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Re: I just have to ask....

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I just have to ask....
November 20, 2011 07:24AM
I come to this board often to learn and live vicariously through the adventures of the many of you who post in both word and image, your explorations of our beloved national park Yosemite and the surrounding Sierra Nevada Mountains. After reading and laughing and learning so much I have become curious about the many of you who post regularly. Hope I am not overstepping boundaries or being nosy but I am just curious how you folks have amassed so much knowledge about the park and how you get new info so quickly. I just have to ask.... what do you all do? Do you work in the park, live close by....? What do you do up the mountains... backpack, camp etc? Seems like many of you are climbers or mountainers and photographers, (I go to try to do watercolor paintings & drawings -do any of you do that?). I guess I am just curious about you folks as people. Is it wrong to ask?

Please do share if you do not mind. Though I live within a few hours of the park my life does not let me get up there as often as I'd like (Hopefully that all changes this summer when I send my sons off to college and there are no more high school sports to keep us pinned down here in the valley). This board keeps me sane and makes me smile.

Hope to hear from you if you do not mind.
Re: I just have to ask....
November 20, 2011 07:45AM
Well, I'll let bill-e-g/chick-on, mrcondon, plawrence, eeek, wherever, basilbop and all the other really frequent posters respond for themselves (and my apologies to any of the other frequent posters whose names aren't right at my fingertips just now...it doesn't mean I don't appreciate your posts!). In my case, my knowledge comes from obsessive reading (both texts and historical maps, both online and in print) and getting off the most common trails whenever I am in the park. Right now, I live in NJ so I only get to Yosemite for one (two, if it's a good year) 7 or 8-day visits per year. I consider myself to know a little bit about a lot of the Park (at least the parts you can get to by day-hike), a fair amount about the history of the Valley and of Wawona and quite a bit (although I stop far from being an expert) about the old stage coach roads. Most of that came through reading and talking to people who are more knowledgeable about the stuff than I (and, as you've discovered, this site is a veritable treasure-trove for finding people who are VERY knowledgeable about everything from the history of the old roads and trails to the workings of the current Park Service Administration).

As far as knowledge of the trails and roads, especially those that aren't on the maps any more, nothing beats just going out and looking. This is actually my favorite thing to do in Yosemite these days. Many of the old roads, in particular, are almost completely devoid of people, even on busy holiday weekends and are a wonderful way to escape the crowds, step back in to history (if you're the sort of person who believes in ghosts and/or is predisposed to see them, you'll find them on these roads (or so my wife assures me)...even if you don't experience spirits, you'll easily feel like the clock just got turned back 150 years or so) and play both detective and archaeologist. Some of them are very easy to follow, some of them, even armed with period maps, require outright guesswork but it's all really fun.

I love Yosemite enough that it was the initial (and still one of the strongest) reasons why I decided a few years ago to start wrapping up things in NJ (I've lived in the northeast my entire life and most of my adult life in NJ) and move to California. It's taking a little longer than I hoped but the end seems to be in sight. Hopefully in another year or so, I'll be able to answer this question with something like "I know what I know about Yosemite because I spend several days a month out there!"

I'm sure others on this list have far more interesting connections to the Park but hopefully this gets the thread of answers rolling!
Re: I just have to ask....
November 21, 2011 06:10AM
I like the idea of going off trail and finding new places.... we are starting to look into doing such things thanks to you folks. Good luck on your plans to head west. California has its issues but there are some great perks to living here.
avatar Re: I just have to ask....
November 20, 2011 08:00AM
You may be interested in these:
http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?3,41446
and maybe this one:
http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?3,47306

And ditto what David said. A lot of the fun is exploring... and going off trail.
See every lake, every mountain top, at different times of the year.
Re: I just have to ask....
November 20, 2011 01:03PM
I've lived within 2 hours of the park all my life. Think I started visiting as a fetus....

These days I run a very large hiking group and of course we end up in Yosemite or SEKI monthly, year round. It's almost time to dust off the snowshoes. Planning trips and always having more in the to-do list is a big part of what I do.

I backpack and dayhike.
Re: I just have to ask....
November 20, 2011 09:24PM
I'm just a retired engineer in my early 70s, living in San Jose. Aside from a summer job at Stanford in 1963, I hardly got to Yosemite until we moved here from the East in '89. I get about six or seven days of hiking in Yosemite every year, and maybe a day or two of skiing.

Meanwhile, my good wife's lungs are pretty much shot. No more Half Dome for her, nor almost any other uphill trail, nor any backpacking. The calendar stays pretty full: The kids and grandkids are in Boston, and a close friend keeps inviting us to his cabin on Donner Lake. We have seven weeks of downhill skiing booked already this season (that still works with her marginal lungs). And I have rigged a motor booster to her recumbent bike, which we use a lot around home and back East. However, the biggest problem with getting to Yosemite more often is that I have used up most of my hiking partners....

What I really like to do is to hike off-trail, or to explore abandoned roads and trails. And find bits of history, like Ft. Monroe, Gentrys station, the Anderson Trail, the Glacier Point waterworks, and so forth. Given that we have to pretty much stay overnight in the valley, I have located an amazing number of such routes close to Yosemite Valley. Some are easy and suitable for almost anyone, such as the ridge from Tioga Road to Mt Watkins, then down its flank to the Snow Creek bridge and down that way to the valley. Several are easy, but absolutely nobody does them, like the El Cap Ridge and Inspiration Ridge. A few are so bushy that you expect to find Sleeping Beauty in there, but most are easy and fun. A few are very strenuous, and a few require good route-finding abilities, like the non-climber's route to the Diving Board.. You can find most of them described in this forum.

Meanwhile, I am out of hiking mode til Spring. Waxing up the skis, and mourning that we wimped out on the recent loop hike that was supposed to ascend the old horse trail and pass by the falls on Fireplace Creek. The horse trail was fine, but a burst of common sense talked me out of descending along the east edge of Fireplace Bluff without having scouted that bit from below first. What was I thinking? How bad could it be? I had already been to the top of the falls...
Re: I just have to ask....
November 21, 2011 06:06AM
It is inspiring to know that you are still out getting it done at 70. Sorry your wife struggles with her lungs but equally inspiring to know that she still does what she can.

I love all the ideas you shared about places to go and will look some of them up in this board. Thanks for telling me about yourself.
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