time to escape to the sandstone cliffs in Chattanooga or the granite cracks of North Carolina. But during the week, our spirits stay high, reminiscing on our smiles, struggles and rewards of Tuolumne Meadows and the Sierras.
Tenaya Peak summit
Joseph Hobby 2/12/2015
Brave Explorations. Soulful Discoveries.