Yosemite National Park, the nation's first national park. A place of breathtaking beauty, where one is humbled by the majesty of nature.
The great naturalist John Muir played an essential role in its preservation and designation as a national park. A striking life-size bronze statue of him by sculptor Bridget Keimel is among the exhibits at the Visitor Center.
I went to Yosemite over a weekend in early May, invited by friends who had rented extra tent cabins. The dogwood trees were in full bloom, as they were on my very first visit to Yosemite Valley almost 30 years ago. Mirror Lake was magical, with Half Dome reflected in its still waters. After the winter rains, the waterfalls were gushing. On the way up to Vernal Fall, all hikers were drenched by the water splashing and misting off the rocks. The weather was perfect, sunny and in the 70's.
The famed Ahwanee hotel has now been renamed The Majestic Yosemite Hotel. It offers glorious views of Half Dome, Glacier Point and Yosemite Falls. Although we did not stay at the hotel, we went there for dinner one evening. The outdoor seating area offered grand vistas of the surrounding gardens and Half Dome. The sitting rooms had stone fireplaces, elegant tapestries, and tasteful, comfortable seating.
The dining room was impressive, and beautiful, with wood-paneled walls, high -beamed ceilings, and immense windows with magnificent views.
The poet Amir Khusrau said of Kashmir Valley, “If there is a paradise in earth, it is here, it is here, it is here.” I remembered those words at Yosemite.