United States: Yosemite Valley Remains Open Despite Fires Along Park Rim

United States Yosemite National Park Half Dome Photo Credit  Rainer Hübenthal

Half Dome at Yosemite National Park in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California. Photo Credit Rainer Hübenthal.

Travel Advisory 

Despite forest fires along the rim of Yosemite National Park that have threatened the water supplies of San Francisco, California, recently, most recreational, camping, and lodging facilities within the park remain unaffected.

The only exceptions are the White Wolf Lodge and some campgrounds along the Tioga Road corridor.

“The latest air quality report calls for favorable wind conditions that 'should keep air quality in the Yosemite Valley and areas south of the fire in the good to moderate range',” the Yosemite/Mariposa County Tourism Bureau reports.

Map of Yosemite National Park

Map of Yosemite National Park, California, United States.

Yosemite will always hold a special place in my heart. Every summer from my infancy through my 18th birthday, we went camping there as a family for two carefree weeks during summer.

Two weeks of bliss. Two weeks without television, the radio, or newspapers. We had no idea of what was going on "back in civilization".

Two weeks without showers or baths. Instead we went swimming every afternoon in the icy waters of the Merced River – sometimes taking a bar of soap.

"It's freshly melted snow, you know," my mother would remind us as we extracted pulsating feet out of the frigid river on our first attempts to get wet.

But soon we were splashing about as if there were no tomorrow. By day three we could dive into the river without a thought.

Simple Food at High Altitudes

For two weeks, we feasted off a Coleman stove or campfire. Meals were simple, but delicious. Things always seemed to taste better in the loftly  mountain air.

Is it really true that hotcakes are lighter and rise higher at high altitudes?

Every night at dusk, the calls for "Elmer!" would echo through the valley. We never knew why people did that, but we would all join in.

Do they still do that?

There were the amateur acts at Camp Curry followed by the Firefall from Glacier Point. Then we would head back to our campsite and roast marshmallows around the campfire in the warm mountain air.

The next morning, we would awake to near freezing temperatures. It was only the smell of brewing coffee and frying bacon wafting into our tent that  prized us out of the comfort of our sleeping bags.

 Only once did we give another national park a try, and we decided that it simply wasn't up to snuff. The next year we were right back at Yosemite.

I graduated from high school. I moved away from home. And I haven't been back to Yosemite in decades.

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