“Between every two pines is a doorway to a new world.” John Muir
If you are craving portals to beauty, the Magnificent Mountain Loop (MML) of three California National Parks offers travelers uncountable “doors.” In one trip you can enjoy the tree giants of Sequoia National Park, the adjoining wonders of Kings Canyon National Park and the iconic delights of Yosemite.
This year, Yosemite shares the riches of nature and history with a 150th anniversary. President Abraham Lincoln signed the Yosemite Land Grant 150 years ago, creating “the first protected wild land for all time” and the “first state park in the world” according to the National Parks website.
Below are some quotes by past famous Yosemite visitors Ralph Waldo Emerson, John Muir, Ansel Adams, and President Teddy Roosevelt to inspire your own visit. There are also some tips to add luxury to your travel.
“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where Nature may heal and cheer and give strength to body and soul alike.” John Muir
EMERSON & MUIR TRANSCEND
According to the National Parks Services website: “In 1871, John Muir, and Ralph Waldo Emerson, American Poet, and Transcendentalist visited the Mariposa Grove of trees in Yosemite and Muir said to Emerson in the grove: ‘You are yourself a sequoia. Stop and get acquainted with your big brethren.’ ”
Emerson called Muir a “new kind of Thoreau” who gazed at sequoias of the Sierra instead of scrub oaks of Concord.”
“In Yosemite, Grandeur of these mountains perhaps unmatched on the Globe; for here they strip themselves like Athletes for exhibition, & stand perpendicular granite walls, showing their entire height, & wearing a liberty cap of snow on their head.” From Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Journal.
In 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt requested to meet with Muir in Yosemite, and Muir encouraged him to sleep under the stars- a night that led the protected area to be expanded and transformed into a National Park.
“It was like lying in a great solemn cathedral, far vaster and more beautiful than any built by the hand of man.”- Roosevelt
Sleeping under the stars like Muir and Roosevelt may be the richest way to enjoy the nature of the park 24/7, but if you are looking for more pampering nurture in your visit, the Tenaya Lodge offers lovely luxury rooms, concierge services, the Embers restaurant and the Ascent Spa with signature organic treatments. The Ahwahnee Lodge’s legacy dining room is worth at least one memorable meal. Yosemite Lodge inside the Park affords window views of the Yosemite Falls, and great access to the park’s sites, trails and shuttle system.
For those that want to celebrate the resiliency of nature with some personal rushes, OARS is now offering river rafting in the Tuolome River. (I haven’t yet tried their river trips but hear good things.)
It’s the images of Ansel Adams that have put Yosemite in people’s imaginations for decades, but his words are also an inspiration for how to enjoy Yosemite: “Life is your art. An open, aware heart is your camera. A oneness with your world is your film. Your bright eyes and easy smile is your museum.”