Tuesday, September 4, 2012

JMT Yosemite Valley

John Muir Trail Journal – August 2012

“In the practice of contemplation, one comes eventually to embrace an apophatic* anthropology, letting go of everything one might have imagined as constituting the self –one’s thoughts, one’s desires, all ones compulsive needs.  Joined in the silence of prayer to a God beyond knowing.  I no longer have to scramble to sustain a fragile ego, but discern instead the source and ground of my being in the fierce landscape of God alone.”
Belden Lane The Solace of Fierce Landscapes

August 9, 2012 – Yosemite Valley elevation 4000 feet

Don and I arrived at Yosemite Valley in the heat of the day on the YART bus from Mammoth, California where we had left our car.  Checking in at the Wilderness Office we experience a very personal introduction by a ranger to the challenges of our hike; bears and bear canisters, waste disposal, water treatment, low water areas, appropriate campsites.  We then head to the Backpackers Camp by the longest route possible as we try to decipher Yosemite Valley Mapping 101.  A hot 1 ½ mile walk with the end result being a delightfully shaded area across a creek, separated from the crowds and RV madness in the valley.
After we set up camp we venture out in the heat once again to lovely Happy Isle, to locate our trailhead for the next morning.  Temperatures are in the 90s and rising over the weekend.  We decide to go for an early start to avoid heat of the day hiking at lower elevations.  There is a display showing native plants of the area and information on how the valley was shaped by the rock falling from the high surrounding cliffs.
In camp we have befriended a young engaged couple from Charleston, South Carolina.  We talk trail and gear, eager to see how other people approach this long trek.  During our chat an official vehicle drives up and four uniformed individuals leap out.  The leader is holding an antenna high.  He marches into the brush tracking a bear seen earlier.  The three others follow in a parade behind with huge guns ready to drug the bear for removal to another area.  Exciting stuff!
Ready for dinner we wisely hop a Yosemite Shuttle – cool, quite, air conditioned and head to the cafeteria at Yosemite Lodge for a great dinner.  Ice cream tops the evening.  Back in camp we put all food and personal creams into the bear locker.  It has been a long day and we are ready to rest.  It is still very warm, we will sleep on top or our bags tonight.  The good news is the higher we go the cooler it will get.  We are ready to exit Yosemite Valley!  As we fall asleep, we hear campers across the creek yelling at bears!

*negative theology – what God is not




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