Yosemite Challenge

BY: Dolores Gomez, Brisbane historian, brischic@sonic.net

The oddest adventure of our yearly Yosemite visit was in June of 1989. The three grandkids were excited and geared for visit to this stunning area. My daughter decided to go as she’d heard of what we’d experienced; hiking, ranger talks, bike riding, a swim in the icy Merced River and always an ice cream at crowded Curry Village.
The car was packed and we excitedly headed out of the bumpy Mariposa driveway. Soon on the left, the Merced River was rushing by, creating white foam over rocks and steep rocky cliffs sheltered us on the right. At the sunny Arch Rock entrance, we were discussing plans for the three days we would be there.
It took us an hour over winding roads on a bright sunny day, and soon we registered and got a cart to get our luggage to the old cabin close to the river. I say old as we could hear our fellow campers talking through the walls. It was hot. Unpacked we rode the bus that moves visitors around the Valley Floor. It was then that I discovered in my haste to make sure luggage was packed, I’d forgotten mine! I only had the clothes on my back, but my daughter said she’d share what she had packed.
For a beginning, Mirror Lake was to be our first hike. Lunches packed, we stopped half way there to eat, sitting on huge rocks. Pesky squirrels kept us on our toes; a bold squirrel quickly stole half a sandwich that was beside me. After our hike we needed to cool off so we waded in the chilly Merced River By evening, even the kids wanted to go to bed, the day had taken its toll of their energy. And mine!
The next morning we woke to dark clouds and it was raining. Everyone’s spirits were good and ready for another day of exploring. It got chilly, but we had our jackets, campers are resilient and don’t let weather in dampen their activities. So it was time for poncho rain gear for all. Another day of hiking, discovering new information from a ranger talk on bears, we retreated early to our cabin so we could dry off and get warm. It was cozy, these cabins had to be the first constructed in Yosemite, as there was no insulation and that night I woke from the cold.
What a surprise the next morning, I looked outside and the ground was covered with snow! The kid’s sneakers were wet from the rain the day before, so I had to buy them all new hiking boots and I got a sweat shirt for more warmth. We rode the shuttle bus to Happy Isles. It’s a wonderful place for kids, as they can see stuffed wild life, feel pine cones, animal bones and questions can be answered by a ranger at the desk. The snow was a magnet for the kids. They loved it and it was a pleasure to see them so happy, enjoying the surprise of snow. My daughter decided to come with us again the next year!
What a unique three days we had, not the normal of just hiking, swimming and exploring, but the challenge of dealing with such a weather change. It showed me that we can all adapt if we choose and do the best we can with a situation. My mom always used to say you have to “make do!” That is what I have done in my life when things get rocky and I have survived with a positive outlook. We are here only for such a short time. Make the best of it.